Barracuda’s Mechling selected to state All-Star swim team |

Barracuda’s Mechling selected to state All-Star swim team

Baron Zahuranec
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted photo. Charlie Mechling, 10, glides through the water at the Sopris Deep Freeze Invitational on Dec. 13.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” She’s just lucky she doesn’t have to swim the whole way to Kansas. That could be quite tiring.

Local Sopris Barracuda swimmer, Charlie Mechling, 10, was chosen for the Colorado All-Star Team and will be heading to Lawrence, Kan. on Jan. 16 for the Midwestern All-Star Meet.

“This is a real big deal, I get to be with the super, super fast girls,” Mechling said. “The bus ride back home is going to be really fun.”

When you’re 10-years-old, the bus ride after the meet could be more fun than the meet itself.

Those bus rides can be very important. Last swim season, because of the travel, Mechling and her family didn’t make the trip to Oregon for the Western Zone Meet.

This year, now that she has the chance, Charlie is really looking forward to being on that bus ride home from Kansas.

This is the first year Mechling was selected for the team, and has been swimming for the last four years with the Barracudas, Glenwood Spring’s local swimming club. To make the cut, over her last two meets she’s had to place in the top five in 11 different events. And that’s not just at the meets, her times had to be top five in the whole state.

Making the All-Star Team was her biggest goal of the season. Besides giving her all during the meets, in practice she’s been pushing herself against the older, and faster, 13-year-old girls.

“I’m trying to stay with them,” Mechling said. “I’m slowly getting there. I rely on them in the workouts to push me hard.”

She sure doesn’t sound like a 10-year-old. She really wants to become a swift swimmer.

In Kansas, Mechling isn’t sure which events she’ll be racing in, but thinks she could do the 50-yard breaststroke, her self-proclaimed favorite event, and the 100-yard breaststroke.

Along with those two races, she likes the 100-yard individual medley since she has to use four different strokes, 25-yards each for freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.

“It’s short, quick and easy,” she said.

While she likes the breaststroke, she isn’t a fan of the 50-yard freestyle because it’s so short; the 200-yard freestyle because it’s too long; and the 200-yard IM is the same.

“”It’s just too long. You have to go super fast on one stroke, speed it up even more for the next, go even faster for the third one, and even faster on the last stroke,” she said.

“For the 50, if you have a bad start or a bad flip-turn, it can cost you the race even if you swim the best race ever.”

The hardest part of swimming are the practices. She works as hard as she can for the duration of practice, and that’s a bit different than meets. When competing, she’s able to race fast and hard and then take a break between events to focus on the next race, she said.

“I push myself hard in practice,” Mechling said. “If you cheat and laze around, it’s not going to help you in the meet.”

Leading up to the start of a race, sometimes nervousness creeps into Mechling’s preparation.

“Usually I’ll say to myself, ‘Oh gosh, this is nerve-wracking.’ But I’ve done this 15 hundred million times before,” she said. “I’ll tell myself that I’ve been doing good in workouts, and I’m as fast as I can be right now. If I choose to work hard, it will pay off.”

“I’ll have a real serious look on my face,” she added.

Mechling’s coach, Damon Garrison, carries a serious look on his face, too.

“He’s hard to impress, very hard,” Mechling said. “He’s a very different coach.

Damon’s more serious and wants to get down to work. He knows when to have fun, though.”

One aspect of swimming that Garrison has really helped Mechling with is attitude. Not that she had a bad attitude towards swimming, but more of an overall team attitude and how everyone can be affected by either a positive attitude or negative one.

She’s keeping her thoughts positive when it comes to what she’ll be opening tomorrow morning.

“I asked for a Wii,” she said. “I have other games, but you can actually do stuff like run and jump around with this.”

With all the time she spends in the pool, she’ll sure love romping around in her living room.

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