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Barracudas swim strong in home waters

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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There’s a lot of swim meets ahead, but thoughts of closure are starting to sink in among the eldest members of the Sopris Barracudas.”It is completely different this year,” said Barracuda veteran Emily McDonald. “Since it’s (coach) Howard (Jay’s) last year, my last year for Sopris, and everybody else’s, we know it’s coming to a close. It’s really sad.””I think once it gets down to the end of it, it’s going to be different,” Jennifer Betts added. “The closer we get, each meet is going to get sadder and sadder, and we’ll start crying. Right now, it’s just get in there and swim.”Collectively, the Barracudas swam up a storm in their last home meet of the summer.

The 2006 team finished second in the overall point standings, won 14 individual events and set the best marks in five relay-team events. Not too shabby for a group of vets, who plan on traveling different paths when the current season is over.McDonald’s contribution to her final home swim included three individual wins and two more in the Girls 15-and-over 400-meter freestyle and medley relays. Jennifer Betts, one of two graduated seniors on the team, swam a leg for the oldest girls free-relay team and took second in the individual 400 freestyle.

“I didn’t really feel much pressure for this meet,” McDonald said. “For this meet, it was all about Howard for me. I was trying to make him proud of me.”That’s a thought that most of the other Barracudas, regardless of age and/or length of time with the swim club, agree with.Sierra Grove, another veteran Barracuda, had a solid weekend. Along with her 400 freestyle win, the Coal Ridge High School sophomore-to-be took second in four individual events and helped both of the oldest girls relay teams to wins.Bryce McDermott, who also swam for Jay as a member of Glenwood Springs High School’s boys swim team, added to Sopris’ win totals with first-place times of 3 minutes, 6.25 seconds and 4:57.51 in the 15-and-older boys 200 breaststroke and 400 freestyle.



Jack Cassidy, the team’s overall leading point scorer from the meet, dominated the 9- to 10-year-old boys division. Over two days of competition, the 10-year-old won five individual events and finished second in another.Other Barracudas who earned first-place honors were Claire Noone (girls 15-and-older breaststroke and 400 medley relay), Ali Schaiberger (girls 15-and-older medley and free relays), Kelly Cassidy (11- to 12-year-old girls 200 breaststroke), Keevyn Scholl (11- to 12-year-old girls 100 breastroke) and Lily Thorsen (9- to 10-year-old girls 400 freestyle).In team relay events featuring younger swimmers, the foursome of Charlie Mechling, Jessica Tuttle, Elizabeth Miller and Maddi Peltzman took the 8-and-younger 100-free title.Lily Thorsen, Megan and Hattie Gianinetti, and Laura McDermott won the 9- to 10-year-old 200-meter free relay. The Gianinettis also teamed later with Thorsen and Ellie Ciezczak to capture the 9- to 10-year-old girls medley relay.


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