Girls swimming: Demons look for repeat in Grand Junction
Glenwood Springs High School’s girls swimming team is competing in the 4A Western Slope Championships in Grand Junction at the El Pomar Natatorium today and Saturday.
The Demons go in as defending champions. Last season, the Demons managed to win the team championship by one point under former head coach Mark Bauer.
“Approaching this year’s championships is a lot like last year,” Glenwood sophomore Kendall Vanderhoof said. “I would like to see everyone swim their best, and it would be amazing to win a second year in a row.”
First-year Glenwood coach Danny Gall, who has been coaching high school and USA swimming for 28 years, had the Demons taper down during practice this week to prepare for the weekend.
“For the last week or so, we have been reducing the amount of swimming,” he said. “The girls are resting now to let their muscles grow stronger in preparation for this weekend.”
Four underclassmen swimmers — junior Hannah Peterson, sophomores Vanderhoof and Jessica Tuttle, and freshman L.J. Fetzko — have had great success at the high school meets they’ve competed in. Each of them has posted state-qualifying times in both relay and individual races they have competed in.
For the 400 freestyle relay, Vanderhoof, Fetzko, Tuttle and sophomore Hannah Stinson hold the top time of 3 minutes, 55.34 seconds. For the 200 freestyle, Peterson, Vanderhoof, Tuttle and Fetzko are first in the league (1:47.20) and are fifth in the 200 medley relay (2:01.29).
Tuttle, who was a state qualifier as a freshman, has the league’s third-best time in the 200 freestyle (2:03.92) and the 500 freestyle (5:30.31). She also holds second in the 200 individual medley, 2:26.20.
For the 50 freestyle, Vanderhoof is third in the league with a time of 25.91, and for the 100 freestyle she is fifth in 57.19.
“My goal [this weekend] is to qualify for finals and place in the top three for everything I swim,” Vanderhoof said. “I would also like to win both of our relays.”
Fetzko is second in the league for both the 100 butterfly (1:04.83) and the 100 breaststroke (1:14.07).
For the 100 backstroke, Peterson is fifth (1:05.21) and third in the 200 IM in 2:29.68.
“My goal for this weekend is, win or lose, to always have a positive attitude and keep smiling. “ Peterson said. “When I am racing, I’m going to push through the pain because then I know that I have done my best. “
Gall said this is the easiest high school swim team he has ever worked with. There is little drama, which he said has made his job easier.
For both Peterson and Vanderhoof the memories of last year motivate them. “They also motivate the whole team and because we are a self-funded team, we want to prove to everyone in Glenwood that we can [win the championship],” Peterson said.
Vanderhoof said Gall has changed the atmosphere of the team. “He has really focused on working with strokes and pushing swimmers to swim events they normally wouldn’t swim.”
The Demons are focused and ready to win a second consecutive title this weekend, but no matter what the outcome is Peterson and Vanderhoof both are going to come out of this meet knowing they did their best.
“I would like to see our team place in the top three in the championships,” Gall said. “I know the girls are excited and will take all their hard work from the season and give it all they have this weekend.”
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