Glenwood Springs High School swim team member Grove to swim for Div. I Idaho |

Glenwood Springs High School swim team member Grove to swim for Div. I Idaho

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Sierra Grove’s been anchored to the swimming pool since she first took swim lessons as a 3-year-old, no doubt needing arm floaties to splash her way around.

These days, the floaties are gone and the Coal Ridge High School senior gets around pretty well in the pool, well enough to land her a spot on the University of Idaho’s women’s swim team.

A recent journey to the Moscow campus left little doubt she had visited her future scholastic home.

“Tom (Jager), the coach up there, he had a world record in the 50 free, which is one of my favorite events,” said Grove, who swims for the Glenwood Springs High School team in the winter since Coal Ridge doesn’t have a program. “I really liked the team when I was up there.”

Grove, a sprint freestyler, always figured she’d go to Colorado State University. That was before she extended her school search beyond Colorado.

“I always kind of looked at CSU,” she said. “Then I went up and visited Idaho. There aren’t many schools in Colorado that have swimming, so I had to look out of state, and I liked Idaho.”

Division I Idaho’s interest in Grove should come as no shock. She’s qualified for the 4A state meet in each of her three high school seasons and will be gunning for a fourth trip when the girls swim season gets under way in early December.

It’s success that Grove’s first swim coach, former Sopris Barracudas frontman Howard Jay, saw coming from day one.

“She started with me quite a few years ago, obviously,” said Jay, exclusively the principal at Sopris Elementary School these days. “She’s a great kid. She just got hooked on swimming and kept going. She’s a really dedicated individual, and she always had a smile on her face. She was always glad to be there.”

Another place Grove finds athletic joy is on the volleyball court, where she helped Coal Ridge to its first league title and first regional appearance in 2008 as the team’s setter.

Never, though, did she expect volleyball to be the sport she played past high school.

“I really love volleyball,” Grove said, “but swimming’s always been my main sport.”

That’s been reality ever since she began competing with the Barracudas at a young age.

“Howard Jay was my coach when I was younger and he just made it so fun,” Grove explained. “The team was just a lot of fun. It’s a good way to spend the summertime.”

What started as a way to pass time in the summer is now a focal point in Grove’s life.

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