Golden child: Medals aplenty for Sopris Barracudas’ Mechling |

Golden child: Medals aplenty for Sopris Barracudas’ Mechling

Jeff Caspersen
Photo by Joey Fetzko

FORT COLLINS, Colorado ” When the announcer at the weekend’s Colorado Swimming Age Group Championships mispronounced Sopris on the loudspeaker, Charlie Mechling and her Sopris Barracuda teammates enjoyed a good laugh.

“The announcer man announced us as (SAW-pris),” the 10-year-old said. “Our coach didn’t think it was funny, but we laughed.”

By the end of the weekend, he knew how to pronounce it.

And a big reason why is Mechling, who came away from the Fort Collins-hosted state meet with quite the medal collection.

The young Barracuda brought four golds and two silvers back to Glenwood Springs, the Sopris swim club’s home base. She won the 50-yard breaststroke (35.96 seconds), the 100 breast (1:18.61), the 100 individual medley (1:11.99) and the 200 freestyle (2:14.22) and took second in the 200 IM (2:31.82) and the 100 free (1:02.27).

Mechling lost the latter two events by just over a half second, combined.

“It’s pretty awesome,” she said. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

The youngster’s efforts landed her high points honors for the 10-and-under age division.

“Winning high points was so amazing,” Mechling said. “I got a towel that says Colorado state high point winner. It’s really cool. This is the first meet all season that I swam all my best times.”

Mechling had plenty of Barracuda company at state. Fellow 10-year-old Jessica Tuttle swam to a trio of top-20 finishes, topping out with a seventh-place swim in the 200 freestyle (2:24.10). She also nabbed 11th in the 100 free (1:07.45) and 19th in the 200 IM (2:49.60).

“I think Jessica Tuttle did a really great job,” Mechling said. “In the 200 free she tied for seventh with really good girls. She’s been having a great year all around.”

Lauren Fetzko, 9, took 20th in the 50 butterfly (35.85) and Sopris’ 10-and-under 200 medley and 200 free relay teams touched in fourth and sixth, respectively.

“We went into the medley relay seeded sixth and beat all these really fast Denver teams,” Mechling said.

With performances like those, the folks in Fort Collins quickly learned the correct way to pronounce Sopris.

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