Grove working toward a medal at state |

Grove working toward a medal at state

Joelle Milholm
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent file photo

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Before Sierra Grove dives off the block at meets, the Glenwood Springs sprint freestyler listens to the same song: “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven.

This weekend, she’s listening and hoping to follow the lyrics and “move right through” those ranked above her for a medal at the Class 4A state swimming meet Friday and Saturday in Fort Collins.

Grove, a junior for the Demons who actually attends Coal Ridge High School, is ranked fourth in the 50 freestyle with a season-best mark of 25.07 seconds and ranked fifth in the 100 free with a 54.66-second mark.

Glenwood Springs head coach Michelle Brune is expecting great things from the junior, who will be making her third trip to state in as many chances.

“It would be great if she wins, but she could get third,” Brune said. “She could get third in both. That would be great.”

On the psych sheets, Grove is .73 seconds behind 50-free leader Kelsey Conci of Moffat County, and 1.02 seconds behind Estes Park’s Kenzie Hewson, the 100-free leader.

Grove’s best finish at state came last year in the 50 free, when she took sixth after placing 11th the year before. She also finished ninth in the 100 free in 2007, improving on her 12th-place finish in her freshman campaign. Grove has shaved time off her state times from previous years this season. She’ll look to shed even more at state, especially in the 100 ” her favorite event.

“I like the 100 better, but I am ranked higher in the 50,” Grove said.

Grove has spent the week working on the little things freestyle sprinters must perfect like flip turns and quick starts. That could make up the fractions of a second she needs to get a medal. She’s also got experience on her side, although she admits she still gets butterflies.

“I get pretty nervous, but it is pretty exciting, though,” Grove said.

The 50 and 100 won’t be the only events Grove will be swimming in, as she will be swimming in Glenwood’s 200 and 400 free relays. It’s an element of the state meet Grove treasures, as it is a way to bond with her teammates.

“It is less nerve racking for me,” she said of swimming relays. “I have had a lot of fun with the girls, especially since I don’t go to school with any of them.”

Prelims will start at 9 a.m. on Friday and that’s when Grove will begin her quest. Swimmers have to make it into the top 16 in prelims to move on to Saturday’s finals, which begin at 3:30 p.m.

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