GSHS swimming caps off perfect season with Southwest Conference championship
That’s what the Glenwood Springs Demons girls swim and dive team accomplished over the two-day Southwest Conference Championships Friday and Saturday at Colorado Mesa University’s El Pomar Natatorium.
The Demons scored 428 team points at the championships, winning by 69 points over second-place Grand Junction, capping off a perfect 8-0 season.
“The middle group for us really dominated,” said Steve Vanderhoof. “We weren’t as fast in the top 4 as the other schools, but once we got past the top 4 our girls really dominated and helped us build a lead.”
Much like they have all season, the Demons overwhelmed the rest of the competing schools with a deep, talented roster, rather than a handful of standouts. At the conference championships, not a single Demon won an event, but Glenwood saw a number of swimmers place second in the finals, scoring points for Glenwood to pull away.
“That’s kind of how we did it all season long,” said Steve Vanderhoof. “We had an off-season swimming program that I would say that the key to us this year . We had a lot of girls come out for that off-season program; Usually, a lot of high school swimmers that swim for their schools only swim for the 12 weeks in the season, but this group had a lot of swimmers swim all summer long. They were ready for the season right away. It was fun in that respect.”
The lone win for Glenwood came in the 400 Freestyle Relay as freshman Amy Madsen, senior Kaitlyn Vanderhoof, freshman Ellie MacPherson, and sophomore Kylee Smith swam a winning time of 3:49.12, improving on their preliminary time of 3:49.22. That relay team will head to the 3A state championship next weekend in Ft. Collins.
The Glenwood girls were set up very nicely following Friday’s preliminary session. Heading into Saturday’s finals, each team was only allowed to enter four girls in all individual events and two relays in each of the three team relay events. The Demons swam well enough to qualify a maximum of four swimmers in 5 of the 8 individual events, and three swimmers in the other three events. Glenwood was dominate in the relay events by taking all six of their relays back to finals, including winning the 400 Freestyle Relay.
Individually, Glenwood saw Smith start off Saturday’s finals with a second-place finish in the 200-yard Freestyle, clocking a time of 1:59.81. Madsen placed fourth in the same event for the Demons, recording a time of 2:01.57.
MacPherson then placed second in the 200-yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:21.29, while senior Macy Stinson placed fourth in the same event with a time of 2:24.36. In 1 meter diving, Glenwood’s Abby Scruton placed third with 312.05 points, while older sister Celia Scruton placed eighth with 241.60 points.
Smith then added a third-place finish in the 100-yard Fly for Glenwood with a time of 1:02.35, while Vanderhoof placed seventh in the 100-yard Freestyle final with a time of 59.08 seconds. Madsen then followed up with a second-place performance in the 500-yard Freestyle, clocking a time of 5:37.18, while Haley Diemer placed eighth for Glenwood with a time of 5:55.59.
Stinson placed fourth in the 100-yard Backstroke with a time of 1:04.18, while Molly Hancock placed seventh in the 100-yard Breaststroke 1:16.77, rounding out individual performances for the Demons.
The Demons’ 200-yard Freestyle relay team of Maggie Friemel, Stinson, Sally McDonnell, and Vanderhoof placed fifth in the final with a 1:50.67.
Following the conference championship win, Glenwood will send the following swimmers to the 3A state championship meet next weekend in Ft. Collins: freshmen Madsen, MacPherson, and Ella Lindenberg; sophomores Sophie Moon, Smith, and Libby Claassen; juniors Hancock, McDonnell, and Diemer; and seniors Vanderhoof, Stinson, and Kendall Mueller. Glenwood will also send the 200 Medley, 200 Freestyle, and 400 Freestyle to the state championship.
“We’re excited to head to the state meet once again,” said Steve Vanderhoof. “We’ll be competitive in all three relays. We were really good competing on the Western Slope this season, and now we’re heading over to a much larger competitive group. We’ll have a handful of individuals perform well.”
All state entries are due to CHSAA by 6 p.m. Sunday, and the 3A state meet will official start on Friday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m., before then carrying over into Saturday’s finals, which start at 3 p.m.
A change this season for the finals at the state meet is that CHSAA will now take the top 20 swimmers and break them up into an A and B final, rather than 16 swimmers from previous years. That means the finals will run 10 lanes, rather than 8.