Practice pays off for Barracudas
Post Independent Staff
The Sopris Barracudas have started to reap a harvest of rewards from a summer’s worth of practice.
The local youth swim club exited the three-day Western Slope Championship in Grand Junction this weekend with 10 first-place marks, among a whopping 39 top-three times from its swimmers.
And, with more of the team’s athletes qualified to participate in additional state events over the next three weeks, the hardest part for Barracudas swimmers might be the continuous walks to the podium.
Emily McDonald brought home the most ribbons, with four individual winning times in the 18-and-under girls division, along with runner-up honors in two events, and one third-place mark.
The Colorado Rocky Mountain School junior recorded the fastest time in the 50, 100 and 200-meter freestyle. Then, for a change of pace, McDonald swam the 18-and-under girls 100-meter butterfly in a season-best 1 minute, 7.97 seconds.
Sierra Grove had an equally impressive performance. The rising Coal Ridge High School freshman earned six top-three awards, which included victories in the 13- to 14-year-old girls 50, 100 and 400 freestyles.
But those winning swims paled in comparison to Grove’s effort in the 400-meter individual medley. In that event, Grove slashed more than 29 seconds off her previous best time of the year with a third-place time of 5:49.62.
Patrick Gucwa and Jon Jay led the Barracudas boys with individual wins. Gucwa was first in the 8-and-under 25 freestyle, and Jay won the 18-and-under 400-meter free.
Hannah Grumley, Cora Lubchenco, Lily Thorsen and Rebecca Carcaterra earned Sopris’s lone relay title with a 3:13.09 finish in the 10-and-under girls 200 medley.
As the season winds down, there will be Barracudas scattered across the state: Seven swimmers have qualified for this weekend’s Colorado Long Course State Championships. That meet starts Thursday at the outdoor pool at Lincoln Park in Grand Junction. Grove is scheduled to compete in four freestyle events. Claire Noone, Keely Roberts and Jay have qualified in two events each. Keevyn Scholl and Jennifer Betts will see action in the 50 breast stroke and 50 freestyle, respectively. McDonald has qualified in five events but will not compete, according to a team source, because of a prior commitment.
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They came. They skated. They conquered.