Sopris Barracudas clean up at Deep Freeze Invitational in Glenwood Springs

Jeff CaspersenPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A tiny swimmer from Summit County Swim Team slowed up a dozen or so yards into the 8-and-under 25-yard freestyle relay. Needing a break, he grabbed on to the nearest lane line, idled for a second to recharge and then charged on through to the finish.That was near the end of the second day of the Sopris Barracudas’ Deep Freeze Invitational, and to a youngster, the participants found themselves exhausted by mid-afternoon Sunday.Count Charlie Mechling, a 9-year-old Barracuda swimmer, among those ready for a nap. She had a busy two days, swimming eight individual events and two relays, qualifying for state in the 50 backstroke and the 50 and 100 breaststroke in the process.By midday on Sunday, Mechling didn’t have much left in the tank.

“No, not much left,” she said with a wide smile.It was a productive weekend, though, for Mechling, who finished with five 9- and 10-year-old age group wins. She took the 50 backstroke (37.96), the 50 breaststroke (41.64), the 100 butterfly (1:34.81), 100 breaststroke (1:32.87) and the 50 butterfly (39.62).Mechling wasn’t the only decorated Barracuda at day’s end. Other top performers included 8-year-old Laura Jean Fetzko, who cleaned up in girls 8-and-under events. She won the 25 butterfly (21.18), the 50 free (42.95), the 100 individual medley (1:53.70), the 25 breaststroke (25.92) and the 25 free (19.05).Kelly Cassidy picked up two girls 13-14 age group in the 100 back (1:23.23) and the 100 fly (1:18.48).

“I did pretty well,” she said. “All my times were close to my best times.”Rebecca Carcaterra won the 11-12 400 IM (6:31.69), Cole Newton the boys 13-14 500 free (7:48.16), Devyn Mote the boys 9-10 100 free (1:21.31), Maddi Peltzman the girls 9-10 50 breast (46.03) and Ashley Roper the girls 11-12 200 free (2:21.94).Sopris relay teams won the girls 400 free and the girls 400 medley.While some Barracudas took the Glenwood Springs Community Center pool as seasoned veterans racking up the accolades, others were just getting their swim careers started or shaving time off their personal bests.

Young Stefan Buxman, 11, is one who made major strides at the Deep Freeze, cutting 10 seconds off his 100 breaststroke time. He credited the performance bump to some words of advice from first-year Barracudas coach Jamie Kujawa. Kenna Zilm, 8, was making her competitive debut and having a great time. She was “really nervous” heading into the meet but that subsided once she got into the water.Kujawa, who began her tenure as the Sopris coach with the start of the winter swim season – now two months along – is enjoying her new environs. As far as running her first home meet, that didn’t go badly either with the help of a dedicated brigade of parent volunteers – and dedicated swimmers.”This is a great group of kids, and my parents are great,” she said. “That’s what is great about winter. Anybody can swim in the summer, but the kids that love it swim in the winter.”

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