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Sopris Barracudas swim team devours most competitors

GRAND JUNCTION ” If their performance during the summer season is any indicator, the Sopris Barracudas swim club is becoming one of the Western Slope’s top teams.

Behind a strong showing at the past weekend’s Western Slope Championships, the Glenwood-based Barracudas finished up the summer campaign third overall among the 17 Slope teams. Only the first-place Montrose Marlins and second-place Grand Junction Dolphins rated higher.

First-year head coach Damon Garrison, who brought more than 15 years of experience to the team when he was hired on in May, lauded what was a solid showing by his Barracudas to end the league season.



“For the most part, the older kids swam lights out,” he said. “The 13- and 14-year-old girls crushed in everything they did. … It was a pretty successful first-season championship meet.”

Among those successful 13- and 14-year-old girls were Ashley Roper and Keevyn Scholl.



Roper took first in four events (100-yard freestyle, 1:06.12; 200 free, 2:26.29; 400 free, 5:13.42; 1,500 free, 20:38.95) and scored seven top-three finishes in all. Scholl won the 200 breaststroke (3:03.60), which was one of five top-three finishes.

Among the older swimmers, Sierra Grove finished no worse that fifth in any of the nine individual events she entered.

The 17-year-old Coal Ridge High School student and Glenwood Springs High School swimmer won both the 15-and-over 50 (28.71) and 100 free (1:01.87). She took second in the 200 (2:18.73) and 1,500 free (20:13.40).

Raphael Joly swam big in the boys 15-and-over 100 breast (1:16.37), 200 breast (2:47.28) and 200 individual medley (2:29.97), taking first in all three events to go along with two other top-three performances.

Younger swimmers with big days included Jack Cassidy, who won the boys 11-12 200 free (37.04) and took home three silvers (50 backstroke, 100 breast, 400 free).

Young Charlie Mechling won a Barracuda-best seven individual events on the weekend (9-10 100 free, 1:17.58; 9-10 100 breast, 1:37.10; 9-10 100 butterfly, 1:31.96; 9-10 200 IM, 3:12.67; 10-and-under 50 breast, 43.84; 10-U 50 free, 35.70; 10-U 50 fly, 39.98); and Katie Heim took home two thirds (girls 10-U 50 breast, 50.36; 9-10 100 breast, 1:47.81).

The Thorsen siblings also swam strong, with Lily winning the 11-12 400 IM (6:30.09) among three top-three finishes and Zeb taking third in the 9-10 100 fly (2:03.85).

Swimming with the Barracudas from Garrison’s old club team in Virginia, the Potomac Raiders, were Jackie Hynson and Kathleen Lyon.

Hynson cleaned up, winning the 15-and-over girls 100 fly (1:08.70), 200 fly (2:42.15) and 200 back (2:36.22). All told, she finished in the top three in seven events.

Lyon won the 1,500 free (19:42.24) as part of four top-three marks.

Next up for select Barracuda swimmers is the July 24-27 Junior Olympics state meet at the Air Force Academy.

Sopris swimmers with qualifying times in various events include Mechling, Cassidy, Scholl, Joly, Roper, Lily Thorsen and Grove.


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