State swimming: Glenwood takes low-key approach into state meet
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — L.J. Fetzko was a little stunned to see the pre-meet psych sheets for the Class 4A State Swimming Championships.
It’s not like the Glenwood Springs High School freshman was surprised to be one of the top-seeded swimmers in the 200-yard freestyle. What surprised her was that her time was the best among the 4A swimmers in Colorado.
And she’s not buying it.
“All of those other girls are going to go really fast at the state meet, and they’re going to end up beating the times that were posted by a lot,” said Fetzko, whose time of 1 minute, 55.61 seconds in the 200 free has her seeded first in the event. “Their actual times are a lot faster than where they’re seeded at, so I know I’m going to have to go really, really hard.”
She won’t be the only one who will be doing that. Glenwood sophomore Jessica Tuttle is seeded second in the 500 freestyle, and the Demons’ 200 free relay and 400 free relay are seeded seventh and sixth, respectively. So when the Demons compete in the 4A state championships at the Edora Pool Ice Center (EPIC) in Fort Collins today and Saturday, chances are that someone from Glenwood Springs High School will wind up on the podium.
“We just need to be ready to swim as fast as we can,” said Hannah Peterson, who joins Fetzko, Tuttle and Kendall Vanderhoof on the Demons’ relay teams. “I know that we can make it back [to the event finals]. We just have to push it as much as we can during prelims.”
The relay in which Peterson spoke of returning to the finals is the 400 free relay, an event the Demons managed an eighth-place finish in during the 2013 state meet.
It’s been a while, however, since Glenwood’s girls swimming team has had someone who could contend for a spot atop the podium in an individual event. The last time Glenwood had an individual state swimming champion was 2006, when junior Emily McDonald won gold in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
McDonald, however, was a student at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. The last time a Glenwood student won a state title was in 2003, when Kelly Hauskins won a championship in diving.
First-year Glenwood coach Danny Gall echoed Fetzko’s hesitations about putting stock in the seed times, saying that some top swimmers “sandbag” for much of the season before going all out at the state meet. So Gall and the girls looked at last year’s state results with this year’s swimmers at state, realizing that times match up for a possible run to the event finals on Saturday.
Tuttle’s seed time of 5:16.23 is second only to Thompson Valley’s Eryn Eddy (5:14.45). Fetzko’s seed time in the 200 free is barely better than the second-place time, which Eddy also owns (1:55.70). Vanderhoof is also qualified sixth in the 100 freestyle, but her seed time of 54.94 is more than two seconds behind top-seeded Veronica Morin of Manitou Springs. Peterson also qualified for state in the 100 backstroke.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.