Swimming for the enemy | PostIndependent.com

Swimming for the enemy

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Morgan Wyrick and Christina Smith wake up just a bit earlier than their teammates on the Glenwood Springs High School swim team.

That’s because they neither live in Glenwood Springs nor go to school there.

By day, they’re Eagle Valley Devils. At early-morning practices and at weekend meets, they’re Glenwood Springs Demons.

Eagle Valley doesn’t offer a swim program, forcing the duo to seek out a neighboring school that offers the sport they love.

They found Glenwood, and forfeiting the extra sleep to make insanely early practices is a price the pair gladly pay, even if that entails driving more than 25 miles from Gypsum.

“I love competing,” Smith, a junior who’s been a Demon swimmer since she was a freshman, said. “The only reason I really do this is for the team.”

“We have an awesome team,” Wyrick chimed in. “We all get along so well. We’ll probably all start calling each other during college.”

Wyrick is somewhat of a nomad, having attended four different high schools already. The daughter of a man who specializes in startup newspapers, she’s an old pro at moving around and constantly adapting to new environs.

“I’ve attended four schools and competed in athletics at six different schools,” Wyrick said. “It’s pretty darn cool. You just get really good at being the new kid.”

While they take a little flack from their classmates at Eagle Valley for being part-time Demons, Wyrick and Smith have fit in seamlessly since joining the Glenwood swim team.

Head coach Michelle Brune and the Demons have always welcomed swimmers from other schools with open arms.

“I actually love it when people come from other schools,” the coach stressed. “It feels, I don’t know, it feels like it legitimizes the program when people are willing to come from other schools.”

Wyrick and Smith aren’t the only non-native swim Demons. Sierra Grove, too, schools elsewhere. Unlike the Eagle Valley pair, the Coal Ridge senior grew up as a Sopris Barracuda and lives in New Castle, just a few miles down the road from the Glenwood Springs Community Center pool.

“I don’t have to get up that much earlier,” Grove said. “I can be here in like 20 minutes. … They probably have a harder time than I do.”

In more ways than one.

Grove’s efforts in the pool are well chronicled at her home school.

“They’re always announcing when she’s going to meets,” Brune noted. “They put her performances up on the wall of fame. Even though she swims at a different school, they recognize her accomplishments.”

Wyrick and Smith don’t always see the same recognition.

“We don’t get recognized at pep rallies, not that I want the spotlight,” Smith said. “But we’re athletes too.”

Athletes who, from time to time, just happen to trade one demonic team name for another. Even if that doesn’t always sit well with their classmates at Eagle Valley.

“I wore my swimming sweatshirt to school one time,” Smith said with a grin, “and I pretty much got jumped.”

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