Swimming more fun for Roberts | PostIndependent.com

Swimming more fun for Roberts

GRAND JUNCTION ” Alina Roberts’ approach to club swimming is more laid-back this summer.

“I just want to have fun, stay healthy, have a good season and get in shape for college,” said the Aspen resident, who is in her sixth year of competing for the Sopris Barracudas club swim team.

Starting in the fall Roberts will swim as a scholarship athlete at Colorado State University.

So, her goals are different than in previous years.

“There’s people I’m swimming with now that I might not swim with next year, and I want to remember the good times I have with them,” Roberts said.

But, having one last fling with her Barracuda teammates doesn’t mean that Roberts has lost her competitive edge in the pool.

“I don’t what to go hard and blow it. I have fun, but, I still swim hard,” she said.

Despite recovering from a earlier shoulder injury, Roberts, who also competed as a member of Glenwood Springs High School’s girls swim team the past four years, continues to post championship-caliber times.

At this weekend’s 28-team Grand Junction Invitational meet, which included many of the state’s top club teams from the Western Slope, Roberts advanced to the championship final in two events, finishing among the top eight in both.

In the senior girls 50-meter freestyle, Roberts earned sixth place with a time of 28.88 seconds and finished seventh in the 100-meter backstroke. She also participated in four other individual events and three relays.

Roberts began training with the Barracudas as a 12 year-old. She became a member of the GSHS swim program in her freshman year of high school because Aspen High did not field a girls swim team.

Since then, Alina has become a key member for both teams.

Last summer, Roberts and teammate Emily McDonald, competed in the USA Swimming-sanctioned Western sectional meet in Mount Hood, Ore.

Both have qualified for the 2004 sectional championships in mid-August in Federal Way, Wash.

In her senior year swimming for Glenwood High, Roberts helped the Demons to a third-place team finish at the Class 4A state meet in Loveland and had third and fourth-place swims in the backstroke and 50-meter freestyle, respectively.

Roberts credits Barracuda coach Howard Jay for her success.

“Howard has made me who I am,” Roberts said. “He has given me the confidence to overcome anything. He’s helped me mature as a person.”

Alina’s passionate about the sport and she practices hard,” said Barracuda head coach Howard Jay. “She’s got a lot of talent and she works on it to get better.”

And while she said this year is different, Alina is planning on competing for the Barracudas in 2005.

Along with rooting for her younger sister, Keely, who made a splash in the 11-12 year-old girls division events.

“I think she’ll go far if she stays with it,” Alina said. “(Keely) works hard and she wants to go farther than I do when I stop swimming.”

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