Team Sopris caps strong long-course swim season |

Team Sopris caps strong long-course swim season


Contributed photo

Team Sopris, a local club swimming program, sent five senior swimmers to the Western Zone Championships July 31 to Aug. 4 in Fresno, Calif.

Jack Cassidy (17), LJ Fetzko (14), Lily Thorsen (17), Jessica Tuttle (15) and Kendall Vanderhoof (15) made the trip.

“Records were falling like crazy as these swimmers were dropping times,” Team Sopris coach Damon Garrison said. “It was an amazing meet for every one of them, and I was so proud of them. The first night saw a nearly 13-second drop in the men’s 800-meter free and a 30-second and nearly 1-minute drop in the women’s 1,500. They held up for all five days of the meet and finished as strong as they started.”

L.J. Fetzko broke the team’s 13-14 girls’ record in the 400 free, the 800 free, the 1500 free, the 200 individual medley and the 400 IM.

Jessica Tuttle broke the 15-18 girls’ team record in the 200 free (a record held by Emily McDonald since 2004), the 400 free, 800 free (held by Kathleen Lyon since 2008), the 1,500 free, the 200 IM and the 400 IM.

Jack Cassidy, representing the men’s 15-18 age group, broke team records in every event in which he competed. Cassidy broke the team record in the 200 free, 400 free, 800 free, 1500 free, 200 back, 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM and 400 IM. In the process, Cassidy dropped more than 18 seconds total in prelims and finals in the 400 IM and made his first Junior Nationals cut.

Kendall Vanderhoof dropped time in every event, including a 12-second drop in the 400 free.

“We had a hugely successful long-course season,” Garrison said. “We trained really hard, and the swimmers earned the success they achieved. We’re all looking forward to a few weeks off before we hit the water again and start training for short course season.”

Team Sopris also had a strong showing at the CSI Long Course State Championship meet held July 26-28, also at the El Pomar Natatorium in Grand Junction.

Will Berkheimer broke the team record in the 10 and under 50M and 100M backstroke with a top-20 finish in both events.

Phillip Hecksel broke the team record in the 13-14 boys 100M butterfly.

Earlier in the season, David Hecksel, 10, broke three team records at the Grand Junction Invitational: 10 and under boys 50 meter breaststroke, 100 meter breaststroke and 100 meter butterfly.

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