Team Sopris returns to Senior Western Zones swim meet |

Team Sopris returns to Senior Western Zones swim meet

Jon Mitchell

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The deer-in-the-headlights looks at the Senior Western Zones swim meet are a thing of the past for many members of the Team Sopris swimming team.

“There’s a lot of kids who go to this and … when they’re warming up, they realize that everybody is really, really fast,” Team Sopris coach Damon Garrison said. “That can be pretty intimidating. Luckily, we have a lot of kids who have been here before.”

Team Sopris will send eight team members to the week-long event, which begins today at Clovis North High School in Fresno, Calif. Of those eight members, only three of them — Hannah Peterson, Zeb Thorsen and Zach Baker — are making their first appearance at the meet that includes thousands of swimmers from teams spanning the western United States.

“Big meets like this are just a lot of fun,” said Kendall Vanderhoof, who’ll be making her second trip to the meet. “You’re not nearly as stressed as you are at other meets.”

Vanderhoof, along with L.J. Fetzko and Jessica Tuttle, will each be making their second appearance at the Zones meet. Lilly Thorsen and Jack Cassidy will compete in the meet for the third time.

Swimmers in the western U.S. qualify for the meet by beating predetermined time standards, which are set annually by USA Swimming. This is the third consecutive year that the senior Zones meet has been held in Fresno.

The swimmers with the Glenwood Springs-based club will compete in multiple events until the meet ends on Aug. 3. Vanderhoof, for example, will swim in six individual events while Tuttle will compete in eight. Both will also swim in three relay events.

Cassidy, who swam for Glenwood Springs High School but attended Eagle Valley in Gypsum, will be in six events. He managed a pair of fifth-place individual finishes at the Class 4A State Championships in Fort Collins this past May, and he won’t be the only one who’ll be looking to perform well at the meet.

“Everyone who’s going to the meet is just focused on trying to make it back to finals this year,” said Tuttle, who swims on the Glenwood Springs High school girls swimming team along with Fetzko, Lily Thorsen and Vanderhoof. “I think that we’re all pretty confident. This is something that we’re really looking forward to being a part of again.”

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