It's just two meets into the 2000 swim season, but at least one member of the Steamboat Springs swim team already has qualified for the Junior Olympic Championships later this year.
Thirteen-year-old Heather Whiting's second-place finish in the girls 200-meter breast stroke in Grand Junction last Sunday earned the local swimmer the berth. Her time of 3:00.13 was a personal best in the event.
"We have been working a lot of technique and now it's starting to show," head swim coach Essi Kenttala said.
Another local swimmer, Kyle Steitz, also met a Junior Olympic qualifying time, but a problem with the number of official judges in the morning session will prevent him from qualifying to race.
"We only had four official judges and you need five to make it a sanctioned time.' Kenttala said. "He was very disappointed, but I'm sure he will meet the time again before the end of the season."
The 10-year-old Steitz finished the 100-meter breaststroke in a time of 1:47.15. He earned the first-place finish, but will have to wait for another meet to try to qualify again.
Steamboat took 10 swimmers to the two-day meet in Grand Junction. Kenttala said that, considering the team's small size, the results were impressive. All of the swimmers placed in the top-10 in at least one event. Several of the swimmers posted personal bests at the meet and qualified for several meets including Junior Olympics, Silver State and Western Regional.
Eight-year-old Charlotte Letson, Steitz, Whiting and 18-year-old Christy Warner all posted first-place finishes at the meet. Twelve-year-old Blake Worsley, Warner, and Steitz all turned in second-place showings.
Kenttala said she expects the team's times to continue to fall as the season progresses. The recent results have encouraged the swimmers and boosted the team's moral.
"I think the most important thing is technique, but I also want to make sure that all of the swimmers on the team have fun. Right now, we are having success with both," Kenttala said.
The Steamboat swimmers will head to Sopris this week for a much larger meet. Steamboat will take 30 swimmers to the meet. See complete results and top local finishers on Page 3C.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail email@example.com