Handful of swimmers head for the big pool

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— Although the regular season has concluded, 12 members of the Steamboat Springs swim team will be competing in Cortez this weekend in the Western Slope Championships.

"I don't really want to go that far, but they have a nice pool there," said Kyle Steitz Thursday.

Steitz, an 11-year-old swim team member, is looking forward to swimming in a 50-meter pool at Cortez, he said.

The local swimmers are accustomed to training at the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center in a 25-yard pool.

Steitz was one of three Steamboat competitors who won high point at Meeker this past weekend.

Steitz's sister, Korie Steitz, also won high point, along with Charlie Stoddard.

The three swimmers led Steamboat to a first-place finish, said Essi Kenttala, head coach.

For Korie Steitz, it was her first high point of the year, said her mother, Kathy.

A high point refers to when a swimmer wins his or her division.

Stoddard competes in the boys 9-10 division, while Korie Steitz is in the girls 13-and-over division.

Kyle Steitz swims in the boys 11-12 division.

Kenttala said only 12 local swimmers are competing at the Western Slope Championships because it is a long drive to Cortez.

Cortez is located in the southwestern corner of the state.

About 60 swimmers chose to stay in Steamboat.

Kyle Steitz, who won seven events in Meeker, said his team has made a lot of progress this season.

Steitz set a pool record in Meeker for the season with a time of 3 minutes and 13 seconds in the boys' 200 individual medley.

Nearly all of the Steamboat swim team members will partake in post-season competitions, including a summer club meet in Craig Aug. 3 to Aug. 5, said Christy Warner, Steamboat assistant coach.

The Junior Olympics, or state championships, will be held in Colorado Springs later this month and the 8-and-under festival is scheduled for Aug. 1 in Denver, Warner said.

Steamboat finished its regular season with competitions in Craig and Meeker.

Warner said this year's team is arguably the best Steamboat has had in a long time.

"I think we're building up," Warner said. "I think it's been one of our best years, really.

"In Craig, they didn't rank the swim teams but I think we would have gotten first," she said.

"The same (goes) with Meeker and Grand Valley. I think we're only getting stronger as a team."

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