The Steamboat Springs swim team's season is successfully under way with a win in Rifle and other top finishes in Grand Valley during the past two weeks.
The Steamboat team defeated Rangely by two points to win the Rifle meet May 29 in the sleet and rain at the outdoor pool.
"It was horrible conditions," coach Essi Kenttala said. "It was a challenge to get the kids in the water to swim."
After the meet was over, however, many of the kids said they had fun and were excited to kick off the season with a team victory, she said. More than 35 Steamboat swimmers attended the meet, and a large number of those assisted Steamboat in the win by picking up first-, second- or third-place finishes.
Blake Worsley, 15, won the 50-meter freestyle, 50 backstroke and took second in the 50 butterfly. Brother Cole Worsley, 13, took first in the 100 Individual Medley, the 50 butterfly and the 50 freestyle.
Alex Bennett, 12, a member of last year's training team, started his first competitive season off strong with top results in the 50 freestyle and two-other second-place finishes. Hestia Chase, 16, won the 50 butterfly and the 50 backstroke. She also was second in the 50 freestyle.
"She has a beautiful stroke," Kenttala said of Chase.
Gracy Whelihan, 10, was second in the 50 breaststroke, as was Cameron Osteen, 12, and Lauren Letson, 14.
The swim divisions are broken into the following ages: 8 and younger, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-18.
Mike Lamb, 13, was second in the 50 freestyle. Casey Weston, 8, was second in the 25 butterfly.
Paul Rose, 15, was third in the 50 breaststroke, the 50 freestyle and the 50 butterfly. Alyssa Pierson, 15, was third in the 50 backstroke. Molly Newman, 12, was third in the 50 breaststroke. Meg O'Connell, 8, was third in the 25 breaststroke, and Haley Piske, 9, was third in the 50 breaststroke.
On June 5, four swimmers traveled to the smaller Grand Valley meet where Charlie Stoddard, 13, scored the most points in his age division, winning the 200 medly and taking second in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke. Bennett was second in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 50 breaststroke.
Alyssa Pierson was seventh in the 100 butterfly and Kelsey Pierson was third in the 100 breaststroke.
This weekend, 38 swimmer are traveling to Rangely for a meet.
More than 90 swimmers are involved in training team and the competitive teams this season for Steamboat. Coaches Patti Worsley, Kindra Sanfill, Shaffer Henry, Sara Barry and Trish O'Connell are helping Kenttala out with the large number of athletes.
With that many children, it is impossible for all of them to be in the pool at the same time, so nearly half of them come early in the morning.
"It is wild," Kenttala said. "How many other kids wake up that early in the morning and exercise? With school all year and swimming in the summer they can never sleep in. You have to be tough."
Typically, the Steamboat swimmers have a chance to compete in their own pool, but a rule change will prevent that from taking place. Only four lanes at the outdoor pool at the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center are deep enough to allow diving starts, Kenttala said.
A planned May 29 sprint meet was canceled at the local pool. It would have required use of the pool for a competition, and Kenttala said the pool usually is packed during the Memorial Day holiday.
"It would have been difficult to get the whole pool," she said. "We are still hoping next year maybe the calendar will work out and maybe we can have a sprint meet because people love to come to Steamboat."
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org