There was no time to think about mistakes during the 50-meter freestyle finals at last weekend's Colorado State Swim-ming Championships at Lincoln Park Pool in Grand Junction.
"I messed up when I entered the water," Steamboat Springs swimmer Cole Worsley said. "But in a race like the 50, you don't have a lot of time to think."
Cole's only mistake in the race came at the start. He dove into the water at too sharp of an angle, and by the time he reached the surface to start swimming, the rest of the field was pulling away.
"I was behind every swimmer in the pool, and I hadn't even taken a stroke yet," Worsley said. "In a race like that, it only seems like you are in the water for a couple of seconds, so you can't focus on much except for the guy that's next to you."
After the start, that's what Cole did. By focusing on the boy in the lane next to him, he was able to make up time. When the swimmers reached the other end of the pool, Cole had caught all but one of the other swimmers to post a second-place finish with a time of 27.05 seconds. David Krimstock, of the Race Swim Team, won the race by about half a second with a time of 26.54.
"That's the amount of time it takes to slap the wall," Cole said.
But Cole was not disappointed with the second-place finish. Instead, he has decided to focus on next year and hopefully another chance to win.
"Most of the swimmers I race against train year-round," Cole said. "This year, I plan on doing the same thing, even if that means freezing in an outdoor pool."
The second-place finish was the 14-year-old Steamboat swim-mer's best of the week. He also posted a 12th-place finish in the 100-meter freestyle.
But Cole isn't the only swimmer waiting for a state medal to appear in the mailbox in the next couple of weeks.
Emma Lichtenfels, 12, also made it to the finals at the state championships. She finished eighth in the 50-meter breaststroke.
"It was my best state finish ever," Emma said. "I was really nervous in the finals. When I got ready to jump in the water, all I could think was 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to become pulp.'"
But she didn't.
Emma held her own in the elite group, finishing in 39.94. Lauren Stoeckle, of the MACS swim team, won the race in 37.39.
"I was amazed that I made it that far," Emma said. '"Most of the girls I was up against swim at least 11 months out of the year. It was just great to be in that group."
Emma also posted two other top finishes in the 11- to 12-year-old age group. She was 12th in the 100-meter breaststroke and 13th in the 200-meter breaststroke.
Blake Worsley also won two medals in Grand Junction last weekend.
He placed seventh in the 100-meter and the 50-meter freestyle events. He was 29th in the 100-meter backstroke.
Blake Worsley said he didn't train that hard for this year's state championships but that he plans to take a different approach next year.
"That will be my last chance at the state championships," Blake Worsley said. "I want to go out knowing I gave it my all."
Penn Lukens, the only other Steamboat swimmer to compete in last week's championships, placed 26th in the boy's 10-and-under, 100-meter backstroke.
As a team, Steamboat came in 31st out of 53 teams.