The members of the Steamboat Springs swim team got their feet wet last weekend in Rangely at the opening meet of the season.
But coach Essi Kenttala is expecting an even bigger showing from her team this weekend, when the Steamboat Springs squad gets the chance to compete at the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center for the first time in two years.
"We will only be using four lanes at the pool, but everybody is excited to be at home again," Kenttala said.
Last year, the Steamboat meet was canceled because the pool is not deep enough to meet the required standards. The shallow end is not deep enough for swimmers to jump into the pool using starting blocks.
This year, the Steamboat team elected to host a sprint meet. Instead of using all eight lanes of the pool, the races will be limited to the four lanes in the deeper end.
The main pool, the smaller pool next to it and the kiddie area will be closed during Saturday's meet. The smaller hot pool on the opposite side of the walkway and the Heart Springs will be open during regular hours.
Kenttala said teams from Craig, Meeker, Sopris and Rangely are expected to come to Steamboat for the one-day meet. Kenttala also expects 87 Steamboat swimmers to take part in the meet.
Although the field of 150 to 200 swimmers will be smaller than the fields at past Steamboat meets, Kenttala said the team is excited to be hosting the meet.
The meet is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and should run most of the day.
The Steamboat team is off to a strong start this season after taking 28 swimmers to Rangely last weekend for a 10-team meet.
Rangely's squad of 40 swimmers easily took the team title with 1,776 points. Steamboat was a distant second at 795.5 points, and Aspen was third with 734 points.
Steamboat's Malia Fraioli won the high-point award for the 8-and-younger girls by posting top times for her age in the 25-yard breaststroke, the 25-yard freestyle and the 25-yard butterfly. Six-year-old Keala Fraioli was the top swimmer in her group.
Lucy Newman, who won the girls 50-yard breaststroke, finished third overall in the 9- to 10-year-old girls division, Penn Lukens was third in the 9- to 10-year-old boys division, and Kane Park was third in the 8-and-younger boys division. Erica Gale was third in the 13- to 14-year-old girls division.
"Everyone posted better times than last year in the first meet," Kenttala said. "We're going forward."
In addition to the top individual finishes Steamboat's 8-and-younger 100-yard freestyle relay team, which included Tess Richey, Keala Fraioli, Libby Lukens and Malia Fraioli, placed first, as did Steamboat's 13- to 14-year-old girls 400-yard freestyle relay team.That squad included Brittany Long, Kelsey Pierson, Molly Newman and Erica Gale.