Worsley making splash at DU

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Few freshmen have high expectations when joining college sports teams.

The same could be said for Blake Worsley, who entered his first season on the University of Denver's swim team with limited big-meet exposure and a lack of year-round training.

But last weekend, there was Worsley -- a 2005 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School -- in the starting blocks at a meet featuring swimmers from college powers Stanford, University of California-Berkley and the University of Southern California. Worsley previously was selected as one of 10 men for DU's traveling swim squad.

He was seeded near the bottom of the 50-person field in the 200-yard freestyle. He finished 12th in one minute, 45.50 seconds, shaving five seconds off his previous best time.

His 400-yard freestyle relay team did even better, placing second behind USC.

Patti Worsley said she spoke to her son after the meet.

"He's having a lot of fun," she said. "He loves it. He fits into a place where he is meant to be."

Worsley swam with the Moffat County High School team but lived and trained in Steamboat during winters and summers. He accepted a scholarship to DU during his senior year despite his limited swimming experience.

There is no high school swim team or year-round program in Steamboat, but Worsley is proving it's possible to be from Steamboat and excel at so-called summer sports.

"There are a little more than 60 swimmers on Blake's team, men and women," Patti Worsley said. "The coach selected 10 men and 10 women (to travel to the California meet) based on their times. Blake was the youngest."

Worsley competed in the ----

50-,---- 100- and 200-freestyle events as well as the 200-, 400- and 800-freestyle relays at the meet, which was held by the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. He also competed in the 100-yard backstroke for the first time. DU coaches are transitioning Worsley into a middle-distance freestyle and backstroke swimmer.

His next meets are on the DU campus. DU swims against Utah today and against Wyoming on Saturday.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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