Swimmers super in 2005

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Team Lightning, the Steamboat Springs swim team, wrap--ped up its season with a party Sunday afternoon.

The 2005 season was a successful one for the summer club. Competing against other Western Slope teams, Team Lightning won almost every regular-season meet it entered.

"Every meet was a highlight," coach Essi Kenttala said. "We had 60-plus kids everywhere. It was an amazing spirit we brought to every meet."

The club handed out awards Sunday, but mostly, it was a chance for the 95 swimmers to celebrate a great season. Team Lightning had swimmers qualify for four post-season meets: the Western Slope Championships, the 8-and-under Festival, the Junior Olympics and the Summer Club Championships.

"It is fairly difficult to qualify for end-of-season meets," Kenttala said.

Steamboat didn't send every swimmer who qualified to each meet because some of them weren't close to Steamboat.

The swim team remains popular with Steamboat youths, and Kenttala said it's unfortunate the club has to turn hopeful swimmers away because the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center has room for only a certain amount of swimmers during practices. There is no other comparable facility in Steamboat.

"The support we receive from the Health and Rec is amazing," Kenttala said. "They have been flexible and have faced growing numbers."

The increased popularity has prompted several of Steamboat's older swimmers to contemplate swimming for Moffat County's high school team. That's what Blake Worsley did, and he earned a shot to swim with the University of Denver team.

"I think he will open doors for others," Kenttala said. "It tells some--thing. The most common age to quit swimming is 13. We have 20 to 30 older swimmers. That's huge. I think it tells something about our program. The coaches are excellent and sticking with the program."

This year's coaches were Kenttala, Patti Worsley, Kendra Sanfill, Shafer Henry, Trish O'Connell and Kim Crawford.

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