Three local swimmers compete at state championships

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— Despite the disadvantage of training locally in a pool with only 25-yard lanes, three Steamboat Springs' swimmers competed well last weekend at the Colorado Swimming Long Course State Championships in Fort Collins.

Swimming a long course "is a different way of swimming you have to relearn," Blake Worsley said of the transition from shorter sprint-like swimming to that of the endurance-based swimming required for Olympic-sized, 50-meter pools.

Worsley, an 18-year-old Steamboat local heading into his sophomore year at the University of Denver, has been able to get both valuable NCAA swim experience and a season of long course training over the past year.

Worsley swam in three events-the 200- and 100-meter backstroke and the 50-meter freestyle-at last weekend's state championships, matching him up against his 15-year-old brother Cole in the finals of the 50 free.

"I want to see him do well, but then again, I wasn't going to let him beat me," Blake Worsley said.

Of 34 competitors aged 15-18, Blake finished fourth in a time of 25.12 seconds, just ahead of his brother Cole, who finished eighth in 25.89 seconds.

"I did a two-week taper preparing for the race," said Cole Worsley, who also swam in the 100 free and 100 fly and had the opportunity to train at DU's full-size pool before the meet. "I thought I did pretty good. I had my best time in the 50 and my best time in the 100 for a long course."

Without having ever trained in a long course pool, Steamboat's Emma Lichtenfels, 13, stepped up to the state competition by placing 20th in a field of 33 in the 100-meter breaststroke.

"She's very efficient in her turns," said Patti Worsley, who helped coach Lichtenfels on the Steamboat Springs girls swim team that recently took third at the Western Slope League Championships. "She did really good considering she was in the bottom of her age group."

While Cole Worsley was saving his energy to perform at his peak against swimmers three years older than him, Blake was using the Ft. Collins' championships as training for his own main event of the summer season - the Speedo Junior National Championships, starting Monday in Irvine, California.

"I'm pretty excited," Worsley said as he watched the results from the ConocoPhillips National Championships happening live from the same pool where he will have his shot to win in the national spotlight next week.

Worsley said he plans to compete in the 200-, 100- and 50-meter freestyle events.

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