Steamboat Springs Cole Worsley headed to Plano, Texas, last week with high hopes. He returned to Steamboat Springs a few days later with top finishes.
"He did really well, even better than I had expected," said Patti Worsley, Cole's mother and coach. "This was a really high-level meet with lots of top swimmers from all over the place."
The Speedo Invitational included more than 40 schools and more than 900 individual swimmers.
Cole qualified for the finals of the 50-yard freestyle with a fifth-place finish in preliminary heats and came away with the title after posting a personal-best time of 21.44 seconds in the finals. He placed sixth in the 100-yard freestyle with another personal best, finishing in 47.82.
Cole's time in the 50-free fell just short of the mark to earn an invitation to the national junior championships, which take place this summer in Minneapolis, Minn. He will need to trim less than a fraction of a second from his personal best and break 21.39 to qualify for those prestigious races.
His current time, however, is good enough to make Cole the top-ranked 50-free swimmer in the state. He's also ranked 20th in the nation for the 2008 season.
"It's pretty impressive," Patti said.
Cole will have a few days off before he opens practice with the Moffat County High School team Feb. 19. Patti said the finishes in Texas have boosted Cole's confidence as he looks forward to the high school season.
"Cole's very strong right now," Patti said. "This was a big boost, and it's shaping up to be a very good season for him, and the team."