Local swimmers blow away competition in Rangely

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— The Steamboat Springs Lightning Swim team came away from its first swim meet of the year with high expectations for the season.

Steamboat sent 52 swimmers to Rangely during the weekend and finished first overall by more than 900 points.

"It was a very nice start," coach Essi Kenttala said. "Especially considering when you look at the weather and we've been swimming in snow and sleet."

The girls team finished first, almost 800 points ahead of Rangely, while the boys finished second, less than 50 points behind Rangely.

Frank Ruppel was the top boys scorer in the 9- and 10-year-old division. He won the 200-yard individual medley, 100 freestyle, 50 backstroke and 50 fly. Amy Brodie scored the most points among 13- and 14-year old girls. Brodie won the 200 individual medley, the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle.

Other first-place finishes included: Samantha Terranova in the 200 free, Marley Loomis in the 200 free, Meghan Lukens in the 200 free and 100 free, Finn O'Connell in the 200 free, Amanda Walker in the 25 free, Keala Fraioli in the 100 free and 50 breaststroke, Olivia Rose in the 100 free, Harry Wilson in the 50 breaststroke and 50 free, Molly Dierdorff in the 100 breaststroke and Charlie Harrington in the 100 individual medley.

Steamboat also finished first in seven relays.

Kenttala said the early success shows how hard the team - the biggest in the history of the program - is working.

"We have 130 kids on our team," she said. "We have a big waiting list, and we can't really handle anyone else."

Although Kenttala was pleased with all of the first-place finishes, she said when she looks at the results, she was even more happy with how much times had been cut from last year.

Rose, Terranova, Riley Brodie, Loomis, Katie Brodie, Isabel Rillos, Mariah Hoots, Lukens, Annika Malacinski, Abbey Habermehl and Willy Gunn all cut more than 10 seconds off of their personal bests.

"I'm really excited about this team," Kenttala said. "There is a great energy."

The swim team resumes action Saturday and Sunday in Aspen.

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