Steamboat swimmers notch top finishes

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Jackson Metzler, left, coach Essi Kenttala, Gabe Rabanal, coach Trish O’Connell, Wally Magill and Niklas Malacinski celebrate after winning the 8-and-under division at the Western Slope Open Swimming Championships. Steamboat finished fifth as a team.

— The Steamboat Springs Team Lightning swim team wrapped up a fifth-place finish at the Western Slope League Championships in Grand Junction last weekend, highlighted by the boys 8-and-younger team winning its division.

Steamboat’s 8-and-younger team of Wally Magill, Niklas Malacinski, Gabe Rabanal and Jackson Metzler helped Steamboat edge out Gunnison.

The team won the boys 8-and-younger 100-yard freestyle and Rabanal also won the 25-yard breaststroke.

Overall, the girls team was third and the boys team was fifth.

Also picking up wins for Steamboat was Amy Brodie in the girls 15-and-older 50- and 100-meter freestyle events. She also won the 15-and-older 100-meter butterfly.

Avery Harrington won the girls ages 9 and 10 100-meter butterfly, and Frank Ruppel won the boys ages 11 and 12 100-meter backstroke.

The team now will take several members today to a Junior Olympic competition in Denver, which runs through Sunday.

Swimmers had to meet a specific time to qualify.

Athletes going include Brodie, Frank Ruppel, Brenden Carta, Harrington, Johnathon Kaminski, Reilly Mewborn and Samantha Terranova. The girls ages 9 and 10 200 free relay team of Parker Kortas, Lily Starkey, Avery Harrington and Reilly Mewborn will compete, as will the 200 medley relay team of Kortas, Harrington, Mewborn and Lucy Wilson.

“It’s going to be the busiest JOs we’ve ever had,” coach Essi Kenttala said. “It’s three days and our kids are swimming every day. It’s the most individual swimmers we’ve ever taken.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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