Steamboat Springs Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct Kyle Taulman's name.
Swimmers as young as 7 and as old as 18 represented the Steamboat Springs Swim Team in the Aspen Yellow Leaf Invitational two weekends ago. The competition marked the end of the summer season and kick started the winter season.
Combined scores for the girls and boys over the two-day event placed the Steamboat team fourth overall out of 11 teams. Liz Doby, coach of the Barracudas (ages 8 to 11) and Tridents (middle and high school age), said teams from all over the state and even one from New Mexico competed in Aspen on Oct. 12 and 13.
Members of the Steamboat Swim Team all competed in challenge events, where all age groups participated in events of greater distances than they are accustomed to. The younger swimmers, ages 7 to 9, did the 100-yard free and the 100-yard IM. Swimmers ages 10 to 13 competed in the 200-yard free and 200-yard IM, and the 13- to 18-year-old group swam the 500-yard free.
Seven-year-old Grace O’Reilly took fourth in the girls 8-and-under 50-yard free in 45.77 and won the 8-and-under 50-yard breaststroke. Alex Orozco, 8, took ninth in the boys 8-and-under 50-yard free, finishing in 49.70. Jenna Smith, 10, was second in the girls 9-to-10 100-yard backstroke and took home the top time in the 50-yard breaststroke for her age group.
Parker Kortas, 12, also had a strong showing, winning the 11-to-12 200-yard IM and placing second in the 500-yard free.
On the boys side, Frank Ruppel was second in the 15-and-older 100-yard backstroke, missing first place by just 0.28. Ruppel won the 15-and-older 500-yard free. Brenden Carta, 17, was second in the 15-and-older 200-yard IM.
One of the highlights of the meet was the performance of Kyle Taulman, Steamboat’s paraplegic swimmer, competing in the 200-yard free.
“The whole deck was cheering him on, everyone from the other teams, parents, coaches and swimmers,” Doby said. “It was really cool for me to see.”
More than 35 Steamboat swimmers competed in the jam-packed Aspen Recreation Center.
“It was packed,” Doby said. “It was difficult to navigate around the pool, but our team found their way to the deck and cheered each other on. You don’t see that from a lot of teams.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll