Steamboat Springs Swim Team making splash at state | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs Swim Team making splash at state

Athletes from the Steamboat Springs Swim Team dove into state championship competition during the weekend, the first three of eight local swimmers competing in their state title races.

Annika Fahrner, 17, Jenna Smith, 14, and Brooks Birkinbine, 16, all qualified for and competed in the senior state championship competition, which ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Fort Collins.

Zoe Anfang, Rylee McLouth, Grace O'Reilly, Katherine Knapp and Kelsey Bryant all will compete in Fort Collins next weekend in the age-group state championships.

Anfang, Birkinbine and McLouth all qualified in one event. O'Reilly made the cut in four events. Knapp and Fahrner are there to swim in five, Smith six and Kelsey Bryant seven.

Competing during the weekend, Steamboat's first three state competitors got the team off to a strong start. Smith had the best results of the bunch and truly shined in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races. She was second in the 100, narrowly out-touched at the finish. She was then fifth in the 50. She was eighth in the 100 backstroke, 15th in the 200 backstroke, 20th in the 200 freestyle and 21st in the 100 butterfly.

Fahrner's best result in the meet came in the 200 breaststroke, where she was 29th. Coach Patti Worsley said Birkinbine also swam well in his one event, the 50 freestyle.

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"It was a huge meet, and there were a lot of kids there, and our kids did really well," Worsley said. "All the kids swam really well."

The team closed its regular season strongly, and several of those swimmers actually earned their trip to state in their final opportunity.

Competing at the Western Slope Championship, earlier this month and again in Fort Collins, Steamboat came away with some top results and a seventh-place overall team finish. The squad had 17 athletes qualified for the regional event. Bryant helped lead the way, winning high-point honors for the girls 11 to 12 year old division.

Birkinbine had a fast enough time there to qualify for state in the 50-meter freestyle. Anfang qualified in the 200 freestyle and McLouth in the 50 breaststroke.

"The swimmers had been training all summer for these races, and their efforts paid off," Worsley said. "Parents, coaches and swimmers, alike, were all impressed with the improvements made obvious over the course of the season."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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