Aspen Speedos take sixth in Junction | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Speedos take sixth in Junction

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Joey FetzkoSpeedos swimmer Kelli Callahan competes in last weekend's Western Slope meet in Grand Junction.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Head coach Gordon Gerson can’t help but wonder what the Aspen Speedos truly would be capable of if their full compliment of swimmers participated in meets.

While they were short on attendance – just 20 athletes took to the pool in last weekend’s Western Slope meet in Grand Junction – the Speedos were long on standout performances. Of the 10 age groups contested at the three-day event, three Aspen swimmers won high-point titles and two others wound up second by the narrowest of margins.

All told, the Speedos finished sixth out of 17 teams in their final competitive tune-up before this weekend’s state meet in Denver.

“If we had everyone there who had scored points for us, we probably would’ve come in third, maybe challenged for second,” Gerson said Thursday. “It’s like if the quarterback and receiver decided to take the championship game off. It’s hard to win the game.”

He added: “The kids that were there swam awesome.”

Here are the weekend’s highlights:

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• Sam Richie and Davy Brown each picked up wins in six of eight events to capture high-point awards in their respective divisions. Richie, 9, was second in his two other events, while Brown, 10, wound up fourth in both the 50 and 100 breaststroke.

She also teamed with fellow 10-year-old Hannah Freeman, Pascale Augspurger (12) and Lelia Arthur (11) to take second in the 12-and-under 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays.

“In the six that she won, she pretty much dominated,” Gerson said of Brown.

Richie also joined with Austin Ferguson, Cole Peterson and Nathan Cherry to finish third in two relays – the 200 medley and 200 freestyle.

• Max Bryant picked up five wins, three second places and one third to capture the high-point title among boys 15 and older.

• Kelli Callahan built on her success at the Montrose meet earlier this month by winning the 100, 200 and 400 freestyle in Junction. The 13-year-old also finished second three times, third twice and fourth once, dropping time in all but one event en route to a second-place individual finish in her age group.

“These are people she wasn’t even close to competing with at the beginning of the season,” Gerson said. “Now, she’s seeded in the top 20 going into states in several events. … She definitely took it to a whole new level. I knew she was capable, she knew she was capable, she just had to find a way to do it.”

• Kelcie Gerson competed in just eight events – most of them at short distances – in an effort to protect an injured shoulder. Still, the 15-year-old picked up wins in the 100 and 200 backstroke. She finished in the top 4 each time she swam, good for a second-place finish.

“We could’ve entered her in one more event, and she could’ve literally fell into the water and won high point,” coach Gerson joked.

Kelcie also teamed with older sister Kaitlin, Callahan and Claire Collier to win the 400 medley and finish second in the 400 freestyle relays.

• Collier, battling an illness, won the 200 butterfly, took second in both the 100 and 200 backstroke and posted personal bests in five of her nine swims. As a result, she will join Richie, Callahan, Bryant and Kelcie and Kaitlin Gerson at the state meet.

• Eight-year-old Christian Kelly won the 100 individual medley and logged a total of four top-5 finishes.

Kelly teamed with Spencer Perley, August Richie and Lewis Brown to win the 100 medley and take second in the 100 freestyle relays.

jmaletz@aspentimes.com