Aspen High debuts first swim team
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Following the build-it-and-they-will-come theorem, Aspen built a brand-new, year-round swimming pool and now Aspen High School has a brand-new swim team.
The first AHS swim team ” a band of six Aspen freshman and sophomore girls ” was launched just a few weeks ago, and today they make their debut at Moffat County.
“It’s a young team with lots of talent and lots of potential,” said Mary Pat Mahnensmith, the assistant coach of the team and an AHS social studies teacher.
“And we’re going to have them for many more years, and that’s exciting.”
The team will compete as a junior varsity this season, and hopefully make the leap to varsity competition next year, according to AHS athletic director Carol Sams. In addition to today’s meet at Moffat County, the AHS swimmers will compete in four more events in January.
“It’s almost like an exhibition season for us,” said Sams. “But we’re pretty excited about it, because obviously we have a great facility across the street now.”
“Next year, we’ll go with a regular varsity program ” hopefully,” Sams continued. “I’m hoping we can double the number of participants and at least have a dozen girls next year.”
The head coach of the team, Grant Gritzmacher, is engaged to Mahnensmith; the former swam at University of Texas, Austin, the latter at Yale University. Both coached swimming and diving in Connecticut before moving to Aspen in August.
“Grant had been coaching the Aspen Speedos this fall, and he got to know some of the people involved with getting the high school team started,” said Mahnensmith. “It was only a couple of weeks ago, really, but now we’re off and running.”
The team includes sophomores Elise Fornell, Lacy Mosher, Kaitlyn Parker and Jessica Andrews, and freshman Elle Stark.
Except for Thursdays, the team practices weekdays at 6:15 a.m. at the ARC pool.
“And in the future, hopefully, we’ll be able to have more afternoon practices,” said Mahnensmith, “which I think will help us grow, because 6:15 is early.”
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On March 4, 1982 in Waterville Valley — exactly four decades before it failed to medal in Beijing — the U.S. women’s ski team clinched the Nation’s Cup, calculated by adding every point in a season for all racers from a given nation.