Aspen High girls swim team opens 3A title defense on Friday in Glenwood Springs
The Aspen High School girls swim team gets its Class 3A state title defense underway Friday evening with a meet hosted by Glenwood Springs High School.
The Skiers held off St. Mary’s Academy and Glenwood Springs in February to win their first state championship in swimming. It was the first time there had been a 3A classification in girls swimming in Colorado.
Aspen will need to find a way to replace Kennidy Quist, now a freshman on the women’s swim team at Harvard. Quist, who also competed at junior nationals, won both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events at the state meet and was part of Aspen’s two state championship relay teams (200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle).
Returning is junior Davy Brown, the reigning 100-yard backstroke state champion. Brown also took second in the 200-yard individual medley last winter, losing to Glenwood’s L.J. Fetzko, who now swims for the University of Hawaii.
The team also has a strong senior swimmer in Emily Driscoll. Quist, Brown, Driscoll and Hannah Freeman made up the state championship relay teams. Freeman, a senior, decided to step away from competitive swimming this year.
Also returning are juniors Taylor Pattillo and Abby and Lilly Easterling. All three were state qualifiers last winter. The team’s eighth state qualifier last winter was Lelia Arthur, who graduated.
Kathleen Callahan is back as coach for the AHS girls swim team. Callahan was named the 3A coach of the year for guiding the Skiers to the state title in 2017.
Following Friday’s meet, Aspen is scheduled to compete at the conference relays in Grand Junction on Saturday. On Dec. 15-16 the Skiers compete at the Montrose Invitational, their final competition before the holiday break.
Aspen will host a swim meet Jan. 19 before heading to the Western Slope championships Feb. 2 and 3 in Grand Junction. The 3A state championship is scheduled for Feb. 8 to 10 in Thornton.
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There might be part of Hailey Swirbul that is finally beginning to believe she belongs. The 22-year-old cross-country skier is coming off quite a stretch with the U.S. ski team, one that includes her first career World Cup podium and a successful go in the notorious Tour de Ski stage race.