Aspen Speedos again dominant at home
Aspen Swim Club coach Gordon Gerson is in the midst of saying goodbye to Kennidy Quist and L.J. Fetzko, both of whom will swim collegiately, but the younger talent in the pool will make it a little easier to move on.
“It’s nice as a coach when you have a really strong senior group like I have and then I’m able to look over and see where the next crew is coming from, too,” Gerson said. “It’s a tall order for anybody to step into the shoes of Kennidy and L.J. as they are leaving.”
Quist, a recent Aspen High School graduate, will swim for Harvard University next year. Fetzko, who recently graduated from Glenwood Springs High School but trained with the Speedos this season, will swim for the University of Hawaii. Both won individual state titles for their respective high school teams over the winter, with Quist helping lead AHS to the Class 3A team championship.
And both possibly competed for the final time in a home meet for the Speedos. The Aspen Swim Club hosted its 2017 Aspen Invitational on Saturday and Sunday at the Aspen Recreation Center pool. It’s one of only two home meets the Speedos host each year, the other being held in October.
“Racing here is always a little challenging for the big kids because it’s just a really hard place to make a best time between the altitude and our pool is kind of small,” Gerson said. “For the big kids, this is racing practice. Little guys, they get better and better and better, so it’s not unreasonable to see best times out of them. So I think in that regard the meet went about as expected.”
Continuing a recent trend of home dominance, the Speedos rolled to the team title in the meet. Aspen finished with an overwhelming 938 points, while Team Sopris was second with 367 points and Steamboat Springs third with 322 points. Officially, 12 teams competed, representing just shy of 200 swimmers.
The Speedos had multiple swimmers win in multiple events. Lillie Boggs, Gavin Boggs and Micah Sanders-Silva were among the most dominant of the younger Aspen swimmers. Quist, Fetzko, Cole Petersen and Shea Card led the way for the older (13 and up) swimmers.
“We like to defend home turf,” Gerson said. “I preach the team concept. Even though it’s an individual sport, I believe each individual does better when the team functions better as whole.”
Gerson said among the most impressive feats of the two-day meet was the girls’ 400-yard freestyle relay team of Quist, Fetzko, Davy Brown and Charlie Mechling winning in 3 minutes, 40.46 seconds, an eight-second pool record. Quist alone set numerous pool records en route to a dominating performance.
“Some of those records I don’t think are getting broke for a long time,” Gerson said. “While we don’t expect the big kids to go out and make necessarily best times, we do expect them to go out and race hard and do well.”
Quist will split her time between Aspen and Florida this summer in preparation for her freshman year at Harvard. Fetzko will swim with the Speedos throughout the summer before heading to Hawaii. Both will get to represent the Speedos at the Futures meet in Lewisville, Texas, in August.
Quist also is qualified for Junior Nationals, held directly after Futures in New York. Junior Nationals is the highest level swim meet for 18 and unders in the country.
“It’s going to be a big loss of talent when the two of them go, but there are more on the way,” Gerson said. “Whether or not we have any future all-Americans, who knows?”
Aspen’s 13 and over swimmers are at a five-day training camp in Grand Junction this week. This comes right before the Grand Junction Invitational, which starts June 22, and is considered one of the larger meets on the Western Slope.
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The dual-sport student-athlete was named to the Class 3A Western Slope League all-conference first team for softball as one of two Carbondale players on the Basalt High School softball team team last fall.