Aspen Speedos answer early Challenge |

Aspen Speedos answer early Challenge

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

There are fast starts.

And there are faster starts.

The Aspen Speedos managed both last weekend as the club swimmers kicked off the spring season with the unique Western Slope IM Challenge at the Glenwood Springs Recreation Center.

In a meet format designed to focus on individual scores, the Speedos still won first place in the team scoring.

“Nathan Cherry was third, so we had a 1-2-3 sweep in the IM Lite Challenge. We had a clean sweep.”
George Gerson, Speedos head coach

The Speedos beat second-place and host Team Sopris along with seven other club teams.

“I don’t recall us winning outside of our own pool,” Speedos head coach George Gerson said. “Everett (Olson) and Maddie (Mechling) led the way with victories in their (IM) categories.”

The two 11-year-olds posted the most composite points in a series of races over two days in Glenwood Springs.

“Everett has really stepped up this year. He’s shown increased focus and intensity at practice,” Gerson said, adding that Olson did a second challenge over the weekend, a brutal distance challenge. “Now, he’s really starting to focus.”

Mechling also won her challenge in the 11-12 age division.

“This is the only meet like this that we have all year,” Gerson said of the IM challenge format.

The Speedos had another likely challenge winner.

“We gave another one away when Max Bryant, with the coach’s permission, didn’t swim Day 2 because of prom,” said Gerson, who excused all his prom swimmers from the second day of competition.

Gerson said he was pleased with the early competitive results.

“But the thing I most want the 12-and-unders doing is having fun to they will come back,” said the veteran coach, who has worked with the Speedos for more than eight years, half as head coach.

The Aspen Speedos also had other swimmers who finished in the top three in their respective challenge categories. He said they were Davy Brown, Kelli Callahan and Charlie Mechling, the other sister of Maddie Mechling.

Callahan was second in the 13-and-older challenge. Charlie Mechling finished third. A final-event DQ kept Charlie Mechling from the overall title.

“They both had a real solid meet,” Gerson said.

Brown came in second in her challenge, to teammate Maddie Mechling.

Cole Petersen finished second to Everett.

“Nathan Cherry was third, so we had a 1-2-3 sweep in the IM Lite Challenge. We had a clean sweep,” Gerson said.

Claire Collier finished third in the 13 and older challenge.

Kelcie Gerson was in position among the leaders after the first day.

She was off for prom on Day 2 of the weekend swim meet.

Nine-year-old Thomas Mellenthin finished third in the 10-and- under challenge category.

Aspen also collected top-eight finishes from Micah Sanders-Silva, Andrew Springer, Reed Kulberg, Lewis Brown, Eelan Eviram, Gracie Brown, Lillie Boggs, Emily Driscoll, Aubrey Elder, James Mellenthin, Harry Valentine-Wilson and Hannah Freeman.

More than 200 swimmers participated in the two-day challenge meet in Glenwood Springs.

The Speedos will split the squad for their next events. The senior group will compete in Thornton.

The younger swimmers will race in a Western Slope meet in Gunnison.

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