Aspen Speedos repeat a Western Slope champions |

Aspen Speedos repeat a Western Slope champions

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Head coach Gordon Gerson and the Aspen Speedos can celebrate a second consecutive Western Slope championship after a repeat performance in Grand Junction last weekend.
Courtesy photo |

The Aspen Speedos, fueled by point-producing performances from the younger swimmers, won their second consecutive title at the Western Slope Championships — with a big splash.

The Speedos nearly doubled the points of runner-up Montrose in repeating as Western Slope camps in the meet held last weekend in Grand Junction.

“The 8-and-unders gave us a big lead,” Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson said. “They got us off to a big start. Can’t say enough about the contribution of the little people.”

The 8-and-unders opened the meet Friday morning, launching the Aspen Speedos into the lead. The 9-and-older swimmers wrapped up the meet Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a real strong meet across the board,” Gerson said. “We had a lot of kids with real nice performances.”

He said the team depth and the experience from years past helped the current Speedos.

“It’s fun when teams get that certain confidence where they can go out and do this sort of thing,” Gerson said. “It was nice to follow last year’s championship with another championship this year.”

Points, points, points

He said the every Aspen swimmer scored at the Western Slope meet.

“And we had a bunch of event winners,” Gerson said.

The Speedos 8-and-under boys 100 freestyle relay won behind Andrew Perley, Gavin Boggs, Eddie Zane and Eli Cohen.

Perley also won the 25 backstroke for boys 8-and-under. Boggs finished third. Zane was second in the 25 freestyle.

Aspen’s Maia Ettlinger won the girls 8-and-under 25 butterfly.

Gracie Brown of the Speedos finished first in the 25 free for girls 8-and-under. She also was second in the 25 backstroke, the 25 breast stroke and the 100 individual medley.

Nathan Levy, James Mellenthin, Perley and Cohen teamed up to win the 100 medley relay for boys 8-and-under.

The Aspen Speedos’ older swimmers followed the trend of the youngsters as they generated more points at the Western Slope Championships, drawing on their depth.

“Again, showing that this is more of a team effort … we only won two high-points,” Gerson said of the top point-winners in each division. In the past, he said, the Speedos would have as many as five high-point winners, but would finish third or fourth as a team.

“But having so many other kids in the top eight, we dominated,” Gerson said.

High-point swimmers

Max Bryant and Maddie Mechling were the high-pointers for the Speedos last weekend.

“Maddie won every event she was in,” Gerson said. Racing in the girls 11-12 division, Mechling won the 200 free, 50 back, 200 back, 100 free, 100 back, 200 IM, 60 breast, 50 free and 400 free.

“Maddie had a clean sheet. She had an awesome meet,” Gerson said “She’s still got two bigger meets.”

Mechling will compete this weekend at the state championships in Fort Collins where in some events she is seeded as high as second in the state.

“Then she’s got age-group zones in two weeks in Federal Way, Washington,” Gerson said.

Bryant, the recent Aspen High School graduate who will swim at SMU in the fall, added to the Speedos totals.

“Max won seven events and the two (second places) were to college kids,” the Aspen coach said.

Other Speedos posted wins and big time drops.

Lewis Brown won two events for the Speedos.

“Kelli (Callahan) had some impressive swims,” Gerson said. Callahan, 16, won the 200 free, the 100 free and the 100 fly. She was second in the 200 IM.

“The 100 fly has been a revelation for her,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for that butterfly.”

He said Nathan Cherry continued to post big time drops.

“He’s excited about his first state meet,” Gerson said.

Cherry won the boys 11-12 100 freestyle and the 50 freestyle.

“Harry (Valentine-Wilson) rose to the moment and had some big time drops,” Gerson said. “And Oliver (Semple) really got after it at this meet … time drops, including some big ones.”

Micah Sanders-Silva, 9, also had a win in the 50 breast for boys 10-and-under.

“And we have a guy like Cole (Petersen), a guy who made his first two state cuts last weekend,” Gerson said. Petersen had three seconds and two thirds at the Western Slope meet.

He said the Speedos will be making the transition this year with veterans like Kelcie Gerson and Max Bryant moving on.

“Kelcie and Max have sort of been the founders of the program,” said Gordon Gerson, Kelcie’s dad. “It’s nice to see that even as they step away, the team is in nice hands.”

Kelcie Gerson, who will swim at Columbia University in the fall, was named an academic All-American prep swimmer this week.

“It was fun. The kids were excited. I would call it a very successful season,” Gerson said. “And we’ll have a whole of kids back … very promising.”

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