Aspen Speedos score at state championships |

Aspen Speedos score at state championships

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Maddie Mechling of the Aspen Speedos, second in the state 200 free, competeshere in a meet earlier.
Courtesy photo |

The Aspen Speedos added some splash to the state championships.

The Speedos, Aspen’s junior swim team, splashed onto the podium in Fort Collins with a crew small in number but big in points.

“We did have a small crew at states,” head coach Gordon Gerson said. “We still came in the top-30, mainly powered by Maddie (Mechling’s) results.”

Mechling, the 12-year-old dynamo for the Aspen Speedos, had five top-6 finishes at the state championships including two third places.

“Both of our girls relays scored points,” Gerson said of the Aspen girls who finished 17th in the 400 freestyle relay and 18th in the 400 medley relay. The relay team featured Lelia Arthur, Hannah Freeman, Emily Driscoll and Mechling.

Gerson said a number of Speedos had outstanding performances at state, including Cole Petersen.

“On the first day, Cole dropped 19 seconds in the mile after had dropped time the week before,” Gerson said. “That was a nice performance. He keeps getting better and better.”

Gerson said Nathan Cherry also had a strong showing.

“Nathan had a nice meet. He swam four individual events,” Gerson said.

He nearly reached the finals in the 400 freestyle with a huge time drop.

“This was his first trip to that level. He handled it well,” Gerson said. “He had swims he could be proud of.”

On Day 2 of the state meet, Mechling swam a busy schedule for the Speedos.

“The Maddie show got rolling on the second day,” Gerson said.

Mechling finished third in the 100 backstroke finals.

“She took sixth in the 200 free, just a little off her best time the week before,” the Aspen Speedos head coach said.

“In the 50 back, Maddie came out of the prelims third,” Gerson said. “She was fifth in the final, a super-fast final. It was a matter of bam-bam-bam for placement. She had a great swim. She was fingertips away from higher places.”

Gerson said Mechling finished fifth in the 400 freestyle going under 5 minutes for the first time in her career.

“Probably her most impressive swim of the weekend was Sunday morning in the 200 back,” Gerson said. “Her backstroke was impeccable at this meet.”

Mechling, for her part, said she was prepared for the rigors of the state championship because of the Speedos’ practice routines.

“It was easy to race in the morning and then come back and race again later because we do that here in practice,” Mechling said at a recent workout at the Aspen Recreation Center pool. “We do a lot of pacing (at practice) for my different races. It helps to memorize them in this pool and them use them (race paces) in the race pool.”

Mechling, the daughter of Kim Mechling, said the atmosphere at the state championships was exciting and loud.

“It’s really exciting. In the relays, there’s a whole bunch of noise,” the Aspen 12-year-old said.

“It’s cool. Everyone cheers for other people,” said Mechling, who also had to endure the loss of her father Ned this season. The longtime Aspen Speedos swim club supporter died after surgery earlier in the summer.

“She’s had a great year swimming,” Gerson said. “She gets the reward of going to zones.”

Mechling will head to Federal Way, Washington, on Tuesday for her age-group zone championships.

“It’s a new environment. This will be Maddie’s first trip to age-group zones. Hopefully, she’ll rise to the occasion,” Gerson said.

The Aspen Speedos senior swimmers are competing this weekend in Clovis, California, at the senior zone championships featuring 1,700 total swimmers.