Aspen Speedos ‘SWIMSTRONG’ at Glenwood meet
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Aspen swim team shared the pool with a certain seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor for three weeks in October.
This past weekend, at the Deep Freeze Invitational in Glenwood Springs, the Speedos chipped in to raise awareness for training partner Lance Armstrong’s cause.
The group donned yellow “SWIMSTRONG” caps, a play on Armstrong’s “LIVESTRONG” foundation. The number 28, representing the amount of people in millions that now live with cancer, was printed on one side.
Fittingly, Aspen picked up 28 combined victories in the pool on Saturday and Sunday. Jack Bowers and Max Bryant each won all nine of their events to propel the undermanned Skiers to a third-place finish. Evergreen and host Sopris finished first and second, respectively.
“[Swimming with Armstrong] was really inspiring and motivating to the kids. They worked so hard when he was with them,” said Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson, who came up with the idea to make the caps and to donate all proceeds from their sale to Armstrong’s foundation.
“The kids really felt like they were swimming for something.”
Here are some highlights from this past weekend:
• Bowers finished first in all of his events for the second straight meet.
• Fellow 10-year-old Elizabeth Reagan picked up wins in the 100-yard backstroke and the 50 and 100 freestyle.
• Davy Brown, Hunter Bryant and Jackson Landis all picked up two victories.
• Kelcie Gerson finished in the Top 5 in all 10 of her races, but the 14-year-old standout surprisingly did not produce a win.
“It wasn’t a case that she swam bad – she still had three best times,” coach Gerson said. “Evergreen’s best age group by far was their 13- and 14-year-old girls.”
• Nine-year-old Austin Ferguson recorded seven best times in his eight events.
• McKenna Kiker swam in six events, and the 9-year-old produced best times in all of them.
• Spencer Perley, 7, recorded seven top times in eight events.
• Six-year-old Ella Stainton recorded personal bests in all four of her races.
• About 30 Aspen swimmers participated – the most in recent memory for a road meet, Gerson said.
“It was fun to see them out there,” he said. “They competed well as a team and really cheered each other on. They’re all getting better.”
The Speedos likely would’ve challenged for second place had they been at full strength; key contributors Kelli Callahan, Claire Collier and Sam Richie were ill and did not compete.
“That’s a lot of points right there. Those kids come in the Top 3 in every event they swim,” Gerson said. “It would’ve been fun to beat Sopris in their own backyard, but we needed a healthy contingent.”
Gerson is hoping to have his full complement of athletes for Dec. 3-5’s CSI Pioneer Open in Denver.
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.