Aspen Speedos take fourth at Slope championships
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Aspen Speedos program took another big step forward at this past weekend’s Western Slope Championships in Grand Junction.
Max Bryant, Kelcie Gerson and Michael Zimet won high-point awards in their respective age classes, helping lead Aspen to a fourth-place finish. Team Sopris, Durango and Montrose finished first through third, respectively.
“To the best of my knowledge, we’ve never finished in the top four in any league championship meet,” Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson said Tuesday.
“To beat a team like [Grand] Junction that’s got a 50-year plus history is pretty exciting.”
Twenty-two of 28 Aspen swimmers scored points in individual events. A total of 16 Speedos competed at last year’s league championships.
Here are some of the weekend’s highlights:
• Kelcie Gerson won all six of her events to capture the high-point award in the 13- and 14-year-old girls age group. She was the fastest swimmer regardless of age in all but one event.
• Bryant won all six of his events in the 13-14 boys age group, and he was the fastest swimmer regardless of age in four. He also produced three personal bests.
• Zimet won the high-point award in the boys’ 15-and-older division, winning five of six events. He dropped nearly 22 seconds off his personal best in the 400-yard individual medley and about 17 seconds in the 200 butterfly.
“This was by far the best meet he’s ever had,” coach Gerson said. “He’s trained really hard the last month and had a great attitude going into the meet. It really showed.”
• Sam Richie finished second in the high-point race among 9- and 10-year-old boys. He won one event and finished in the top three in all six.
• Davy Brown won three events in 9-10 girls division and finished third among high-point scorers.
• Hunter Bryant won the 9-10 boys 200 breaststroke and scored in all six events entered – an impressive feat considering he has practiced just once a week this winter while focusing on Nordic skiing.
• Claire Collier followed up a 16th-place finish in the 100 back at the high school state meet the previous weekend with two victories in Junction. She finished second in points accrued among girls 15 and older.
“A lot of swimmers who competed in that high school state meet took the week off,” coach Gerson said. “Claire decided to come and help the team.”
• Kelli Callahan, 13, won the 500 freestyle, trimming 1 minute, 1 second off her previous best in the process.
• Jack Bowers, 10, picked up one win and two second-place finishes.
• Kelcie Gerson, Callahan, Collier and Leigh Sandbach teamed up to win the open category 200 medley relay.
• Bowers, Richie, Nathan Cherry and Everett Olson won the 9-10 100 medley relay.
• Emily Driscoll, Jackson Landis and Dominique Wojcik produced best times in all six of their events.
• Elizabeth Reagan made her first-ever state cut in the 50 backstroke, finishing second.
“I’m really happy with everyone’s performance,” Gordon Gerson said. “Even the ones that didn’t score were all enthusiastic and cheering for each other. It set the right environment for swimming fast.
“Maybe next time we’ll come in third. All we can do is keep building.”
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In the 50-mile race, three-time Olympian and Aspen bred Simi Hamilton bombed down Fanny Hill to capture the overall men’s title. Hamilton, who retired from professional cross-country skiing earlier this year, completed the race in a time of 4 hours, 17 minutes, 19 seconds. Nicole Tittensor, from Axtell, Utah, was the first woman to finish the 50-mile race.