Aspen Speedos third in Junction
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
The Aspen Speedos have distinguished themselves as one of the Western Slope’s top programs. The rest of the state likely is taking notice, too.
Despite sending just 19 swimmers to this past weekend’s Grand Junction Invitational, Aspen strung together multiple strong swims to secure a third-place finish out of 21 teams from Colorado and Wyoming.
By comparison, first-place finisher Evergreen had 45 participants, 12 fewer than runner-up and host Maverick Aquatics.
“This is a hard meet in the middle of the season. It’s a good place to check out how we’re doing,” Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson said Tuesday. “Looking back, everyone is ahead of where they were at this time last season. That bodes well. … I don’t think we’ve ever finished this high in this meet. We were up there with the big boys.”
Evergreen (2,766), Maverick (2,446) and Aspen (2,054) were the only teams to crack the 2,000-point barrier. Northglenn (1,722) and Castle Rock (1,177) rounded out the top five.
Here are the weekend’s highlights:
• Kelcie Gerson had a strong weekend in the pool, picking up wins in the 100- and 400-meter freestyles and logging nine top-five individual finishes.
“I can’t remember the last time she won the 100 freestyle, including practice,” coach Gerson quipped.
In addition, Kelcie Gerson teamed with Claire Collier, Charlie Mechling and Kelli Callahan to win the 400 and 800 freestyle relays. The group also was second in the 400 medley relay – the last event they participated in during a demanding weekend that, for some team veterans, included a total of 21 swims.
“You’ve got prelims and finals, warm-ups and warm-downs after every swim,” Gordon Gerson said. “They were just about dying by the end of the medley relay.
• Sam Richie followed up a nine-win performance two weeks ago in Thornton with another standout effort. He won eight events and finished third three times.
“He’s a tough little guy who works hard,” Gerson said.
• Charlie Mechling won the 100 breaststroke, producing a sectionals cut with a time of 1 minute, 18.85 seconds. Additionally, she compiled four
second-place finishes and a total of six top-sixes.
• In seven events in the 8-and-under boys division, Lewis Brown secured four wins, two seconds and one third-place finish.
• Despite competing against some top-flight competition – including three or four swimmers who traveled to Junction with the sole purpose of gunning for some Olympic Trials cuts – Max Bryant still managed to stand out. His weekend featured nine top-10 finishes, including three seconds and two thirds.
• Everett Olson picked up two wins, three seconds and two thirds.
• Maddie Mechling logged six second-place finishes, one third and one fourth.
• Davy Brown finished in the top 10 nine times, highlighted by second-place results in the 100 and 200 backstrokes.
• Kayla Tehrani won the 50 breaststroke and finished in the top eight five other times.
• Despite being just 6, August Richie was a fixture on the 8-and-under boys podium. He won the 100 breaststroke, took second four times and third once.
• Callahan produced eight top-seven results.
• Collier’s seven top-eight finishes were highlighted by fourths in both the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly.
• Andrew Springer wound up third four times and fourth twice.
The Speedos will host a meet Saturday and Sunday at the Aspen Recreation Center.
“We haven’t won our summer meet in a while,” Gerson said. “We have a good shot at taking it this time around.”
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Buttermilk Ski Area already is scheduled to host the world’s best at ESPN’s X Games this coming week, while it was recently announced Aspen Highlands will host alpine skiing’s NorAm finals later this spring.