Aspen Speedos win Durango season opener |

Aspen Speedos win Durango season opener

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Kennidy Quist of the Aspen Speedos.
Steve Knowles/Special to The Aspen Times |

The Aspen Speedos started the club swimming season with a record-setting performance in the annual Honeyville Invitational at Durango last weekend.

The 24 swimmers with the Aspen Swim Club — the most ever to travel to the early season meet in the Four Corners — powered past the competition and won the meet championship. The Speedos, led by longtime coach Gordon Gerson, posted 1,020 points in the club meet, well ahead of the 708 from host Durango.

“This was the first nonchampionship meet we’ve ever won out of the valley,” Gerson said, adding that the championship events usually draw the most swimmers. “So, it’s unusual to go someone else’s house and win (a nonchampionship meet).”

Host Durango challenged with 40 competitors.

“I’m very excited that we had a lot of people out there,” Gerson said. “In general, I was very happy with the results. Everyone swam to my expectations or better. There were a slew of best times … a lot of impressive time drops.”

“Nathan Cherry and Maddie Mechling won all of their events. They were both 8-for-8,” Gerson said. Mechling (age 12), who qualified for and competed in the Western Zones Championships last month, won the 100 back, the 100 breast, the 100 free, the 100 individual medley, the 200 breast, the 200 free, the 200 IM and the 50 back.

Cherry, also 12, won the same lineup of events for the Speedos at the Durango Community Recreation Center pool.

“Davy Brown … she is getting really good,” Gerson said. “She swam eight events and had eight best times.”

Brown, 13, won four events and was second in her other four races.

“Little Gavin Boggs, 6 years old, was top four in all events but one,” Gerson said.

Lillie Boggs, 9, swimming in the 9-10 division, finished in the top three in six events and won two races.

“Kelli (Callahan) had nothing but top-3s, including four first places,” Gerson said. Callahan is 16.

Ava Cherry won the 50 fly for the Speedos. She’s 10.

“Aubree Elder won a couple of events … 25 back, 25 breast. Hannah Freeman was second in the 100 back and the 100 free. She’s turned into a pretty good sprinter.” Gerson said. Freeman is 14.

James Mellenthin (8) won the 100 breast and was second in the 25 breast in Durango.

Haver Muss-Nichols (9) won the 200 breast, was second in the 200 medley and third in the 200 freestyle.

“Cole Petersen just continues to get better and better,” the Aspen Speedos head coach said. “He had … four firsts, two thirds, two seconds … a lot of time drops. And he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to swim faster.”

Petersen, 13, is swimming in the 13-14 age division.

“Kennidy (Quist) is finally healthy again,” Gerson said. “She won the 200 free; she won the 50 free.”

He said Micah Sanders-Silva is an “up-and-comer” in the 9-10 division. He’s just 9.

“Micah got five firsts, two seconds and a third,” Gerson said.

“And Harry (Valentine-Wilson) had some insane time drops,” Gerson said. “He gets the big time-drop-of-the meet award.”

Gerson said Eddie Zane added five firsts, a second and fourth as a 9-year-old in the 9-10 division.

“He’s still got a lot more time in his age group.”

Gerson said the Aspen Speedos continue to grow this season. Last week, there were 52 youth swimmers practicing in two different sessions.

“We have a ton of new kids this year,” Gerson said.

And the early success, he said, is a product of the swimmers putting in hard work at practice.

“There’s not a lot of whining going on … they expect a lot of each other,” Gerson said.

The Speedos will host their annual home meet at the Aspen Recreation Center pool on Oct. 11-12.

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