Aspen Speedos win sectional, state honors |

Aspen Speedos win sectional, state honors

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
The Aspen Speedos join the main Hawkeye at the University of Iowa during the recent sectional championships. The Speedos include, from left, Maddie Mechling, Sam Terranova, Kendall Vanderhoof (Sopris club swimmer), Charlie Mechling, Kennidy Quist and Kelli Callahan.
Courtesy photo |

The Aspen Speedos posted fast times recently — winning times — in swimming pools all across Colorado and even at the University of Iowa.

The Speedos, the Aspen junior swim team, concluded a busy racing schedule last weekend at Iowa City, Iowa, and the U.S. Sectionals.

While the top of the top of the team competed in Iowa, Aspen Speedos also reached the podium at the annual CSI Age Group State Championships in Thornton, the Silver State Championships in Denver and the Bronze Circuit Meet in Grand Junction in the span of two weeks.

“The sectionals was the big one,” Aspen Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson after taking a select group of swimmers to the huge sectional meet in Iowa featuring 300 swim clubs. “We were the highest-scoring Colorado team in this thing.”

The Speedos’ women swimmers came in 17th as a team in the meet which included top swim clubs from California and the Midwest.

The Speedos even topped Missy Franklin’s former swim club from the Front Range at the University of Iowa competition.

“The highlight of the meet was the 800 free (freestyle) relay,” Gerson said. “We came in fifth in that.”

The Aspen Speedos’ foursome of Kelli Callahan, Samantha Terranova, Kennidy Quist and Charlie Mechling finished fifth in spite of heavy swim loads by all four during the multiday meet in Iowa.

Two Illinois clubs and two California clubs were the only teams to beat the Speedos in the 800 free relay finals.

The Aspen Speedos, with Maddie Mechling in the mix, finished ninth in the 400 freestyle relay.

And they added a 13th-place finish in the 400 medley relay.

The relays accounted for the bulk of the Speedos’ points at the elite meet.

Individually, the Speedos scored also.

“Kelli came in 18th in the 200 fly (butterfly),” Gerson said. “She dropped 16 seconds in that (event) this year. She also (finished) 17th in the 100 free.”

Charlie Mechling finished 13th in the 100 breaststroke and 16th in the 200 freestyle.

“She also had a really nice 200 IM (15th in the finals),” Gerson said. She had posted the 13th-best qualifying time.

“In the 100 free, Kennidy (Quist) came in 19th in the final,” Gerson said after Quist posted all-time bests in all of her events in Iowa. “She got 19th in the 200 free. She dropped 5 seconds in that event at this meet.”

Terranova, the Steamboat Springs swimmer who trains and competes with the Aspen Speedos, added a 12th-place finish in the 200 individual medley.

“She had a crazy fast swim in the prelims,” the longtime Aspen Speedos head coach said.

Plus, he said, Terranova was coming back from a big effort in the 1,000 freestyle event the previous night.

Maddie Mechling, one of the youngest swimmers to qualify for the prestigious sectionals in Iowa, entered with one qualifying time. But at the end of the meet, she had five more qualifying times.

“She made a best time in the 200 free,” Gerson said, “a lifetime best.”

He said she had a “blazing fast” relay leg in the Speedos’ 400 free relay team.

“Maddie had a huge state meet for us,” Gerson said of Maddie Mechling, who a week before sectionals posted a bevy of podium finishes at the state age-group championships in Thornton.

Mechling, who just turned 13, finished in the top 11 in all of her races at Thornton.

“She made a best time all but one event with some huge time drops,” Gerson said. “She had an out-of-body experience in the 500 free.” She won that consolation final.

“Her other highlights included 10th in the 100 back, eighth in the championship final in the 100 free, seventh in the championship final in the 200 free and seventh in the 50 free,” Gerson said. “She was the only one on the team to make a championship final.”

Cole Petersen also scored for the Speedos at the state meet.

“Cole swam a nice repertoire. He had five events at state. He dropped time in all five events,” Gerson said “His best event was the 200 breast; he took 16th in the finals.”

Aspen’s Paige Quist had her best time in the 200 free.

“Micah Sanders-Silva swam in five events. He made three best times, which were particularly impressive,” Gerson said. “He just turned 10. He’s got another year in that category.”

A week earlier, Gerson said the Speedos competed in the Silver State meet.

“Highlights of that meet … Emily Driscoll is really learning to swim the 200 fly,” Gerson said. “She came in second. She also came in 15th in the 200 back.”

He said Lillie Boggs dropped time in three of her five events at Silver State. She also was ninth in the 200 with an all-time best time.

Gerson said Nathan Cherry, who just turned 13, dropped time in his 500 free.

“Hannah Freeman had some time drops there. Paige Quist swam seven events and had best times in three of them.”

She was eighth in the 500 free and eighth in the 500 back.

“Across the board, it was a strong performance for Micah (Sanders-Silva),” Gerson said. “He had two 10ths and three sevenths. He dropped time in all of his events.”

The Aspen Speedos also sent 16 swimmers to the Bronze Circuit Meet in Grand Junction.

That team included Mahaila Bouman, Parker Boyd, Shea Card, Ambler Henderson, Kathryn Jones, Emily Kinney, Aaron Levey, Nathen Levey, Owen McLernon, Everett Olson, Sophia Perry, Abigail Rickard, Timothy Richard, Riley Rushing, Tristan Silfverskiold, Paige Strecker, Kayla Tehrani and Eddie Zane.

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