Aspen Swim Club opens 2019 with narrow win in Grand Junction
More or less, 5-year-old Arthur Jones was the difference for the Aspen Swim Club this past weekend in Grand Junction. That is because not many meets of this type come down to a mere 2.5 points, and the Speedos needed all of them.
“Everyone who swam was a contributor because if we are missing one swim from any person, it’s a different result,” Aspen coach Gordon Gerson said. “That includes even little Arthur Jones who stepped up and took part in a relay on Sunday morning. Otherwise we would have had to scratch the relay. It made a difference.”
Aspen competed Jan. 4-6 at the MAValanche Invitational, hosted by Maverick Aquatics at Colorado Mesa University. The de facto winter Western Slope championship was the first meet of 2019, and it became the first win of the year for the Speedos.
Aspen finished with 2,901 points, while the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver finished second with 2,898.5, an unusually close call.
The top 16 individual swimmers scored in the meet, with 20 points going to first place and one point for 16th place. In relays, 40 points went to first and two points to 16th place.
Mavericks Aquatics finished third with 2,188, giving Aspen a decisive victory among the Western Slope teams competing. Team Sopris was fourth with 1,508.5.
“Knowing the meet was close, they really brought it and performed really well as a group, cheered each other on and performed above my expectations, particularly on Sunday,” Gerson said. “We were challenged a little bit by the school schedule. We had a lot of kids who were still on vacation.”
Aspen High School senior Davy Brown, a Colorado Mesa commit, led the Speedos in scoring. She won seven times in Grand Junction to go with a second and a third. Her second-place finish came in the 15-and-over 500 free, which isn’t necessarily her strong suit. Brown is a key piece of the high school girls swim team, which is currently in the middle of its season.
“Davy definitely had the best meet she’s had all year. She worked super hard at camp,” Gerson said, referring to the team’s distance camp over the holiday break. “I think if she is able to stay healthy and focused, she will be able to have a real good finish to the season, both between high school stuff and sectionals.”
Lillie Boggs, 13, was right there with Brown in scoring. Boggs won four events and took second in four others. Boggs won the 500 free in the 13-14 age division, although her time (5:09.67) was the best among any of the age divisions.
Other Aspen swimmers with at least one win at the MAValanche invite include Gavin Boggs, Andrew Gieszl, Bennett Jones, William Jones, Laila Khan-Farooqi, Emily Kinney, Cole Petersen and Kayla Tehrani.
Swimmers with at least a second- or third-place finish include Shea Card, Ava Cherry, Alexander Conder, Carmen Gonzalez-Bringas, Lillian Huggard, Whitney McManus and Harry Valentine-Wilson.
“It’s still nice to win the meet, and trust me, both teams knew where they were at and it was a lot of fun,” Gerson said. “Kids really came together at the end of the meet and were paying attention every swim. It’s a lot of cheering.”
Other swimmers who competed for Aspen were Gunner Boggs, Adam Gieszl, Nadav Hahn, Liam Heath, Megan Heath, Maya Khan-Farooqi, Molly McManus and Austin Smith. Every swimmer scored at least one point for Aspen.
Beyond a meet in Montrose later this month and the Sopris Last Chance Meet in Glenwood Springs early in February, the Aspen Swim Club will now enter its championship stretch. On top of the high school swim team, which will have its 3A state championships Feb. 8-9 in Fort Collins, there will be age-group state championships for the rest of the club swimmers over the coming months.
“It’s time to get them all ready and in race form,” Gerson said.
The International Ski and Snowboard Federation announced that for the first time in 19 years, a ski jumping World Cup event will take place on American soil from Feb. 10-12.
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