Aspen Swim Club sends two to junior nationals

It was the biggest swim meet of Kennidy Quist’s career, a step up from the Western Slope stops she is used to.

And it is something the Harvard-bound swimmer might have to get used to.

“Overall, it was something new. It was very different. We usually compete in a very small league,” Quist said. “That was cool to compete with the best of the best. It’s very competitive. It’s a very positive and sort of hyped up environment, which is pretty cool.”

Quist, a senior at Aspen High School, and England native Emma Cain both were able to represent the Aspen Swim Club over the weekend at the 2016 Winter Junior Championships in College Station, Texas. One of two junior championship meets in the country, the 18-and-under event brought in the best youth swimmers west of the Mississippi River.

With more than 1,500 teams eligible to qualify for the western junior championship, the two girls combined to finish in 42nd place among the women’s teams. Cain, a UCLA commit who has trained with the Aspen Swim Club in the past, had a strong meet, highlighted by winning the consolation finals in the 200-yard breaststroke to finish ninth. She also finished 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke.

“I think the two of them really helped each other, just doubling the presence of the team,” Aspen Swim Club coach Gordon Gerson said. “It’s just nice to have someone else there to call a teammate. It’s a different experience.”

Quist’s best moment came when she made the finals of the 200-yard freestyle, taking 22nd with a time of 1 minute, 49.79 seconds. Also of note was a third-place time of 56.80 seconds in the women’s 100-yard butterfly time trial.

“She probably left there hungry, wanting more based on some of her freestyle results, which isn’t a bad thing,” Gerson said of Quist. “It’s good to go to these big meets and get a learning experience. There is no more higher level for her to see than that.”

Outside of a distance camp over the holiday break, the Aspen Swim Club is off until it takes part in the MAValanche swim meet, which is essentially the Western Slope championships, in early January. Quist will spend much of her next few months on the Aspen High School girls swim team, which gets its season started this weekend.

Aspen swimmers solid in Las Vegas

Prior to the weekend’s junior nationals in Texas, 16 Aspen Swim Club athletes and one coach competed in the 2016 Las Vegas Invite the week prior. While a smaller meet, it featured some of the top teams — most significantly larger than Aspen’s — in the western United States.

With limited numbers, it was difficult for the Aspen Speedos to keep up in term of overall team points, but that didn’t stop the swimmers from being competitive.

“The meet was great. I would actually say the first day most exceeded my expectations of any meet we’ve ever been to,” Gerson said. “Everybody crushed it across the board. I’m not sure days two and three were quite at that level, but they were still really good.”

Davy Brown led the Speedos in points; the 16-year-old had three runner-up finishes. Right behind her in team points was Glenwood Springs High School student L.J. Fetzko, who broke a meet record in the 200 butterfly, finishing in 2:06.03. She broke the time of close friend Jessica Tuttle, who now swims for the Air Force Academy, after Tuttle broke the record last year.

Sevi Multin, also one of the top scorers for the Speedos in Vegas, broke a team record held by Max Bryant in the 100 back. Multin took fifth in the race with a time of 55.25 seconds.

“Sevi had some pretty awesome swims,” Gerson said. “More impressive to me was Sevi’s 100 fly that he came in third and was very close to Max’s team record.”