Aspen swimmers impress at Sopris Invitational |

Aspen swimmers impress at Sopris Invitational

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Aspen sent a small contingent to this past weekend’s Sopris Invitational swim meet, but it made quite a big splash.

The Speedos piled up 14 wins and a slew of strong results in the two-day event, held Saturday and Sunday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Brothers Hunter and Max Bryant tallied a total of 16 top-five finishes, while Sam Ritchie, Kinley Niebur and Emily Ridings each had eight.

First-year Aspen head coach Stewart Nixon said Wednesday that he was pleased with his young team’s effort.

“Everyone swam exceptionally well. I think a lot of the veterans posted some of their best times … and our novice swimmers posted times I don’t think they thought they were capable of achieving,” he added. “I think everyone came away pretty darn happy with the performance. I know I was really happy with what I saw.”

What he saw was a steady stream of top finishes from swimmers in nearly every age classification. Here are the highlights:

• Ritchie picked up victories in the boys 8-and-under division 25-meter freestyle, 25 breaststroke, 50 breaststroke, 100 individual medley and 50 freestyle. Additionally, he was second in the 50 backstroke, third in the 25 butterfly and fifth in the 25 back.

• Hunter Bryant (9-10) ruled his age class, winning the 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke and the 100 and 200 IM. He was second in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke and fourth in the 50 butterfly.

Brother Max (14 and under) followed suit, touching the wall first in the 200 IM, 50 freestyle and 200 backstroke – which he won by nearly 4 seconds. He took second in the 100 and 200 freestyle and 400 IM, and third in the 200 breaststroke. He was fourth – one spot behind teammate Michael Zimet, who had four top fives – in the 100 breaststroke.

• Ridings (9-10) finished first in the 50 backstroke, besting her nearest competitor by nearly 1.3 seconds. She was second in the 50 freestyle, third in the 50 butterfly, 100 IM, 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle and fourth in the 50 breastroke. She also teamed with Lelia Arthur, Maya McDonough and Anna Patterson to take third in the 200 medley relay.

Ridings’ brother Derek took fifth in the 200 backstroke, 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke in the 14-and-under division.

• Molly Rosenstein (14 and under) finished fifth or better in seven disciplines. That included third-place results in two relays: the 400 freestyle (Hannah Gardenswartz, Claire Collier and Kaitlin Gerson) and 400 medley (Leigh and Kim Sandbach and Gardenswartz).

• Katie Yocum (7-8) and brother Ty (9-10) picked up four top fives.

• Claire Collier (14 and under) racked up five top fives, while Gerson (15 and over) had four.

Nixon is hoping for similar results when the Speedos host a meet at the Aspen Recreation Center this Saturday and Sunday.

“The more meets they get in, the more improvement I think the kids will be making,” he added. “Our training is going right along, and the kids are responding and listening. … Things are going swimmingly.”

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