Illness can’t stop Aspen Speedos swim team
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The Aspen Speedos have been contending with much more than opposing swimmers of late.
A rash of untimely illnesses and injuries slowed three of the team’s standouts at a recent meet in Indianapolis. The roster was depleted once again this past weekend at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
The setbacks did not keep Aspen from continuing their early season success, however.
Here are some recent highlights:
• Kelli Callahan paced a local contingent of five at mid-January’s Carmel Winter Invite in Indianapolis with a string of impressive and somewhat surprising results. The 14-year-old kicked things off with a 13th-place finish in the 400 IM, shedding 11 seconds off her previous best in the process. She dropped 16 seconds in the 500 freestyle, winding up sixth.
Callahan was seeded 16th in the 200 freestyle but vaulted all the way to fourth after a strong swim in the preliminaries; she ultimately settled for seventh. The team’s leading point scorer, Callahan also was sixth in the 100 freestyle, seventh in the 100 breaststroke, 15th in the 50 freestyle and 16th in the 200 breaststroke.
“Kelli had best times in every event but one against pretty stiff competition,” head coach Gordon Gerson said Thursday. “There were teams from 10 different states, including host Carmel and a team from Kentucky called Lakeside. They’re two of the top 20 teams in the country.”
Callahan also won five events, finished second twice and third once in Grand Junction.
“She had four best times. To come back after Indy and do that proves she keeps getting better and better,” Gerson added.
• Charlie Mechling was scratched from her two events on the Winter Invite’s first day because of a back issue, but she returned to record best times in five of her next six events – including a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke, the team’s top result. She also was sixth in the 200 breaststroke, seventh in the 200 IM and 15th in the 200 freestyle.
She logged three first- and three second-place finishes and was third once in Junction.
• Max Bryant battled illness to finish seventh in the 400 IM in Indianapolis. He also was 13th in the 200 butterfly and 15th in the 500 freestyle.
He finished first three times and second five times in Junction.
• Sickness forced Kelcie Gerson to pull out of three of eight events in Indianapolis. She wound up scoring points in only the 200 backstroke, finishing 15th.
“There are mixed emotions about the Indy meet,” admitted coach Gerson. “Max and Kelcie put in a lot of hard work and just got sick at the wrong time. … They were looking forward to having a big meet there, and unfortunately it didn’t happen. It’s frustrating, but the sun will come up tomorrow. There will be more opportunities, and I think they’re learning that.”
• Claire Collier did not score points in Indianapolis, but did post three best times in six events.
She also was part of a 200 freestyle relay team with Callahan, Mechling and Kelcie Gerson that made a new sectionals cut. The foursome will be competing in Washington, D.C., at the end of March.
• Maddie Mechling was the standout performer in Junction, winning all eight of her events by a margin of 1.28 seconds or greater. Additionally, she established eight best times and seven state-qualifying marks.
“You can call that meet ‘The Maddie Mechling Show,'” coach Gerson said.
• Lewis Brown picked up five wins and a third-place finish at Mesa.
• Severio Multin logged two wins, four second- and two fourth-place finishes.
• Everett Olson, Eva Cherry and Davy Brown all secured one win.
• August Richie picked up three second- and three third-place finishes.
“Junction was more of a developmental meet this time of year,” coach Gerson said. “The younger kids came in and really stepped up, and the big kids really showed continued improvement.”
Next up for the Speedos is Feb. 18-19’s Western Slope Championships in Grand Junction.
X Games is back for its 22nd consecutive year at Buttermilk Ski Area starting Friday, with many of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders set to compete in halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and knucklehuck over three days.