Low in numbers, Aspen High swim team still rolls in home meet

An Aspen High School swimmer competes Friday at the Skiers' lone home meet at the ARC.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

Aspen High School junior Olivia Fite had never competed in the pool prior to Friday’s home meet at the Aspen Recreation Center. She didn’t place — nor was she expected to — but she swam, and that was all that mattered.

“The whole team was rooting for her because she wasn’t sure if she could do it,” AHS girls swim coach Kathleen Callahan said. “It was really fun to watch them yell for Olivia, because they knew she was so afraid. As a coach I want that team unity and team spirit, so I was more happy about that than anything else.”

The meet was the first of the season for the Skiers, although it wasn’t supposed to be. Between poor weather and illness, AHS has seen three scheduled meets come and go without being able to get in the pool. Despite this and small numbers — Aspen has only 11 girls on the team — the Skiers rolled to the meet win Friday.

By comparison, Glenwood Springs has 44 swimmers and Grand Junction 30. This didn’t faze the small but potent AHS swimmers.

“Most of the girls got best times, so I think it’s setting us up for a great season,” Callahan said. “We had a lot of state qualifying times.”

The team was led, as it usually is, by senior Harvard-commit Kennidy Quist, who won both of her races (50 free and 100 breast). Junior Davy Brown also came away with a pair of first-place finishes, winning the 200 IM and 100 back.

Junior Emily Driscoll had a pair of second-place finishes (100 butterfly, 500 free), as did sophomore Hannah Freeman (200 free, 100 free).

Callahan was especially ecstatic about three swimmers — sophomore twins Abby and Lilly Easterling, and sophomore Ashley Sprenger, all of whom crushed personal bests.

“Abby dropped six seconds off her best time and Lilly dropped 7.3 seconds,” Callahan said. “Ashley Sprenger dropped five seconds off her best time, which is pretty unheard of in the 100 free. So those three girls just brought it and I’m really, really proud of them.”

The season will go quickly for the Skiers. They next compete Tuesday in Summit before more meets over the weekend. The Western Slope League championships are scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Grand Junction.

The state meet is Feb. 9-10.