Seven Speedos heading to state meet
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” Marc Teichman figured a friendly wager would help motivate Kim Sandbach.
When the young swimmer finally posted a state-qualifying mark in the 9- to 10-year-old girls 100-yard butterfly during this past weekend’s Western Slope Swimming Championships in Grand Junction, it was time for the Speedos coach to pay up.
One day later, as promised, Teichman strolled the pool deck in a tutu, angel wings, a pink tiara and a wand.
“I’m a man of my word,” he joked Wednesday. “With the younger kids, I’m always trying to keep it fun and competitive. … Everyone had a laugh.”
Teichman’s ensemble isn’t the only thing that has Aspen smiling. By virtue of their strong showing in Junction and throughout the summer season, the Speedos are sending a record seven swimmers to this weekend’s state meet in Colorado Springs.
“It’s real exciting for me as a coach to see how we’ve progressed,” Teichman said. “The kids are working real hard, and it’s really showing in the meets.”
Four Speedos swimmers ” Bridger Gile, Kelcie Gerson and Hunter and Max Bryant ” took home high-point awards in their respective age groups.
Max Bryant led the way, winning eight of his nine events. The 12-year-old’s finishes in the 100 breast stroke and 200 butterfly secured him a top-eight seed for the state meet, which begins today and runs through Sunday.
Gerson won four events, finished second three times and third once during a busy weekend in the pool. The 12-year-old was so dominant in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke that her times were faster than those posted by winners in the 13-14 age group.
Gerson, Max Bryant and Claire Collier ” the Speedos’ three state representatives last year ” will all be swimming in the maximum allowed seven events this weekend. Bryant posted state qualifying times in a team-record 14 events this season.
Gerson took third in the 50 backstroke at last year’s state meet in Fort Collins to earn a trip to the Western Zone Swimming Championships in Fresno, Calif., as part of Team Colorado. Her spot on the state squad is assured as she has already qualified in four events.
“Kelcie is very determined and very willing to push herself to the limit,” Teichman said.
Hunter Bryant will be making his first trip to state after posting eight top-five finishes in Junction to easily win the boys’ 9-10 division. He bested the field by 55 seconds in the 400 freestyle. He’ll swim in four events in Colorado Springs.
Sandbach was also a fixture on the podium in Junction, logging three second-place and three third-place finishes. In addition to competing in one individual event, she’ll team with sister Leigh, Gerson and Collier in the 200 medley relay, then Gerson, Collier and 9-year-old Emily Ridings in the 200 freestyle relay.
“The earlier the kids can experience swimming at the state level and the competition that’s out there, the better,” Teichman said. “They’ve been swimming with a lot of determination and spirit. For the most part, our kids are young for their age and are not the biggest in their age groups. It takes stones to swim against people who are head and shoulders above you. They do a great job of duking it out, and I get a kick out of watching them.”
Teichman said he’ll make a concerted effort not to put undue pressure on his swimmers this weekend. He wants them to enjoy the moment.
“I’ve just told the kids to get in and give a great effort. If they do that, I’ll be a happy camper,” he added. “They’ve all been improving their times as the season has gone on. Now we’re there. Let’s see how far we can push it.”
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