Speedos celebrate with festive meet victory
The Aspen Times
Inside, there was a blur of colorful activity.
Outside, there was relaxed calm.
Inside, the public address announcer’s instructions interrupted the peppy music, triggering another race for the legion of junior swimmers gathered at the pool at the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC).
Outside, parents lounged in the shade on the grassy beach — part of the tradition that is the annual Aspen Invitational swim meet, sponsored by the host Aspen Speedos.
With more than 200 swimmers from all across the Western Slope, there were races for 6-and-unders to 15-and-overs spread over two days — literally hundreds and hundreds of heats.
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“The credit goes to all the parent volunteers,” Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson said of the huge weekend event at the ARC. “We like to think we put on a very smooth show here; the credit goes to the volunteers.”
Gerson said that the Speedos team has grown, adding support for the annual home swim meet.
“Enough people have done (the meet), so they show up and do their jobs, they know their jobs,” Gerson said.
He said the organization of meet director Jenni Peterson was flawless.
Gerson said the expanse of volunteer duties at the home swim meet stretch from timing and scoring to data entry and computing operations as well as awards.
“It’s gratifying that we can get all the parents out there helping,” Gerson said, adding that the Speedos swimmers responded with their strongest overall showing of the summer.
The Speedos dominated the 11-team meet, totally controlling some age-group events.
“We had a huge meet,” Gerson said. “The little kids had a great meet; the intermediate kids had a great meet.”
He said the older swimmers were tired entering the meet, coming off a hard week of training camp at Grand Junction last week.
“With that in mind, I was very pleased with their performances,” he said.
“Maddie Mechling won all of her events. She dominated her age group,” Gerson said of the Aspen 11-12 age-group swimmer.
“Max (Bryant) finally had a really good week of training. He easily won all of his events and set some pool records,” Gerson said of the recent Aspen High School graduate who will swim at Southern Methodist University in Dallas this fall.
Gerson said the Speedos won seven of the 10 high-point awards, presented to the age-group swimmers who compile the most points. “And we were close in the three other (divisions),” Gerson said.
For Aspen, the high-point award winners were Gracie Brown (8), Lewis Brown (10), Kayla Tehrani (10), Maddie Mechling (12), Cole Petersen (13), Max Bryant (18) and Charlie Mechling (16).
Charlie Mechling, swimming in the girls 15-and-over division, won eight of her nine events over the weekend.
“It’s fun seeing the fast heats with all pink caps,” Gerson said of the telltale Aspen Speedos pink caps.
Western Slope Championships
He said the Speedos are training now for the upcoming Montrose Invitational, the final Western Slope qualifying meet.
The Western Slope Championships will follow a week later at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
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The Valkyries are composed of 10 players, seven from Glenwood Springs and three from Basalt. The 7s team, named for how many players are on the field, started its first practice with no subs. The majority of the roster had never touched a rugby ball before the summer.