Speedos speeding into Western Slope finals
The Associated Press
The Aspen Speedos are racing into the Western Slope Swimming Championships.
The Aspen Swim Club will compete in the three-day championship meet, starting today, at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
The Speedos are entering the championships coming off one of their most dynamic performances of the season — under difficult conditions.
The junior swimmers finished an all-time-high of second place at the 17-team Montrose Marlin Summer Open, behind only host Montrose.
The Speedos rallied in support of their teammates — sisters Maddie and Charlie Mechling, whose father Ned Mechling died earlier last week at the age of 44 from complications of a recent surgery, according to head coach Gordon Gerson.
“It was a weird week for everyone,” Gerson said, adding that the Speedos attended a memorial celebration in honor of Ned Mechling on Wednesday evening at the Prehm Ranch, south of Glenwood Springs.
“We had 60 people from our team down there to support our teammates,” Gerson said. “Some of these kids have known Ned for … years. They wanted to be there to support the family.”
He said Ned Mechling was an enthusiastic supporter of the Aspen Speedos.
“His joy was their swimming,” Gerson said.
The two sisters have been training regularly and competed with their usual successful results in Montrose, he said.
“It’s been good for them to stay in their routine,” Gerson said. “I know their dad would want them to keep swimming.”
Like most of the senior-group swimmers, the Mechlings swam a limited agenda, as planned.
Gerson said the Montrose meet is a tune-up meet for this week’s Western Slope Championships.
“We had some nice performances,” Gerson said. “We wanted to get some state-qualifying times, get race ready. Nathan Cherry continues to show that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.”
Cherry, in the 11-12 division, went 9-for-9 at Montrose.
“He swam nine events; he won nine events,” Gerson said, noting time drops for Cherry in virtually all of his events.
He has four state times to his credit thus far.
Aspen’s Gracy Brown, 8, went 6-for-6 in Montrose.
“Kayla Tehrani continues to swim outstanding,” Gerson said. “He swam as a part of eight events (including relays) with six wins and two seconds.”
Gavin Boggs, 6, had four first places in Montrose.
Davy Brown, 13, won three events.
Lewis Brown, 10, won three events as did Max Bryant, 18, who had just returned from freshman orientation at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Kelli Callahan posted two firsts and four seconds in six races.
Emily Driscoll, 14, collected four first places.
Hannah Freeman,13, won one race, and Kelcie Gerson, 18, won two with a second and three thirds in six events.
Andrew Perley, 8, won three races, and Cole Petersen won three.
“We’re looking forward to Western Slope (Championships) this week,” Gerson said.
The Speedos are the defending champions.
“Cole Petersen will be out there looking for some state cuts; Davy Brown will be looking for some more state cuts,” he said. “This is a big meet for the younger kids. They’re all excited about the meet.
“We look at this as a big team meet,” Gerson said, adding that the Speedos will have some special memories to carry into the Western Slope Championships.
“We’ll all be thinking about Ned (Mechling) this weekend,” Gerson said. “We’ll try to go out and put on a show he would have liked.”
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This is the 53rd Aspen Ruggerfest, a year delayed after the 2020 tournament was canceled. It’s one of the country’s most prestigious and longest-running tournaments of its kind still left and draws in high-level players from all over the world.