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Swimming: Aspen Speedos headed to state meet

Michael Appelgate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – During a break in Wednesday’s practice, Aspen Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson asked 13-year-old Charlie Mechling how many state events she has won so far.

“Eight, I think,” Mechling answered with a wide grin.

Now in the more competitive 13- to 14-year-old age group, Mechling is hoping to add on to that total in the near future.

Six Speedos, highlighted by Mechling and 14-year-old Kelli Callahan, will compete in this weekend’s 14-and-under state championships in Fort Collins. The action kicks off Friday.

The goals for both girls in their seven events: qualify during preliminaries in the morning and swim in the evening’s finals.

“Anything would be cool to swim at night,” Gerson said.

This is Mechling’s first year swimming for Aspen after coming over from Team Sopris. Her main event, according to Gerson, is the breaststroke.

“Her biggest strength is her drive,” Gerson said. “She’s absolutely driven to compete. We’re tweaking her stroke a little bit because she has a great kick, but we’re trying to iron out some things on the pull and her body position.”

In October, Mechling’s time in the 100-yard breaststroke was 1 minute, 14 seconds. Two weekends ago, at the Western Slope Championships, she posted a 1:10.58.

“I’m basically looking forward to having fun and seeing all of my Denver friends and trying to swim up to my potential,” Mechling said. “I’d like to make it back to finals, but I probably won’t win anything this year.”

For Callahan, Gerson said her strongest events are the 200 and 100 freestyles. The 14-year-old began the season with a time of 2:07.94 and 57.18 in the 200 and 100, respectively. Since then, she has improved to a 1:59.81 and 54.98.

“She’s only been really serious about her swimming for two years now,” Gerson said. “Her weakest part is her dive, and then she beats everyone during the race.”

Added Callahan: “I just want to swim my best and see where that takes me. I think I’m going to do really well, and I want to make the finals.”

Callahan and Mechling have been pushing each other in practice alongside 16-year-old Claire Collier and 15-year-old Kelcie Gerson. The competition is producing many fast times in meets.

“Charlie makes it a lot more fun.” Callahan said. “It’s a lot more energetic, too.”

Added Mechling: “It’s a lot different (from Glenwood), especially the practices. It’s a lot more family-ish, and I really like it.”

mappelgate@aspentimes.com


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