Swimming: Aspen Speedos win Slope crown
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – After his team made quite a splash in Grand Junction, it seemed fitting that Gordon Gerson would do the same.
The Aspen Speedos head coach struck a deal with his swimmers during this past weekend’s Winter Western Slope Championships at Colorado Mesa University: If they won the meet, he would jump into the ARC pool at Monday’s practice, clothing and all, and participate in a100 IM.
Gerson stuck to his word after arguably the most successful weekend in program history. Six of his swimmers – Lewis Brown, Maddie Mechling, Sam Richie, Kelli Callahan, Kelcie Gerson and Max Bryant – accumulated the most points in their respective age divisions, propelling Aspen to its first-ever Western Slope title.
The Speedos, who had 32 athletes take the pool Saturday and 35 Sunday, had never finished in the top three.
“You can see it somewhere on Facebook. It’s ugly,” the coach joked about his Monday swim. “I’m not exactly in the best swimming shape, and wearing khakis and a long sleeve button-up doesn’t really help, either.
“I guess I’m a perpetual optimist, so I’d say yes (I thought this would happen). This meet set up nicely for us. Points were awarded for the top eight instead of the usual top 16. That favored quality over quantity, which definitely helps us out.”
Here are the weekend’s highlights:
• Callahan was victorious every time she touched the water.
In addition to winning all six of her individual events, Callahan teamed with Kelcie Gerson, Charlie Mechling and Claire Collier to finish first in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays. The group improved their sectionals cut times in both events.
• Bryant, too, won six events. The 15-year-old also joined forces with an eclectic threesome – 14-year-old Jackson Landis, 11-year-old Sevi Multin and 34-year-old former Speedos coach Marc Teichman – to win the 200 medley and take second in the 200 freestyle relays.
• Maddie Mechling won all six of her races in “typical dominating fashion,” Gerson said.
• Kelcie Gerson picked up five wins and was out-touched at the wall by a Durango swimmer in the 50 freestyle.
• Richie won five events and was part of two winning relays. He, Brown, Nathan Cherry and Everett Olson won the 100 freestyle relay, then Richie, Cherry, Olson and Christian Kelly triumphed in the 100 medley relay.
• Brown won five individual events.
• Charlie Mechling won four times, narrowly missing out on a perfect six-for-six weekend. Callahan beat her by little more than a fingernail in the 200 freestyle, coach Gerson said, and Mechling finished second by a similarly miniscule margin in the 100 backstroke.
• Collier finished in the top three six times, highlighted by her win in the 100 butterfly.
• Kelly won the 50 breaststroke and was a runner-up four times.
• Multin picked up wins in the 50 and 100 butterflies and was second in the 50 freestyle, fourth in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke and fifth in the 50 backstroke.
• Olson won twice – including the 50 freestyle, in which he set a new state-qualifying mark – and logged two second- and two third-place finishes.
• August Richie dropped nearly 5.3 seconds off his previous best in the 50 freestyle to secure his lone win of the weekend. The 6-year-old also finished second in the 8-and-under 100 freestyle and was third in both the 25 backstroke and 25 breaststroke.
• Jackson Landis posted personal bests in all six of his swims, winding up second in both the 500 freestyle and 200 breaststroke and third in the 50 freestyle.
Additionally, he established three new qualifying marks for Silver States, which take place this weekend at Denver University.
• Davy Brown took second in the 200 IM, 500 freestyle, 100 IM and 200 freestyle.
• Lelia Arthur finished second in the 50 freestyle, while Eliza Gregory was a runner-up in the 100 breastroke.
• Cherry finished third behind teammates Sam Richie (first) and Olson in the 100 freestyle.
• In just his second meet, 6-year-old Andrew Perley took third in the 8-and-under 25 freestyle.
• Libby Reagan secured a pair of third-place finishes in the 50 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
“It was nice to end the regular season with a great result,” coach Gerson said.
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The 2020-21 Nordic combined season was supposed to be historic. This winter was going to be the first ever with women’s Nordic combined World Cup events, the first scheduled for Dec. 3-6 in Lillehammer, Norway.