Swimming: Collier and Aspen Speedos stand out in Texas | AspenTimes.com

Swimming: Collier and Aspen Speedos stand out in Texas

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

A thriving Aspen Speedos swim program has produced its share of firsts in recent years. Standout Claire Collier provided another at this past weekend’s Gulf Coast Senior Championships at the Texas A&M Natatorium. The Aspen High student logged eight personal bests in eight disciplines, highlighted by a 10th-place finish in the 100 backstroke. By virtue of that effort, she became the first Speedos member to qualify for Junior Nationals.Collier paced a small Aspen contingent that wound up 21st in a field of 50 teams from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Scottsdale, Ariz. More than 700 swimmers took to the pool during the weekend event.”This was a really important meet for Claire,” Speedos head coach Gordon Gerson wrote in an email to The Aspen Times. “Her results should greatly improve her stock in the eyes of college coaches.”This was an excellent way for our swimmers to finish the first half of the season. Now they can look forward to a healthy dose of training as we prepare for the spring championships.”In addition to Collier’s success, teammate Charlie Mechling finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke – her time of 1 minute, 8.48 seconds is good for top 60 in the country among 14-year-old girls – and produced best times in all nine of her events. Additionally, she advanced to the finals in every discipline.”It’s great to see Charlie back on track with the breaststroke,” Gerson said. “She had some timing issues that we’ve largely worked out.”Max Bryant overcame an illness to qualify for finals in eight of nine events, highlighted by a seventh-place finish in the 400 IM. His time of 4:11 is one of the 60 best in the country this year among 16-year-old boys. “Max had a fine meet despite having a respiratory infection and being on antibiotics earlier in the week,” Gerson said. “He was a bit disappointed, but that’s his nature – he always wants to win.”Kelcie Gerson, who’s also been battling illness and injury this fall, still managed to secure a spot in the 200 backstroke final.A group of Aspen swimmers also traveled to the Colorado Swimming Pioneer Open at Denver University. Among those who shined for the Speedos, who took 25th, was Maddie Mechling, who won the 10-and-under 100 freestyle in 1:02.94. She also finished in the top four in five other events.Additionally, Hannah Peterson produced seven personal bests and Ava Cherry logged three best times in four events.jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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