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Two Aspen High swimmers bound for state

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Contributed photoAspen High swimmers Kelcie Gerson, right, and Claire Collier show off their ribbons after finishing first and second, respectively, in the 100 backstroke at this past weekend's Southwestern Conference Championships in Grand Junction.
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Aspen High girls swim team sent just 11 to this past weekend’s Southwestern Conference Championships in Grand Junction, a number that paled in comparison to their competitors.

The Skiers hardly were overmatched, however. They were top-10 fixtures, set multiple school and personal bests and wound up finishing seventh out of 11 teams.

Montrose took home the team crown at Friday and Saturday’s meet, while Durango and Grand Junction rounded out the top three.

“Finishing seventh is actually pretty astounding. I really couldn’t have asked for more from this small group of girls,” Aspen head coach Kathleen Callahan said Tuesday. “It was exciting to watch them go. I think we hit the taper just right, and all of them were doing personal bests.”

Among those who shined in the Colorado Mesa University pool were Kelcie Gerson and Claire Collier, who went head to head in an exciting 100 backstroke. Gerson ultimately prevailed, setting a new school record with a time of 1 minute, .23 seconds. Collier, the event’s top qualifier, settled for second.

“What an outstanding, back-and-forth race,” Callahan said.

In addition to her win, Gerson took second in the 500 freestyle, setting a new school mark – one of the sophomore’s three on the weekend – in the process. She also teamed with Collier, Molly Rosenstein and Nina Christensen to finish sixth in the 200 freestyle relay.

Collier, meanwhile, posted another second-place result and school record in the 100 butterfly.

Rosenstein wound up 10th in the 200 IM.

“It’s her least favorite event, but we put her in it and she wound up getting a personal best,” Callahan said of Rosenstein. “It was a great effort.”

Jamie Fletcher took eighth in the diving competition, executing a maneuver she spent all season perfecting to secure her spot in the top 10, Callahan said.

Lindsey Herndon, Allie Dresser, Abbie Clark and Sage Lucero secured 15th place in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 6:08.57.

“Two of them (Herndon and Lucero) had never swam before this year. That’s astounding,” Callahan said. “It was exciting for them to have the experience of being in the finals at a conference championship.”

Gerson and Collier will be looking to build on their successes in Junction next weekend, when they represent the Skiers at the 4A state meet in Thornton. Sixty-nine schools are expected to take part.

Gerson will be seeded sixth in the 100 backstroke and eighth in the 500 freestyle, while Collier heads into the event seeded ninth in the 100 butterfly and 12th in the 100 backstroke.

“(Gerson’s) goal is to be on the podium,” Callahan said. “That girl wants to win so bad. She’ll fight until the end of it. I think she can do it.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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