On Friday, Jan. 20, the Cowboys swim and dive team hosted the Gunnison Cowboy Invite at the Gunnison Rec Center, earning first at the home meet. The young team earned top spots against its Western Slope rivals just in time for regional competitions, which are set for next month.
Head Coach Tami Maciejko said she was encouraged by the consistent growth of her swimmers.
“These girls put their heads down and are working hard,” Maciejko said. “They have become so supportive of each other and have come such a long way.”
The team experienced numerous individual successes including a first place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke from Jemma Petrie, a second place finish in the 50-yard freestyle from Catalina Schwab and a second place finish from Madelyn Stice in the 100-yard freestyle.
But Maciejko said she was especially proud of the relay teams — particularly in light of how inexperienced her athletes are.
“We have a young team,” she said. “But you can see Sam Jones is swimming really well. Emily Cattles is my fastest freshman right now, and hats off to Morgan [Greenhalgh]. She was the third fastest in the 50-yard butterfly. It’s just amazing.”
The 200-yard medley relay composed of Schwab, Jones, Petrie and Stice finished first with a time of 2:05.70.
Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Cowboys are eyeing regionals, which are scheduled for Feb. 4 and 5. To prepare, Maceijko said she expects her team to train harder than ever in its upcoming practices — which she affectionately calls “hell week” — in hopes of peaking at the right time.
“We’ll be hoping to hit 8,000-9,000 yards a day [as a team]get in some more yardage, a whole lot more sprinting, some technical work and then head down to Alamosa for a one-day meet,” she said.
Before regionals arrive, the Cowboys will compete this Saturday, Jan. 28, in a meeting at Adams State. The league championship will be held on Feb. 3 in Grand Junction before the 3A state championship in Thornton, Colorado on Feb. 10.
(Alex McCrindle can be contacted at 970.641.1414.)