The Montezuma-Cortez High School girls swimming team wrapped up 2012 in Montrose on Friday and Saturday.
They Lady Panthers placed eighth at the Montrose Invitational. Durango won the team title.
"We had a good meet. We beat Palisade, Gunnison and Delta. I was super excited about that," said first-year M-CHS coach Ian MacLaren. "The girls swam good as a whole. A lot of the swims were best times for the year. Overall, it was a good meet for us."
Madison VanBibber recorded two top-10 finishes for the Lady Panthers. The sophomore placed fourth and seventh in the 50-meter backstroke and freestyle races at 34.27 and 28.26.
"This was a big meet, probably the most competition we'll face all year," MacLaren said. "For Madison, for a sophomore to do that, this speaks volumes of her hard work."
Emily Harris placed 10th in the 100- and-500-free at 1:05.86 and 6:39.91. Sera King was 11th in the 200-back at 2:46.33, while Elana Cope came in 12th in the 500-free at 6:45.80.
MacLaren likes the progress of his team so far.
"What I'm seeing, is the girls are really starting to get in shape. That's a product of the hard work they put in practice," he said. "But because of the tough practices, some of the sprinters are a little slower, because of the tough workouts. After the break, their muscles will be conditioned and we should continue to see times drop throughout the year."
MacLaren is particularly impressed with more underclassmen stepping up.
"Tifiny Mills, she swam a lot of best times. She's a super hard worker and it's paying off," he said. "Amanda Haukeness swam really well. She's coming on in the freestyle events. She's starting to harness some of the talent. She had a great meet as well."
The Lady Panthers won't compete again until Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 at Durango.
"A huge thing for us moving forward, is what we do over the next few weeks. Swimming is a sport where you have to build, have to build and keep up the conditioning," MacLaren said. "There's still a lot of room for improvement. We need to improve on our starts and our turns. I'm looking for them to attack more and go out early in the race, and attack and look to beat people."