The Cortez Leopard Sharks and Mesa Verde Aquatics Club (MVAC) each traveled to the Durango Summer Invite for their first away swim meet of the season last weekend.
With 14 teams competing, the Leopard Sharks tallied 298 points to finish in sixth place, while MVAC came in just behind in seventh place with 278 points.
Yosi Waller-Hardie, Delta Suckla, Cole Gropp, Victoria Duran and Cody Farias highlighted the Leopard Sharks’ younger swimmers.
Swimming in the 7-8 boys division, Waller-Hardie won the 25-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter breaststroke, and Suckla won the 50-meter breaststroke and took second in the 100-meter breaststroke in the 9-10 girls division.
Gropp won the 100m freestyle and 800m freestyle in the 13-14 boys division, Duran finished first in the 100m breaststroke and third in the 200m freestyle among girls 13-14 and Farias racked up eight first-place finishes, winning the 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m IM, 50m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke and 50m butterfly.
Swimming in the 15-and-older group, Madison Van Bibber took third in both the 50m freestyle and the 100m freestyle, Bailey Duran won the 200m breaststroke, finished second in the 100m breaststroke and fourth in the 100m freestyle, and Caisey Duran placed second in the 200m breaststroke, second in the 100m backstroke and third in the 100m breaststroke.
The MVAC also had a handful of young swimmers bring home ribbons from Durango.
Head coach Kevin Ketterer applauded Erin Lawrence and Rookh Fairley, saying that although they are fairly new swimmers, they have been working hard at practice and the results have shown it.
In the girls 7-8 division, Lawrence won the 25m backstroke and took second in the 25m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 25m breaststroke, 50m backstroke, 25m butterfly and 50m freestyle.
And swimming in the 11-12 boys group, Fairley placed second in the 100m freestyle, second in the 50m freestyle and third in the 50m backstroke.
Ketterer also noted the performances of Anna Lawrence, Caleb Vaquera and Jared Michael Grip.
Lawrence won the 100m butterfly in the girls 11-12 category, Vaquera won the 100m fly in the boys 13-14 group, and swimming in the eight-and-under division, Gripp won the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly, took second in the 50m backstroke and placed third in the 25m breaststroke, 25m backstroke and 50m breaststroke.
Finally, Ketterer pointed to Caleb Podgornoff’s third-place finish in the 100m freestyle, saying: “I’ve been working with him on some of his strokes and have made a few changes and his hard work and willingness to learn and try new things is really paying off.”
Older swimmers Jenna Barner (13-14) and Sam Bagge (15 and over) also had success in Durango.
Barner won the 50m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke, placed second in the 200m backstroke, 100m freestyle and 200m IM and finished third in the 100m breaststroke.
Bagge placed second in the 200m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m IM and 50m freestyle and took third in the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke.
This weekend, both the Leopard Sharks and MVAC will be sending swimmers to two different meets.
Each club plans to send its younger swimmers to Telluride for a more developmental meet, while its older, more competitive swimmers will travel to the Grand Junction Invite.
“We’re going to use that meet as a gauge for what we need to work on in preparation for the long-course state meet,” Ketterer said of the Grand Junction Invite. “And it will actually be at the same pool and it’s a high-intensity meet.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Leopard Sharks head coach Ian MacLaren. “It’s a good building block, with teams coming down from Denver, and it will be a good opportunity for us to see some kids that we don’t normally see on the Western Slope.”