After a long summer filled with practices, eight members of the Cortez Leopard Sharks swim team are headed to the state meet thanks to impressive performances at the West Slope Championships in Grand Junction on July 12-15.
Among the most impressive performances put forth by Leopard Sharks’ swimmers was that of 14-year-old Victoria Duran, who swam a scorching time of 4:55.46 in the 400-meter freestyle that placed her first by nearly 8 seconds.
Victoria Duran finished second in her age group in the 200-meter freestyle (2:21.04), the 100-meter backstroke (1:17.71) and the 200-meter backstroke (2:45.21). She also finished in the Top 5 in three other individual events. Overall, Victoria Duran finished as the second-highest scoring 13- to 14-year-old girl at the meet.
Also registering several state qualifying times and cracking the Top 5 in multiple individual events was 16-year-old Ryan Cutrone, who placed fourth in the 200-meter freestyle (2:19.86), 5th in the 200-meter backstroke (2:48.69) and 5th in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:55.86).
Bailey Duran placed 4th in the girls’ 15 and over 1500-meter freestyle (20:14.89), while Cody Farias placed 3rd in the 400-meter freestyle (5:18.71), 4th in the 200-meter freestyle (2:31.56), fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:31.48) and fifth in the 200-meter individual medley (2:49.63).
Other Top 5 finishes for the Sharks included those of Tyler Cutrone, who placed fourth in the 200-meter backstroke (2:28.91) and fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:18.95).
Two Leopard Sharks relays qualified for the state meet – the boys 400-freestyle relay team made up of Ryan Cutrone, Tyler Cutrone, Cole Gropp and Farias, and the girls 400-meter freestyle team of Bailey Duran, Caisey Duran, Victoria Duran and Lynda LaPaz.
Two members of the Mesa Verde Aquatics Club team competed, including Trent Bagge, who won the 100-meter breaststroke (1:20.90). The vast majority of other Mesa Verde Aquatics Club members did not attend the meet.
As a team, the Leopard Sharks finished eighth out of 17 teams with 707 points, and the Mesa Verde Aquatics Club finished 16th. Aspen Swim Club finished first at the meet with 3,442.5 points.