Baldwin has a lot on the line |

Baldwin has a lot on the line

FARMER’S KORNER – All the Summit High School swimmers who are going to qualify for state have already done so as the Tigers prepare for this weekend’s Jeffco League Championships.

That and the fact that Summit will be without junior stalwart John McGee, who is out of town on an academic trip, makes the Friday and Saturday meet at Myers Pool in Arvada somewhat anti-climactic.

For Summit’s lone diver, however, that’s not the case. Senior Joe Baldwin needs another state-qualifying score to advance to the Class 4A State Championships May 16-17 in Loveland. Early in the season, Baldwin qualified by score but needed a higher degree of difficulty to actually make the cut. Then, at Summit’s final dual of the season last week against Columbine, he got a state-qualifying score with the required degree of difficulty. But a diver needs to do it twice during a season, or once at a big meet like the Jeffco Championships.

So that’s the task at hand this weekend in Arvada.

“Going to the state meet would be just an incredible experience because there’s so many good divers that go,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin began working toward state with first-year diving coach Julie Sutor during the winter girls season. It’s been mostly dedication and desire that’s brought him to this point.

“He’s really done an amazing job all season in terms of trying new dives and dedicating himself to becoming a better diver,” Sutor said.

Baldwin added a back double somersault and a front two and a half somersault late in the season to increase his degree of difficulty. He learned them well enough to get a state-qualifying score last week at Columbine, which was his goal for the season. So, no matter what happens this weekend, Baldwin is satisfied with his diving career.

“It was one of my goals to make state at least once this year, and I’m glad I made that goal,” he said. “Saying you got a state-qualifying score is pretty impressive. There’s not many people who can say they did that.”

“Regardless of whether he qualifies for state or not, he’s going to end his season on a very good note and end his diving career on a great note,” Sutor said.

The Tiger swimmers are approaching this meet differently. Coach Graig Fischer doesn’t expect any additional state qualifiers than the six who are already qualified, and stars Eric Lowe and Pete Richmond already have begun to taper with an eye toward the May 16 meet.

But there is some pride on the line as the Tigers prepare for their first-ever Jeffco League Championships. They moved from the Skyline League in the offseason. Summit will face 13 teams, both from the 4A and 5A classes.

“The quality of swimming all the way through is a lot better,” Fischer said. “The swimmers and divers want to see themselves finish as high as possible.”

For a few Summit swimmers, this weekend will be a final opportunity to show Fischer they belong on the state relay teams. Summit has qualified all three of its relays, but the lineup is not quite set. Josh Gammel, Kyle Ahern, Marc Miller and David Shaffer are all vying for the final spot on both the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400 free relay. The freestyle leg of the medley relay is also undecided.

“This is going to be an opportunity for them,” Fischer said.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at

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