SHS fish win four events in home opener
FARMER’S KORNER – Marshall Snead’s transition from sprinter to distance swimmer has gone better than expected.The Summit High School sophomore won two individual events on Tuesday, the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, to lead the SHS boys swimmers and divers to an unexpectedly successful showing at their home opener.The Tigers lost, 119.5-57.5, to visiting Dakota Ridge – a 5A school with the depth Summit coach Mike Rathgeber dreams of. But led by Snead’s two wins and single victories from Andrew Marshall (100 butterfly) and David Shaffer (200 individual medley), nobody on Summit’s undermanned squad walked away from his home pool feeling sour.
“When you figure we have five kids (who score points regularly) and you really need 15 to compete, for us to win four events, it shows that the kids are working hard and getting it done,” said Rathgeber, the team’s first-year head coach. “We’re guilty of a lack of depth, and we know that.”Snead’s breakthrough night began with an eight-second victory margin in the 200 free. He followed it six events later with a come-from-behind win in the 500 free, winning by just two seconds with a time of 6 minutes, 19.98 seconds.Although Tuesday was only Snead’s second high school meet as a non-sprinter, he’s been fundamentally ready for the role for years.
“I’ve always been able to swim the same speed, practically since I was 5,” said Snead, also one of the top Nordic racers in Summit’s neverending pipeline of endurance athletes. “Every parent could recognize me. I couldn’t go much faster, I couldn’t go much slower. I would just go the same speed the whole time, and Rathgeber noticed that. I’m pretty confident doing it.”Snead, who called the transition to distance a “new phase” for him, made quite the impression on his teammates, too.”I don’t know what he was doing differently,” senior captain Marc Miller said, “but he was just flying. He was just fast.”The Tigers’ 57.5 points topped the 53 they scored on Friday against Lakewood. Rathgeber set the goal at 50 for both meets, so he was understandably pleased with the five-day span of events.
“We knew that five days from Friday our times weren’t going to get better, so our goal was just to duplicate Friday’s times, and we did that,” the coach said. “I feel real good about it.”Miller took second in the 50 free, a placing equaled by Josh Gammel in the 100 free and Marshall in the 100 breaststroke. Two Tiger relay teams, the 200 medley and the 400 free, also took second.Junior Tim Gurule finished third in the diving competition with 132.70 points.
A number of Tigers also equaled or beat their personal best times on Tuesday, led by Marshall, who set two new career marks.Summit’s swimmers, the only spring sport group that is guaranteed to host competitions, thanks to the weather, welcomes Ralston Valley to the SHS pool on Saturday morning at 10. It will be the second of four straight home meets for the Tigers.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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