Swim season comes to a head
FARMER’S KORNER – The swimming and diving season doesn’t climax until next weekend’s state meet. But for those unqualified athletes on the Summit High School boys swimming and diving team, this weekend’s league championships is the last and most important meet of the season.
It’s also the last time the team will compete together as a whole.
“It will be another opportunity for our team to be together,” said coach Graig Fischer. “Every time we have that full complement, it’s that much of a better atmosphere for us.”
Not until the last couple weeks of the regular season did the Tigers have the services of their whole team. Some swimmers joined the squad late because of lingering commitments to winter sports, others have missed time with eligibility problems.
Fischer sets stricter team academic requirements than those mandated by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
“Grades come first, competition comes second,” Fischer explained.
With those issues out of the way, the Tigers can now focus on the postseason, which starts with the league championships today and Saturday in Brighton. The Tigers have seen all 10 league teams at least once during the regular season, and they hope to match the third-place team finish of the past two years.
“The best we can do would be third, which would be awful tough,” Fischer said. “I figure us at about sixth.”
Individually, the meet provides one last chance for swimmers to qualify for the state meet. Summit already has all three of its relays qualified, and Doug Borg (500-yard freestyle), Eric Lowe (200 free) and Pete Richmond (100 free and 100 backstroke) are also set to go.
Senior Andy Richmond is the only Tiger with a good chance of qualifying for state this weekend. He is on the verge, about a half-second from the cut, in the 50 free and about two seconds back in the 100 breaststroke.
Andy Richmond is used to taking it to the wire. Last year he qualified in the breaststroke in the finals of the league meet – the last possible qualifying opportunity.
“I think I probably swim better under pressure,” he said. “I’m hoping to make at least one (event) in the preliminaries, so I only have to save one for the finals.”
This will also be an important meet for Lowe and Borg, who are hoping to qualify in additional events. Lowe needs to shave about a half-second from his 500 free to qualify, and Borg has to drop a couple seconds from his 200 free.
The Tigers haven’t competed in almost two weeks. Last year, they had only a four-day layoff between the regular season and the league meet.
“Some kids will respond to it really well, some will be kind of stale because they haven’t had those races,” Fischer said.
With less than one month left in the school year and with the weather as sunny and warm as it’s been, the Tigers have had to fight spring fever. Fischer said he has noticed some antsyness creep into the after-school workouts.
But for Andy Richmond, the pressure of the upcoming meets has helped keep him focused as his high school days come to a close.
“This is what’s keeping me motivated in school,” he said. “If I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably lose all motivation. But because I want to do well and stay eligible, I’m still working hard.”
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
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