By Craig Harper
For the Courier
Rachel Bahl keeps tinkering with Conifer’s lineup in the 200-yard medley relay, searching for the formula that will result in a 4A state-qualifying time.
The Lady Lobos again came excruciatingly close to reaching the standard at a Jan. 30 triangular with Evergreen and Pomona at the Wulf Recreation Center. Conifer’s time of 2 minutes, 8.72 seconds — good for third place in the race — fell short of the qualifying mark of 2:05.
“We’ve done about that same time all year,” Bahl said. Evergreen won the tri-meet with 118 points, Pomona came in second with 64 and Conifer was third with 32.“Next week, I’m going to try a different combination as well. I’m trying everything.”
Conifer’s last chance to qualify for the Feb. 14-15 state meet is this week’s Jeffco League championships. So far, the Lady Lobos’ lone state-qualifier is sophomore Jessica Urban in the 200 individual medley. She swam the leadoff backstroke leg in the Jan. 30 relay.
What Conifer really needs is a healthy Kaitlyn Honnick. The sophomore has battled an upper-leg injury that has negatively affected her best event, the breaststroke. “Our breaststroker is injured and I really have three all-stars,” Bahl said, noting Honnick is one of them. “If everyone swims their best time we’ll make it.”
“I wasn’t able to swim my best today because of my injury,” Honnick said. “The tendon that connects the groin muscle to my hip is pinched and inflamed, so the muscle in my leg has been tearing away from the bone. So I haven’t been able to swim breaststroke in about four months. I just got a cortisone injection in my hip last week so I hope I can qualify in league. I swam it last night and missed state by 0.7 seconds. So I’m still getting there. I guarantee it’s going to happen.”
Honnick hopes to swim the 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke along with the medley relay in the league meet. She has a best time of 1:09.09 in the backstroke, where the qualifying time is 1:06.8.
Urban bypassed the IM to see if she could reach the butterfly qualifying time of 1:06.3. She finished third in 1:09.23, above her best of 1:08.77. “I’m only, like, a second off in quite a few (events), so I figured I’d give the fly a shot. I’m close in the back and 50 free, and I’m nine or so seconds off the 500 free.’’
All of Evergreen’s top girls had already qualified for state in their main events, so most of them swam other races.
Coach Jeanne Godaire had hoped to qualify Maggie Hellard in the 500 freestyle. Hellard won the 500, but her time of 6:00.53 was well off the qualifying mark of 5:46 and her season-best of 5:48.55.
“I didn’t think I could get it at this meet; I didn’t feel well,’’ Hellard said. “But if I swim it at league, I think I can get it there.’’