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There were timers for each line. Swimmers, too. And a couple of officials assigned to meet Saturday morning at Marge E. Hudak Pool in Bailey. The only thing missing — besides your normal crowd of …
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There were timers for each line. Swimmers, too. And a couple of officials assigned to meet Saturday morning at Marge E. Hudak Pool in Bailey. The only thing missing — besides your normal crowd of spectators — was an opponent.
Yet, there was Evergreen High School’s girls swim team competing in its virtual meet against Chatfield on Feb. 13.
“With this type of meet, you just have to race against the clock and against yourself. That’s really the best way to push yourself,” EHS senior Sophia Gurrieri said. “… It is a big mental game. It’s a big part of swimming, the mental part of it.”
By 9:48 a.m., 48 minutes after it started, the meet was over or just beginning depending on how one looks at it. After all, the Chargers didn’t take to the pool for another eight-plus hours almost an hour away at Littleton High School.
But, at least, Evergreen’s portion of the meet was over, and it was faster than a normal practice, which, according to head coach Liz Hudd, is usually an hour. Even though the circumstances, Hudd wasn’t worried about her team not being ready. She knew the Cougars would be.
“The kids know (what to do). For the history I’ve been coaching — 20 years — at Evergreen, come competition time they bring it. It didn’t matter that there was no opponent here today. It was them against the clock,” Hudd noted.
Even so, if Hudd needed a motivator before the meet, all she had to do was talk about where her team was ranked presently in the state. With just the top 20 qualifiers going to state this season, it’s imperative that the two-time 3A state champions qualify as many swimmers in each event as possible if they want to threepeat.
“We’re seeded well in the state right now, but the girls aren’t even close to their best time. (But) I’m feeling optimistic,” Hudd said. “Some of the girls are swimming a little bit off, but that’s to be expected. Two to three weeks ago they were swimming only 4 hours a week, which is nothing.”
Host Chatfield, a 5A school, won the meet, 344-153, but Evergreen had its share of successes.
Taylor Jacobson and Gurrieri finished one-two in the 100 butterfly in 1 minute, 6.66 seconds and 1:07.02, respectively. Gurrieri’s time was good enough to push her into the top 20 in the state in 3A.
Evergreen also had five of the top six finishers in the 100 breaststroke, led by Alyssa Cook’s time of 1:14.50. Cook was also a runner-up in the 200 freestyle in 2:08.41, pushing her to seventh best in the state. Evergreen owns four of the top 10 times in 3A in that event so far this season.
EHS’ Finley Anderson used the meet as a way to improve her time in other events besides the one’s she’s already high among the state qualifiers. The freshman sits third in the state in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, but she took Saturday’s meet to work on her time in the 50 freestyle and 200 individual medley.
She came in second in the 200 IM and third in the 50 freestyle, in which she swam a time of 27.15 seconds to put her in a tie for 20th in the state alongside Conifer freshman Emilie Coleman.
Now, it could be said that swimming is just swimming, but the Cougars knew there was a clock going on. Once that timer started it was a race to push oneself as hard as it could to swim as fast as it can, Gurrieri said.
And though Chatfield wasn’t physically at the Hudak pool, Evergreen’s teammates were. That in itself fueled the Cougars’ competitive nature while also providing each one of them a built-in support system to do the best that they could.
“It’s definitely strange not racing anybody like other teams, but it’s good for the team to be together and just race each other,” Anderson said.
“What’s great about having a team is that you can race against your teammates and push each other and make each other better, make each other faster,” Gurrieri said. “That’s why this team has done so well because we just push each other. We’re all very competitive. We all like to win.”
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