Fast as lightning |

Fast as lightning

Steamboat girls set state record; team takes fourth at state championships

Penn Lukens swims in the 11-12 boys division of the 100-meter freestyle race at last weekend's Seasonal State Championship meet in Craig.
Courtesy Photo

— The festive atmosphere at the seasonal state swimming championships in Craig kept Steamboat Springs’ Team Lightning buzzing with excitement.

“We were dancing before (our event),” 12-year-old Amy Brodie said. “They were playing funny songs like the ‘Macarena.’ It got us psyched.”

After relay teammates Molly Dierdorff, Katie Ross and Lucy Franklin, Brodie swam the final leg of the 200-meter freestyle event.

“She was finished before I was over getting tired,” Franklin said about Brodie.

“After I did the first 25 (meters), I was a whole pool length ahead,” Brodie said. “Once I hit the wall and finished, I just remember my coach saying, ‘you guys got it,’ and then we went berserk.”

What the girls “got” was a new state record in the 12-and-under 200-meter freestyle relay. Their time of 2 minutes, 13.89 seconds, broke the previous record of 2:16.12.

“We were talking about how many seconds to drop, and we only needed about four,” Brodie said. “In our minds, we tried to push it up to six.”

Franklin said she felt proud and grateful to be part of the team that has been swimming together for the past three years.

The girls on the Lightning 200 free relay team were not the only Steamboat swimmers to find success. Out a field of 410 athletes from 25 youth teams across the state, Steamboat finished in fourth place.

Head coach Essi Kenttala was also proud of the 32 swimmers from her summer swimming program who were able to compete with teams that train year-round.

“We have a great program to be fourth,” Kenttala said. “I think the coaches are dedicated, we have the best kids in town and great parents. Everyone works together, and everyone gets along. It’s a unique and very positive team.”

Although she was appreciative of the accommodations made by the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center to help her team train, Kenttala was a little disappointed to see the Steamboat swim season come to a premature end.

“We had a lot of excited swimmers saying, ‘This is awesome, this is my sport,’ but that will change come October, because we don’t have a real indoor pool,” Kenttala said.

Tonight, team members will not have that on their minds, celebrating their weekend finish as one of the Colorado’s premier summer swim clubs.

“It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful park, and it was a beautifully run meet,” said Steamboat Team Lightning team communications manager Shannon Lukens, voice still sore from announcing the meet’s 2,064 event entrants.

Colorado Springs’ Valley Dolphins won the weekend meet, where eight new state records were set.

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