Steamboat Swim Team starts fall season strong in Aspen
To open the fall swim season, the Steamboat Springs Swim Team traveled to Aspen, bringing 36 of its swimmers to compete in the weekend-long meet from Saturday, Oct. 8 to Sunday, Oct. 9.
This was head coach Charlie Coates’ first meet as coach of the Steamboat team and she said she was excited to see her athletes compete for the first time.
Being the first meet of the season, Coates was not too concerned with results and just wanted her athletes to get back into the swing of things, mentally and physically.
“It was just our first meet so we were just focusing on being aware of our surroundings and knowing when to race,” Coates said. “We’ve got some technique to work on for this next meet in November but for this meet, it was good. It was just about getting the dust off and learning about how to race again.”
Coates said that while the primary focus was not necessarily competition dominance, she was proud that her athletes in the 12-and-under divisions recorded best times across the board. While it is harder for the older athletes to drop time, many of the older swimmers accomplished the same feat.
There were 11 top-three finishes at the meet, with Stovin Briggs taking home first place in the 100-meter butterfly for the boys 13-and-over division. The relay team of Ellis Warnke, George Maul, Christian Biglow and JJ Fox-Behling also won both the 200-meter medley relay and 200 freestyle relay for the 8-and-under division.
“Everyone was excited to get back in the water and compete,” Coates said. “I saw a lot of good races. Our relays were super fun and fast, so it’s always fun to watch those.”
Coates explained that she has never seen a team that enjoys swimming as much as this one.
She believes her athletes would want to compete in a meet every weekend if they were available, which makes them an easier team to coach.
The majority of the swimmers have not competed since early July, so Coates plans to use the rest of the fall for getting experience and preparing for the championship season.
She says once January hits, the team will start focusing on getting strong qualifying times for the championship meets at the end of February, but until then, the aim is to get some early kinks sorted out.
The team travels to Glenwood Springs for its next meet on Nov. 12 and 13. Coates hopes to see the team’s bond grow even stronger until then as they work toward improvement this fall.
“The camaraderie on this team is insane,” Coates said. “No matter what event we were in, we had other members of the team cheering for our swimmers, they were cheering for other swimmers, it was just so awesome to see how much they all love swimming and how much they all love racing.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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