Steamboat swimmers dive into season in Denver |

Steamboat swimmers dive into season in Denver

Bella O’Reilly
Special to the Steamboat Pilot & Today
The Steamboat Swim Team started its season with a strong performance last weekend in Denver. Back row, from left, coach Patti Worsley, Bella O'Reilly, Peyton Dike and coach Bryan Ladrow. Front row, Dalya Edelstein, Zoe Anfang, Ashley Anfang, Sophie Flam, Kelsey Bryant, Amanda Dietrich, Grace O'Reilly, Grace Felinczak and Ivy Ladrow.
Courtesy photo

DENVER — Every swimmer can see himself or herself standing behind the blocks. It is the most important part of the race. They spend weeks preparing for the moment and a million things happen at once. Other swimmers are moving around, timers are pushing to the edge of the pool, officials are blowing whistles and parents are screaming for their children. Swimmers tune it out.

“I get my heart rate up by jumping around. Right before my race starts, I focus on what I am going to do and try to think positively,” said 11-year old Amanda Dietrich.

The first whistle blows and all the swimmers step to the blocks. Nothing but your race matters now.

The official calls the mark.

“I hang my arms down to show that I am ready and visualize myself entering the water,” Ivy Ladrow, 10, said.

The buzzer sounds.

“I tuck my head, explode off the block, and move into streamline as I enter the water,” Sophie Flam,11, said.

The race is on.

“I usually do five kicks and a tight streamline, before I break out with three really hard strokes and take my first breath,” Peyton Dike, 12, said.

Adrenaline has started pumping, and the only thing on the mind of a swimmer is the race. Nothing else matters, and they push harder than they ever have.

The wall is coming soon.

“I approach it hard and powerful. I go in fast to come off fast,” Zoe Anfang, 10, said.

They use everything they have left to sprint to the end of the pool, muscles burning and hearts racing as they fight for coaches and teammates and put to good use months of practice.

“I take my last breath and use everything in me to finish hard. My whole body is buzzing on adrenaline, fighting fatigue,” Grace O’Reilly, 11, said. “I look to the scoreboard. When I see my time, I know that all my hard work is worth it. I am going to states.”

The Steamboat Springs Swim Team kicked off the summer season Saturday and Sunday at the Denver Hilltoppers Invite Meet at University of Denver.

Racers and coaches were excited that the meet offered strong signs of the potential of the team.

Nearly every swimmer guaranteed their spot for the LCM 12-and-under Colorado State Championships on July 27 to 29 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Grace O’Reilly, 11, made state for the 50- and 100-meter butterfly, as well as the 100 freestyle and 50 backstroke. Kelsey Bryant, 11, qualified in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, along with the 50 butterfly. Dietrich made it in the 50 breaststroke. Sophie Flam made state in the 50 and 100 breaststroke.

Joining them at state in the 10-and-under session will be Ivy Ladrow, 10, qualifying in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle and the 50 and 100 backstroke. Anfang made state in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, the 50 and 200 freestyle and 50 butterfly.

Also swimming fast and breaking personal records at the meet were Ashley Anfang, 12, Peyton Dike, 11, Dalya Edelstein, 10, and Grace Felinczak, 11.

Swimmers will continue to compete and try for more state cuts as the summer season progresses. Upcoming meets include Aspen on June 8 and 9 and Craig on June 15 and 16.

“We train at the 25-yard pool at Old Town Hot Springs, and to watch our swimmers compete with such confidence and determination at their first meet of the season in the Olympic size 50-meter pool at DU was amazing,” coach Patti Worsley said. “Our swimmers are fearless in the water, and their hard work at practice sure has paid off for them at the meet. To have so many state-qualifying swims and personal best times so early in the season is pretty exciting for the swimmers, parents and coaches.”

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