Steamboat swimmer to represent state in Hawaii |

Steamboat swimmer to represent state in Hawaii

Austin Colbert

From left, Steamboat Springs Swim Team members Parker Kortas, Annika Fahrner, Avery Harrington and Jenna Smith pose during the Colorado CSI Long Course Championship state meet at the Air Force Academy pools in Colorado Springs. The girls qualified in the 400-meter medley relay for March's Sectional Championships in Iowa City, Iowa. Smith also qualified as an individual for this week's Western Zone Age Group Championships in Hawaii.

— Jenna Smith has proven repeatedly throughout the summer she is one of Colorado's top swimmers. Now, the 11-year-old Steamboat Springs Swim Team member will have a chance to prove her prowess against some of the country's best youth.

On Tuesday, Smith leaves for Maui, Hawaii, where she has been selected to represent the state in the 2015 Western Zone Age Group Championships, held Aug. 5 through 8 at the Kihei Aquatic Pool.

"This is kind of a rare deal. She has worked really, really hard to get there. She kind of set a goal to get there, and she accomplished it," SSST coach Patti Worsley said. "She did everything she could. She ate well, she participated in every single practice and tried really well to get where she needed to go."

Smith was selected after a strong showing at the Colorado CSI Long Course State Championships, held last week at the United States Air Force Academy natatorium outside Colorado Springs. She swam in nine events, her highlight being a first-place finish in the 100-meter backstroke with a personal best time of 1 minute, 11.5 seconds.

Prior to state, Smith competed in the Western Slope Championships July 17 through 19 in Grand Junction, where she won every event she entered. The girls team placed second overall at the event, behind Aspen, while the SSST placed fifth overall.

"She's had a really great summer. She really has," Worsley said. "She'll be swimming, I imagine, some of the backstroke events (in Hawaii) and maybe some other strokes, as well. They can swim up to six individual strokes and two relays. So we are looking for some fast times at sea level."

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Smith, along with Parker Kortas, Avery Harrington and Annika Fahrner, are also qualified for March's Sectional Championships in Iowa City, Iowa. The foursome will compete in the 400-meter medley relay at sectionals after a strong showing in the event at state, where they took 14th overall.

"I'm really proud of the way these kids compete with the kids down in Denver. They can keep right up there with them," Worsley said. "Even though we are from a little, small town, we have really great athletes that really work hard to swim with the best. So it's great."

The state championships marked the end of the summer swim season. The athletes will have about a month off before the fall swim season begins Sept. 2.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert