Durango girls team doubles its state-meet swimming roster

Saturday’s swimming finals at the Western Slope District Championships in Grand Junction had plenty of drama.

So much so that the title came down to the final race.

Glenwood Springs edged Durango High School in the 400-yard freestyle relay and pulled out a 424-423 team victory at the two-day district championships.

But it wasn’t all a bummer for the Demons. First-year head coach Kathryn Ross said she was happy with the way her charges performed this weekend, especially with the bevy of swimmers that landed in the finals after Friday’s preliminaries and with how many picked up top-four finishes.

“I think what’s great about this team is so many great girls are coming in and sweeping up second, third, fourth – the top places there, which is nice. We had a lot of girls make it to the finals,” Ross said.

Brooke Kniffin picked up a victory in the 100 backstroke finals, finishing in less than 1 minute, giving her a season-best in the event, one in which only six swimmers in Class 4A had finished in less than 1:00 before this weekend.

The 200 medley relay team of Kniffin, Hannah Chapman, Haley Cotgageorge and Annie Mummery was victorious as well, while Kniffin added a runner-up finish in the 50 freestyle. Mummery finished third in the 100 freestyle.

Kniffin, Chapman, Cotgageorge and Mummery already were state qualifiers in multiple events, both individual and relay. But that quartet will be joined in Thornton for Friday and Saturday’s state meet by another group of four: Catherine Dellinger, Bryn Joyner, Rydell Stottlemyer and Haley Warren qualified in the 200 freestyle relay, doubling Durango’s state roster.

As for what the first four will swim at the state meet, Ross said they’ve pretty much got the lineup dialed in: “I think we pretty much have it figured out who’s going to be swimming what event.”

Three DHS divers landed among the 16 eligible for districts on the Western Slope this year. Bonne Matheson finished ninth, Sarah Lawton 10th and Caroline Tidwell 14th as members of the first full DHS diving team in six years, according to dive coach Mark Fleming.