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Cortez Water Dragons host seasonal state meet

Connor Gillian of the Cortez Water Dragons competes in the 18U 200 yard freestyle mixed relay Saturday at the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships in Cortez. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)
More than 300 swimmers from around Colorado compete

The Cortez Water Dragons hosted the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships at the Cortez Municipal Swimming Pool on Friday through Sunday.

“We’re super excited about it,” said the Water Dragons’ club president, Mara Baxstrom. “We love filling up the pool.”

Baxstrom called the event the “Super Bowl” of the summer season for the swimmers, noting that they had to qualify to attend. About 20 clubs from around the state competed at the meet with 303 swimmers and their families attending.

The Water Dragons worked their snow cone machine as a club fundraiser while concessions and a food truck were also available. There was also a pizza party at the pool for the swimmers on Saturday night.

It was the first time Cortez hosted the state meet since 2014. The championship was in Lamar last year, and Baxstrom said it was “fantastic” to host, noting that it switches sides of the state each year.

Jozie White swims a leg in the mixed 8U medley relay on Saturday at the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships in Cortez. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)
Skye Gallien competes the mixed 18U 200-yard medley relay on Saturday at the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships in Cortez. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)
Noah McCabe swims a leg in the mixed 8U medley relay on Saturday at the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships in Cortez. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)
Parker Pearson of Cortez competes in the mixed 8U 100-yard medley relay on Saturday at the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships in Cortez. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)
Kason Decker competes in the butterfly during the mixed 18U 200-yard medley relay on Saturday at the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships in Cortez. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)
Swimmers shout out instructions during a coaches relay Saturday at the Scottie Aschermann Memorial Season Club Championships in Cortez. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)

A grant from the LOR Foundation was also integral in helping Cortez win the bid. The grant money helped the pool buy new starting blocks this year, which cost about $30,000. Without that, Baxstrom said, the club wouldn’t have been able to host the championship meet.

The theme of the meet this year was celebrating milestones, and the Water Dragons celebrated a couple of big ones. The club recently celebrated its 50th anniversary while its coach, Kevin Ketterer, celebrated 40 years of coaching, including 20 in Cortez.

The Water Dragons, meanwhile, had about 10 swimmers qualify for the championships. The club was also able to swim in the relays, so pretty everyone on the club was able to compete in the championships, Baxtrom said.

In the boys 9-10 division, Fynn Anderson finished fourth in the 50-butterfly (45.72), seventh in the 200 free (3:06:16), 10th in the 100 individual medley (1:46.33), 10th in the 100 back stroke (1:41:16), 10th in the 50 free (36.67) and eighth in the 200 IM (3:41:05).

Parker Pearson finished 11th in the girls 7-8 100 free (49.04). She also led Cortez in the 25 back, placing sixth in 23.97 while Brecklyn Berdzar placed eighth (24.22), Jozie White finished 10th (25.22) and Sadie McCabe placed 19th (29.68). In the 25 free, Pearson finished 12th (21.75) White crossed 17th (23.27) and McCabe finished 20th (25.75).

Noah McCabe finished third in the 7-8 boys 50 free in 43.09, tied for second in the 25 back (22.52), placed second in the 25 free (18.13) and finished sixth in the 100 free (1:46.54).

Miles Anderson, competing in the boys 13-14 division, placed 16th in the 200 IM (3:05:04) and 16th in the 100 free (1:07.45).

In the 15-18 boys 100 free, Braden Schmittel of the Durango Swim Club finished 13th in 59.45 while Kason Decker finished 20th (1:00.97). Decker also swam in the 200 IM and finished sixth for Cortez in 2:39.57.

In the 11-12 boys 100 free, Rhett Brown placed 18th in 1:19.91 and Connor Gallien finished 20th in 1:24.62.

Sofia Higgins finished third in the 6U girls 25 back in 34.04 and fifth in the 25 free in 33.75.

Pearson, Hardy Decker, Noah McCabe and Sadie McCabe, meanwhile, won the mixed 8-and-under 100 freestyle relay in 1:38.73.

Colorado Swimming Inc. put on the event with help from the Water Dragons, and provided medals to the top swimmers.

Complete results weren’t available at press time.