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Durango girls swimming takes fifth at state championships

Relay team delivers stellar swims to clinch fifth place

The Durango High School girls swim and dive team made the most of its final appearance in the Class 3A state meet in Thornton on Saturday.

The Demons had their highest finish ever as a team at the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 3A Swimming and Diving State Championships at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center. The Demons, who are moving to Class 4A next season, finished fifth as a team with 204 points.

Evergreen won its second consecutive 3A title with 372.5 points, Aspen was second with 214, Salida was third with 209 and Kent Denver was fourth with 208.

Durango head coach Tom Joyner said multiple swimmers stepped up in their respective events, and added that some swimmers had faster times than what he expected.

“I thought we had a great day, and we really showed up in the finals,” said DHS head coach Tom Joyner. “We had good performances from just about everybody. There were some girls that we had hoped to have faster swims, but still did well, and also some girls that surprised us with really fast swims. The relays were so good today, and helped us hold onto fifth. It was an amazing team performance with a really strong effort across the board.”

McKenzie Rion got the team off to a strong start once again, as she took 10th in the 200-yard freestyle final in 2 minutes, 1.67 seconds. Sophomore Quinn Schmidt broke her own record in the 200-individual medley, as she finished in fourth with a time of 2:13.88. It was the highest finish for DHS in the finals.

“Quinn had a great swim, and McKenzie was big as well,” Joyner said. “They both set the tone early for us, and it kept us going in the right direction.”

Senior Mina Willemin swam well in the 50-freestlye in 25.36 seconds, which put her in sixth-place. It was slightly faster than her preliminary time of 26.56.

“Mina had some good swims for us today,” Joyner said. “She had a better time in the 50-free than she did in the prelims, but she dropped a bit. She didn’t let it get to her, and she was super big for us as in the relays.”

Rachel Thilow saw a 26.30 in the B final, which was good for 14th. Thilow also took 19th in the B final of the 100-butterfly in 1:06.64. Saylor Stottlemeyer took 20th in the 100-backstroke in 1:06.47.

In the long-distance event, the 500-free, it was Rion who stepped up again, as she took ninth in 5:32.53. Quinn Schmidt won the B final in 5:32.46.

Heading into the final event of the afternoon, the 400-freestyle relay, DHS had to have one final strong swim to secure fifth, and the relay teams delivered.

Joyner put the same four girls together for the 200 and 400-freestyle relays, as Rion, Angela McManus, Thilow and Willemin all had strong individual splits. In the 200, Durango took sixth, as the Demons swam it in 1:44.62. In the 400-frestyle relay, the same relay team took fifth in 3:48.17. Willemin was the anchor, and swam a 54.2 split, which was her fastest split ever for DHS.

It was another strong afternoon for the Demons on the dive board, as three divers made the finals. Sophomore Alexis Behn scored a 391.10 in the finals to finish in seventh. Rachel Alexander from Discovery Canyon repeated as diving champion with a 463.65. Olivia Mummery also reached the finals for DHS as she took 13th with a score of 339.95. Elsie Cady was the final Demon to reach the dive finals, and she took 17th with a score of 327.55.

“Everyone knew that it was the culmination of their season, and they wanted to perform,” Joyner said. “The seniors were awesome, everyone was, really. The divers looked strong, our two relays were spectacular, and the four ladies helped us take fifth. For us to have as much depth as we have had, and to have a really strong finish like this, I couldn’t be more proud.”


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