The Montrose Community Recreation Center lap pool has become a comfortable space for the Montrose High School girls swim team. That was apparent during preliminaries of the MHS Girls Swim and Dive Invite on Friday.
Lady Indians swimmer senior Madeline Chandler said on Friday that going to the rec center for the meet was pleasant because entering a familiar site made it not as difficult to prepare.
“It’s really nice because we are already used to it,” Madeline said. “When you get here, it’s easier to get into your zone and you know what you are going to do. You know all your stroke counts and you are just familiar with what is going all around you.”
Having that experience proved useful Friday as she qualified for the second day of competition by finishing in second place during the 200-yard medley relay alongside sophomore Gabrielle Chandler, junior Angie Alcaraz and sophomore Emma Story. She was also second in the 400-yard freestyle relay with teammates Gabrielle, Alcaraz and freshman Starr Borders.
In addition, Madeline also qualified by being first in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke.
The Montrose team had nine different additional events, in which at least one swimmer qualified by being in the top 16 of a given competition. The Lady Indians, who were back on Saturday, included Borders and junior Taylor Ullmann in the 200-yard freestyle. Borders finished sixth while Ullmann was 10th on Friday.
Gabrielle ended up in third place in the 100-yard freestyle. She also finished in fifth place in the 100-yard backstroke.
Posting those solid results were encouraging for the sophomore going into day two of the event.
“I just want to stay strong on varsity and keep on getting faster,” Gabrielle said.
Her teammates Ullmann and Alcaraz were ninth and 10th, respectively, in the 100-yard butterfly. Ullmann also alongside teammates sophomore Natalee Luis, Story and Borders wound up in fourth in the 200-yard freestyle. Finally, Luis took first in the 50-yard freestyle.
After seeing the results from the prelims, head coach Ellen Erickson said she believed her team improved across the board.
“All of them did really well,” Erickson said. “Some of them took off about five to 10 seconds on some events, others are within two seconds of state. We also have a couple of relays close to state, which is great.”
Being at the rec center where the Indians practice also didn’t hurt. She said competing in their own pool is like having an extra edge similar to other pools.
“It’s nice. They are more relaxed,” Erickson said. “They know the pool and it’s like any home (advantage).”
The other teams away from their pool who were at the two-day invite were Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Delta, Moffat County Gunnison, Montezuma-Cortez and Aspen.
Madeline said on Friday with the team’s last match of the year ending, she hoped to continue to swim hard.
“I’m just looking to finish better in all of my events,” Madeline said.
Look for a full recap of Saturday’s races in Tuesday’s print edition.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ education/sports reporter. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.