M-CHS relay team gets redemption

After DQ in previous meet, 200-yard medley team qualifies for state

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Sam Bagge competes at M-CHS’ home swim meet earlier this season. She, Jenna Barner, and Bailey and Caisey Duran qualified for state in the 200 medley relay on Saturday. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/The Journal

Sam Bagge competes at M-CHS’ home swim meet earlier this season. She, Jenna Barner, and Bailey and Caisey Duran qualified for state in the 200 medley relay on Saturday.

Sam Bagge, Jenna Barner, and Bailey and Caisey Duran swam the 200-yard medley relay fast enough to qualify for state at the Panthers’ home meet on December 3.

Unfortunately, they were disqualified for a non-simultaneous touch, erasing their achievement.

However, the quartet made things right last weekend at the Southwest Conference Relays in Grand Junction, finishing with a state-qualifying time of 2:05.74 to win the event.

“They turned around and the first event of the day took first place and knocked their state time out of the park,” said head coach Gayle Earley. “So that was good.”

Later, the group of four combined to swim a 1:50.25 in the 200-yard freestyle relay for another first-place finish.

Competing in the meet consisting solely of relays, Earley said her team’s focus was on getting their relay starts perfected.

And while the first-place finishes were M-CHS’ big highlights, Earley was also proud of her 400-yard medley team.

Taking 100 yards a piece, Bagge, Bailey Duran, Alexx Earley and Nanabah Sam completed the event in 5:00.33 to place sixth.

“That’s not a swim that they generally get in high school,” said Earley. “So that was really exciting for all of them to work on those IM turns.”

The Panthers also had fifth-place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle crescendo relay (Bagge, B. Duran, Sam, Maddy Ludington) and 200-yard breast relay (C. Duran, Earley, M. Ludington, Barner). And Earley, Barner, Ludington and Sam put together a 4:50.81 finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay to place 11th.

M-CHS will compete in the Montrose Invitational this weekend, although it will be hosted in Gunnison due to renovations taking place on Montrose’s pool.

And while it’s not another relay meet, the Panthers are looking forward to competing in events that are a bit out of the norm.

“This meet is really exciting because they get to swim college events,” said Earley. “It’s formatted that it alternates high school event, college event, high school event, and it gives the girls an opportunity to swim those college events and colleges can look at their times.”