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Durango Swim Club captures league title

Durango beats runner-up by more than 1,000 points
The Durango Swim Club celebrates after winning the Western Slope League title in Grand Junction. Back row, from left: Johan Souders (13) and Liam Paxton-Horn (14). Third row: coach Sarah Ryba, Erin Knight (17), Nora Miller (13), Victoria Duran (19), Quincy Ellis (13), Cole LeRoux (15), Elin Mischler (15), Cassidy Hill (16), Denny Woods (14), Jake Sandau (14), Wyatt Hawley (14), Luke Swenk (15) and coach Brandon Walker Second row: McKenzie Rion (18), Riley Simplot (11), Linzie Bidart (12), Ivy Nakamoto (9), Elise Nakamoto (11), Ava McKown (11), Grant Wright (13), Cecil Scott (10), Grayson LeRoux (11), Cassidy Scott (14) and coach Selena LaPaz Front row: Olivia Becher (15), Raina Dixon (12), Bear Allport (11), Katie LeRoux (7), Brinley Duran (9), Henry Allport (9), Skye Souders (10) and Lauren Russell (10) Not pictured: Ben Mertes-Yeager (8), Vivian Mertes-Yeager (6) and Braden Schmittel (16). (Courtesy Durango Swim Club)

The Durango Swim Club competed at the Western Slope League Championships June 8-10 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Swimmers ages 6-19 from 14 teams competed, but Durango outscored its closest competitor by more than 1,000 points to win the league title.

Durango Swim Club placed first with 2,899.50 points, followed by the Sopris Swim Club (1,884.0), Avon Swim Club (1,768.50), Maverick Aquatics (1,726.50) and the Gunnison Stingrays in fifth (1,558.50).

“Honestly the whole team showed up and really performed well,” said the club’s head coach, Brandon Walker. “We had really encouraged the team to come to this specific meet with the goal of working together to try and win the league championship as a team. We had 34 swimmers come and compete, and every single one of them scored for the team. They all took on eight to nine individual events each and also participated in relays each day. It was a big load for each of them, and they all stepped up and worked hard for the team.”

Linzie Bidart, 12, won the high-point award for the Durango Swim Club at the Western Slope League championships recently in Grand Junction. (Courtesy Durango Swim Club)

Linzie Bidart, swimming in the 11-12 girls division, won seven events to win the high-point award for Durango. Bidart won the 50 butterfly (35.77 seconds), the 200 freestyle (2:33.25), the 100 breaststroke (1:41.12), the 50 breaststroke (47.80), the 100 free (1:09.84), the 200 individual medley (3:02.93) and the 50 free (31.98). Bardet also placed fourth in the 50 backstroke (40.30) and third in the 100 fly (1:29:74).

Two other swimmers from Durango also finished second in their divisions’ high-point contest. Ben Mertes-Yeager (8-and-under boys), Katie LeRoux (8-and-under girls) both had strong meets to take second.

Several other athletes from the Durango Swim Club scored more than 100 points over the weekend, including Linzie Bidart, Raina Dixon, Brinley Duran, Victoria Duran, Wyatt Hawley, McKenzie Rion, Jake Sandau, Cassidy Scott and Denny Woods.

“The team has performed well this entire season, and the coaching staff could not be prouder,” Walker said. “Swimming is a wonderful year-round sport that requires true grit, endurance, commitment and perseverance on the part of the athletes. Our athletes are seeing results because they are working at it for countless hours every month and have built tight peer relationships; so, in many ways winning this year’s West Slope League Championships was a celebration of all those hours of training as a team.”

The teams will now continue preparing for their end of season championship meets.

The 13-and-over swimmers will compete in the CSI 13-and-over Long Course State Meet at the VMAC pool in Thornton, July 22-24.

The 12-and-under swimmers will compete in the CSI 12-and-under Long Course State Meet at the Air Force Academy pool in Colorado Springs, July 29-31.

The 13-and-over swimmers will compete at Senior Arena Western Zones Meet at the Clovis Aquatics Complex in Clovis, California, July 26-30.

Qualifiers for the championship meets are: Erin Knight, Cassidy Scott, Elin Mischler, Rion, Victoria Duran, Hawley, Sandau, Woods, Olivia Becher, Cole LeRoux, Braden Schmittel, Luke Swenk, Linzie Bidart, Raina Dixon, Brinley Duran, Emmalyn Perez, Ben Mertes-Yeager, Cecil Scott, Elise Nakamoto, Ivy Nakamoto, Katie LeRoux, Brinley Duran, Raina Dixon, Riley Simplot and Ava McKown.

The teams are coached by Brandon Walker, Sarah Ryba, Callie Decker and Selena LaPaz.