Durango Swim Club one-ups the Olympic trials

The Olympic swimming trials don’t have much on the Durango Swim Club.

Over the weekend of June 15-17, the club hit pools in both Grand Junction and Ouray, inviting its Grand Junction swimmers to paddle through eight to 10 events over three days, including three to four events in the morning preliminaries and three to four events again at night in the finals.

When the Olympic trials began a week later, America’s best swam – at most – just five events over seven days with a maximum of two events per session and four swims in one day.

So who needs Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte when you’ve got Casey Hamilton and Berr Kilgo, two of Durango’s 10 Grand Junction swimmers whom a Durango Swim Club news release called the standout swimmers.

Hamilton, 11, swam nine events, seven of them twice. He won the 100 backstroke, 50 backstroke, 400 freestyle and 200 backstroke.

“Casey can really turn on that speed when he needs to, and he loves to race,” head coach Suzanne Schieltz said in the news release.

Kilgo, 13, posted personal best times in the 100 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, but his best race was the 400 free, the news release said.

In the race preliminaries, Kilgo broke his personal record time by 10 seconds, but in the finals he dropped 11 more seconds to finish in 5 minutes, 47.7 seconds.

“I knew the pace I had to hold, so I did that,” Kilgo said.

The Durango Swim Club also posted good times in Grand Junction from:

Haley Benjamin, 13, took second in the 200 freestyle, third in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 100 butterfly, swimming personal best times in all 16 events she swam.

Steevie Delio, 11, had personal bests in the 100 backstroke, 400 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Joci Earl, 12, had personal bests in all of her events, including dropping 16 seconds in the 100 breaststroke and eight seconds in the 50 backstroke.

Ben Miller, 14, placed fifth by dropping 17 seconds off of his best time in the 100 butterfly and placed seventh by dropping 18 seconds in the 200 backstroke.

Jesse Rubenstein, 16, placed seventh in the 1,500 freestyle, sixth in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 400 freestyle.

The Ouray meet, designed more for beginning swimmers and held at the town’s hot springs, displayed some up-and-coming talent, the release said:

Nick Austin, 9, just started swimming this summer and swam in his first meet in Ouray and won one of his heats.

Edie Erwin, 6, and Jordan Meininger, 5, got to compete in another meet as the club’s newest and youngest swimmers.

Grant Pierce, 12, placed second in the 50 breaststroke, and fourth in both the 50 butterfly and 50 freestyle.

Eliza Rossi, 9, placed first in the 50 breaststroke and 100 individual medley and second in the 50 backstroke and 50 freestyle,

Mina Willimen, 10, dropped eight seconds off her personal best in the 50 freestyle and 20 seconds off her best in the 100 individual medley.

The Durango Swim Club will compete throughout July, including the Western Slope Championships on July 21-23 in Grand Junction.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com