Haley Benjamin lights up Phoenix swimming meet

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 7:47 PM
The Durango Swim Club swam at a beautiful venue in Phoenix to end February.

Fifteen Durango Swim Club members competed at the Phoenix Winter Invitational amongst more than 700 swimmers.

The four-day meet began with a bang for DSC, as Haley Benjamin, a University of Houston commit, broke her previous record in the 1,650-yard freestyle en route to a landslide victory. Benjamin finished in 16 minutes, 38 seconds in the distance event to break her previous club record by five seconds. She beat all of her competitors by an entire lap.

Benjamin’s weekend was just heating up, as she lined up next to 2012 Olympic gold medalist Breeja Larson in the 200-yard individual medley. Benjamin shattered her team record with a time of 2:07.4, as she finished third in the race.

Benjamin also went on to break the team record in the 500-yard freestyle, as she touched the wall in 4:50.7 to take first place. Benjamin was named the high point winner for the 15-and-over girls swimmers by scoring the most points at the meet with 136. She qualified in the top 10 of all of her races except the 100-yard backstroke.

Emmett Stottlemyer also had a big showing in the 1,650, as he finished in 17:19 to drop nearly a full minute off his previous best time.

Torey Duran finished seventh in the 13-14 age division in the 1,650, as she finished in 18:38. Quinn Schmidt was 14th in the 15-and-over girls division in 18:46. Erin Knight swam the mile in under 20 minutes for the first time in her career and finished 13th in the 13-14 division in 19:53 to earn a senior state qualifying time.

Another team record was set in the 50-yard freestyle, as Violet Witchel took down Benjamin’s previous mark of 25.17 by touching in 25.15. The Vassar College commit placed 10th with that time.

DSC head coach Alex Martinek also noted the huge improvements throughout the weekend from several more team swimmers: Annissa Allred, Daniel Chang, Chloe Cook, Torey Duran, Erin Knight, Angela McManus, McKenzie Rion and Denny Woods.

The team will compete at the same Phoenix venue at the end of March for the final championship meet before spring break.

“We can look at the results from that meet and try to fine tune the swims in this last month,” Martinek said. “For some, that may just be more fitness, and for others it may be technical.”