Durango Swim Club posts massive improvement in Grand Junction

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 8:10 PM

The Durango Swim Club continually improvement is evident in its results.

A year ago, DSC attended a four-day meet in Grand Junction and came home with a 12th-place finish after compiling 355.5 points. When the team hit the same meet this year, it improved to seventh and nearly doubled its point total with 694.5 points this time around.

Flatiron Aquatic Club, based in Boulder, and Fort Collins Area Swim Team dominated the meet. Flatiron won with 5,032 points, while Fort Collins was second with 3,959.5 points. Mission Aurora Colorado Swimming was third with 1,782.5 points.

“The meet was outstanding. I think we have some of the fittest kids at the meet, which is evident when we start to win all our races in the back half,” DSC head coach Alex Martinek said in an email to The Durango Herald. “We saw some great success on the first day and rode that success wave all the way through the end. It’s always important at a long meet like that to keep the positive energy up and shut down any negative talk. You’re going to get tired, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still swim fast the last day.”

Durango’s Haley Benjamin, 17, won the 400-meter freestyle in a time of 4 minutes, 16.59 seconds. According to Martinek, if adjusted for altitude, Benjamin’s time would have been the 11th fastest 400 time in the country this year, and a time that would have won junior nationals last August.

Benjamin, who will swim at the University of Houston, also won the 100 freestyle in 58.94 seconds, the 200 freestyle in 2:04.38, which was a full eight seconds faster than second place, the 1,500 freestyle in 16:59, and the 200 and 400 individual medleys. She posted a time of 2:21.38 in the 200 IM and touched the wall in 4:53.82 in the 400 IM, which if adjusted for altitude would have been the eighth fastest time in the nation for the 18-and-under division.

Benjamin’s times in the 400 and 1,500 freestyle, and the 400 IM would have qualified her for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Torey Duran and Quinn Schmidt – both 15 years old – finished first and second, respectively, in the 400 freestyle “B” final. Duran finished in 4:43.97 and Schmidt touched in 4:44.01, which were both qualifying times for the Senior Sectionals.

“The highlight for me, honestly, was watching Quinn and Torey battle it out in the 400 free,” Martinek said. “You could tell both were pinned at the 200 mark but they were not going to give up. Seeing that kind of pure racing is what makes this sport so enjoyable.”

Schmidt also qualified for Senior Sectionals in the 400 IM, and Alex Burns, 12, shaved a full minute off his 400 freestyle time to achieve a qualifying time of 5:43.2 for the state meet.

In the 15-and-under boys division, Warren Becher set a new DSC record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:14.79. The previous record of 1:16.19 was set by Robert Stafford in 2007.

Later at the meet, Becher broke another of Stafford’s records, this time in the 200 breaststroke. Becher touched the wall in 2:49.83, slipping by Stafford’s time of 2:49.92.

Aileen McManus, 9, posted the third fasted time in club history in the 100 breaststroke for the 10-and-under division with a time of 1:49.04.

Also in the 10-and-under division, Merin Schmidt and Jayden Craig qualified for the state meet in the 200 IM. Merin Schmidt finished in 3:33.61 while Craig finished in 3:34.17.

McKenzie Rion, 14, qualified for state in the 1,500 freestyle with a time of 20:27.27, which placed her third in the 13-14-year-old division.