The Durango Demons splashed right into the finals of the District Swimming Championships on Friday night at the Fort Lewis College pool.
As the host school for the 11-team district event, the Demons qualified scores of swimmers for today's championship and consolation finals.
Action resumes today with diving prelims in the morning (10 a.m.) and the swim finals at 2 p.m. at Fort Lewis.
With the stands packed with parents and fans and fellow swimmers, the Demons set a torrid pace on the first day of the two-day competition.
"The girls absolutely tore the pool up," Durango co-head coach Tom Coxwell said. "Like one of the other coaches told me, 'Your girls are on fire.'"
Coxwell said he was pleased with the fast start but said there is still work to be done.
Today's finals will feature the top six swimmers from qualifying in the championship round. Qualifiers 7-12 will swim in the consolation round. Points are awarded from places 12 through 1, with today's results determining the district champion.
The Demons qualified both of their medley relay teams for the finals. The Durango A team qualified first, with the B team qualifying third.
In the 200 freestyle relay, again the Demons advanced two teams to today's rounds. The Durango A team qualified No. 2 right behind Glenwood Springs, with the Durango B team qualifying No. 3.
And in the 400 free relay, the Demons qualified No. 3 and No. 5.
Sheyanne Hunsinger of the Demons was the top qualifier in the 500 freestyle Friday. Three teammates also qualified for the finals, including Katie Ambert (sixth), Megan Piccoli (eighth) and Danielle Erickson 12th.
Schools can only enter four swimmers. And all four Demons moved up in the 500 freestyle. The same is true in the 200 free, Coxwell said. The Demons advanced with preliminary finishes of second, fourth, sixth and ninth. Hunsinger led the way as the No. 2 qualifier.
In the 200 individual medley, the Demons also advanced four swimmers. Melissa Merryman qualified No. 2.
Megan Deaver qualified No. 4.
In the 50 freestyle, Hannah Mink qualified No. 2 with Erika Pitcher at No. 3. Anne Marie Pettinato qualified No. 7, and Carly Merriman qualified No. 8.
Pitcher led the Durango qualifiers in the 100 butterfly. She was No. 2 in the prelims.
In the 100 freestyle, Mink advanced as the No. 2 qualifier.
Durango's Melissa Merryman led all the 100 backstroke qualifiers. Kendal Kniffin qualified No. 3. Piccoli qualified No. 6.
McCarthy (No. 5) and Carly Merryman (No. 8) advanced in the 100 breaststroke.
"I was very pleased with the swimmers," Coxwell said. "The support they gave each other was outstanding."
Teams participating in the meet include Montezuma-Cortez, Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, Fruita Monument, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Moffat County (Craig), Aspen and Durango.
The Demons have already qualified six swimmers to the State Championships with the possibility of more qualifying today.