Swimmers gear up for state
For a swimmer like Gila Ridge's Weston Lines who already knew he was qualified for the state meet, the Colorado River Championship was just icing on the cake.
The icing was so sweet, he even felt comfortable taking some risks in the water.
Lines raced in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard freestyle, which take place back-to-back.
“I'm very grateful and happy for the way I performed today,” he said after the Colorado River Championship. “It's a risk because you're really tired after your first one, but I'd say that the way I swam today I pulled it off pretty well.”
Lines swam a time of 52.5 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly, which was a personal best, not to mention breaking the Yuma regional record. Immediately following that, he swam a 49.1 100-yard freestyle, only four tenths of a second slower than his personal best of 48.7.
Lines has his eyes on the state meet coming up this weekend and knows his discipline will help him do what he needs to prepare for the meet.
“Stay on the good diet,” he said. “My parents have got me strict following that. I'm going to be practicing every single day and breaking down technique.”
Much like athletes don't want to change too much about a baseball swing or a jump shot mid-season, a swimmer must be careful about what he changes in his swim stroke.
“It's really important not to change your stroke too dramatically,” he said “With the time I have right now, you're supposed to swim by your instinct, what feels good to you, what comes natural. You're only supposed to tweak your technique when you have a longer time span in between.”
After noticing how well the Olympic swimmers execute their turns and kicks off the wall, that's something that Lines will be focusing on.
“All those guys are doing at least four to eight kicks off the wall each turn,” he said. “So when I come to practice every day next week I'm going to be breaking down my turns.”
The other Hawk star headed to state is Emily Gough. Gough swam a 1:57 in the 200 freestyle and missed the automatic state qualifying time by three-tenths of a second, so she's confident she'll get in to that race.
After a great meet, Gough said it's all about being in a good place mentally.
“I can feel it as soon as get in the water whether it's going to be a good race or not,” she said. “It's just all about how you think about it when you're outside. You have to have a good mental state and everything.”
Since each swimmer is allowed to compete in only two events, Gough said she might have to make some tough decisions.
“I swam leadoff in my 4x100,” she said. “So I might have to choose between the 500 and the 100.”
Not a bad problem to have.
For Cibola, George Gould and Jesse Kaba are leading the charge for the Raiders.
Gould dropped two seconds off his previous time in the 500 freestyle at the Colorado River meet and was jubilant afterward.
“That was all me right there,” he said, barely able to breathe. “That was just me putting everything I had into it. I'm just hoping and praying I can make it to state — even if it's 32nd, I don't care. Then I will have people to race at state and I think I can go even faster.”
Gould barely missed the cut in the 200 freestyle and was in good position for the 500. With some other swimmers racing in Phoenix that same day, there was a chance he might get bumped.
“Let's hope they all have a bad day or something,” he said. “Because I really want to go.”
Something went right for Gould because he's competing in both the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard relay.
Kaba is ranked No. 20 in the 200-yard individual medley and No. 9 in the 100-yard breast stroke.
For a complete list of local competitors, see agate below.