M-CHS girls swim team gets first win of season

VanBibber, Duran post strong wins

Panthers junior Elana Cope takes a quick breath while swimming the 200-yard Freestyle. Enlargephoto

Courtesy Photo/Emily HARRIS

Panthers junior Elana Cope takes a quick breath while swimming the 200-yard Freestyle.

The Montezuma-Cortez girls swim team earned their first overall victory of the season Friday at the Delta Invitational.

“We has some great individual performances and it was nice to pick up a win,” said coach Ian MacLaren. “The ability to swim to the best of the abilities was vital in the victory.”

Cortez competed against Grand Junction Central, Moffat County, and Delta.

The MCHS Panthers won the meet with 347 points. Moffat County finished second with 326 points.

Freshman Bailey Duran and junior Madison VanBibber both won two individual events.

Duran finished first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:41.12) and the 500-yard freestyle (6:21.31).

VanBibber finished first in the 50-yard freestyle (27.03) and the 100-yard freestyle (59.76).

MacLaren was proud of the effort away from home.

“VanBibber swam a great meet and is on her way to become an elite swimmer,” he said. “And Duran is swimming extremely well. She is only a freshman but has the poise of an upperclassman”

Junior Elana Cope also recorded a top finish in an individual event, swimming to victory in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:18.21.

“Elana is learning how to win races because her mental toughness has greatly improved,” MacLaren said.

Cortez’s Duran, VanBibber, Haley Nadone, and Kayla Hageman beat out the competition in the 200-yard freestyle relay, finishing first with a time of 1:58.41.

Duran, VanBibber, Cope, and Hageman again anchored the overall win with a first place showing in the 400-yard freestyle relay (4:22.08).

The team showed an edge that makes them dangerous, MacLaren said.

“Tifiny Mills, Amanda Haukeness, Sage Kramer and Selena LaPaz also showed outstanding grit.”

Of course, there is always room for improvement.

“Eliminating false starts will be critical as we move forward,” MacLaren said.

On Saturday, the Lady Panthers met tougher teams at the Southwest Conference Relay Meet in Grand Junction. Cortez competed against 13 schools, and was eighth overall. Montrose High School won the meet.

The Panthers, 1-3 in the West Slope League, travel to Montrose for the Montrose Invitational on Dec. 20-21.

jmimiaga@cortezjournal.com