Panther swimmers back in action

Panthers freshman Bailey Duran takes a breath while swimming the 500-yard freestyle in Aspen.  Duran won two individual events for the Panthers over the weekend. Enlargephoto

Photo courtesy of Caisey Duran

Panthers freshman Bailey Duran takes a breath while swimming the 500-yard freestyle in Aspen. Duran won two individual events for the Panthers over the weekend.

Battling high-elevation pools and tough opponents, the Montezuma-Cortez High School swim team began their post-Christmas season with mixed results.

Panthers finish third in Aspen

Opening last week’s competition in Aspen on Jan. 10, the Panthers swam their way to a third place finish in the four team Aspen Invitational.

Leading the way for the Panthers at the high-altitude Aspen pool was freshman Bailey Duran, who finished first in the 500-yard freestyle (6:26.29) and second in the 200-yard individual medley (2:45.11).

Also swimming well for the Panthers was junior Elana Cope, who finished second in the 100-yard butterfly (1:25.40) and third in the 200-yard freestyle (2:29.96).

Other Panthers swimmers recording top-three finishes included Madison VanBibber (100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke), Amanda Haukeness (100-yard breaststroke) and Selena LaPaz (100-yard butterfly).

The Panthers 400-freestyle relay team composed of Duran, Cope, VanBibber and Kayla Hageman also recorded a first place finish (4:33.39).

Panthers finish fourth in Glenwood

Swimming in Glenwood Springs on Jan. 11, the Panthers finished fourth in the six team meet behind Durango, Glenwood Springs and Montrose.

Again leading the way for the Panthers, Duran finished first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:41.61) and second in the 500-yard freestyle (6:11.88).

Duran’s performance in the 500-yard freestyle was especially impressive as she held off Durango’s Eli Earl during a back-and-forth final 25-yards.

Other top finishers for the Panthers included Cope, who finished fourth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:25.07) and Van Bibber, who finished fifth in the 50-yard freestyle (27.13).

With no meets scheduled for the upcoming week, the Panthers will continue practicing hard in anticipation of the Durango Invitational (Jan. 24) and the Cortez Invitational (Jan. 25).