It makes you try that much harder. – Summer Tenpas
By Daniel Mohrmann
The Manitou Springs girls swim team took advantage of its last chance to compete against a slate of big schools before diving into the postseason.
The Mustangs finished seventh out of 18 teams at the Fountain-Fort Carson Invite. They finished ahead of several high-level teams, including Pueblo County, Pueblo West, St. Mary’s and even host Fountain-Fort Carson. The strong finish was powered by several performances, including a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay and a fourth-place finish in the 200 medley relay.
The competition could be crucial for the Mustangs as they look to get top performances at leagues and at the state meet, about two weeks away.
“It helps because the pool is so different and it will help us get a feel for what leagues and state will be like,” Summer Tenpas says. “The atmosphere makes it so much more competitive and it makes you try that much harder.”
Tenpas put together some good individual performances, which also played a role in Manitou’s top-10 finish in the team standings. She finished seventh in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1 minute, 6.18 seconds. Her 1:10.25 in the 100 backstroke wasn’t good enough for a top-10 finish, but she did end up 15th, which added team points.
But the important part of all this is the fact that she’s competing against swimmers from Legend, Discovery Canyon, Doherty and others.
Although a 15th-place finish may not be ideal, the level of competition was extremely high and will help the swimmers when preparing for the postseason.
“It’s exciting, and we hope it gives us a chance at leagues just because of how we’ve been ending up,” Tenpas says. “It shows that we’re improving. We can’t take these two or three weeks easy and we have to keep pushing harder than what we’ve been doing.”
Other swimmers had solid weekends: Selah Combs finished 10th in the 50 freestyle and seventh in the 100 freestyle, while Sophia Hyman finished eighth in the 200 individual medley.
The Mustangs will head to the league meet in Fountain on Feb. 3 and then go to state a week later.