By Daniel Mohrmann
The Hornet Invite at Pueblo County is typically a big measuring stick in the Class 3A girls swimming landscape.
The Manitou Springs swim team has seen gradual development through this season and is sitting in a much better spot than it was a year ago. That’s not just a feeling, but more of an established fact now that the Mustangs can point to the Hornet Invite results. The team finished fourth out of 13 scoring teams, and that was a big boost as the girls prepare to turn their attention to the league meet and the state meet.
“The girls did really well,” Theron Heim said. “We held up for being a fairly small team. It was a really great week for us.”
It was a great weekend for Heim individually. She finished third in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1 minute, 6.47 seconds. She also finished fourth in the 200 freestyle to notch the best individual performance by any Manitou swimmer at the meet.
The entire team performed at a level that indicates the Mustangs have become a solid team that’s ready to compete on big stages.
“We had a team meeting about it,” coach Whitney Nuci said. “Moving forward, we need to be keeping our eye on leagues and state and trying to get more state qualifiers if possible. Every meet from here on out is a pivotal meet to show us what can happen at leagues.”
Sophia Hyman put together some good freestyle swims, taking seventh in both the 50 and 100. Grace McCumber finished ninth in the 100 at just two seconds behind Hyman.
Summer Tenpas also had a good weekend; she took second in the 100 butterfly and 10th in the 100 breaststroke. Selah Combs added a fifth-place finish in the 200 individual medley.
“Everyone is really focused and honed in on their goals,” Heim said. “We’re ready to go fast and crush every single goal we have ahead of us.”
The Mustangs are looking more like the competitive team it had become several years ago instead of the team that, although having standout swimmers, wasn’t making many ripples at the state tournament. What the team has done this year can serve as a foundation to build back to that high-level performance seen not so long ago.
“It comes down to participation within the sport,” Nuci said. “It’s a sport that’s not talked about a lot so that is our downfall. Our ultimate goal is to get back to being that highly competitive team that other schools are talking about.”