Times Staff Writer
Qualifying time. First place. Second place. Third place.
They’re words one may here when talking or reading about the Gunnison Stingrays swim program — and words head coach Tami Maciejko hopes to continue to hear, as 15 new swimmers join the Gunnison Stingrays this season.
Russell Meeuwsen and Ty Williams are the youngest to join at ages 5 and 6, respectively. While Meeuwsen and Williams are new to the Stingrays, that hasn’t stopped them from asserting their dominance thus far. Both swimmers finished in the top three in the three events in which each competed this past weekend at the Gunnison Invitational.
With so many new kids joining the Stingrays this summer, Maciejko aims “to make sure they have all four strokes down.” That means plenty of stroke development for the younger swimmers in practice.
Additionally, however, Maciejko has set out a lofty goal for Gunnison High School (GHS) swimmers on the team.
Molly Strickland, Morgan Dominguez and Ashlyn Harris had a strong season for GHS last year and now will be tasked with helping Maciejko achieve her goal of taking all three to the Long Course Junior Olympics.
Assistant coaches Randi Yarnell and Akemi King may have played a big part in the dominance the Stingrays showed in their Gunnison Invitational meet this past weekend. During the month of May, Maciejko was gone for two weeks. As a result, Yarnell and King ran practices.
“We did good for the first meet,” said Maciejko. “I thought we were going to have more disqualification than we got.”
The minimal number of disqualifications and strong coaching from the assistants wasn't the only highlight from the Gunnison Invitational. Nearly every Stingray that competed dropped times in their respective events, while also notching numerous top-three finishes.
The swimmer of the meet was Romie Uhrig, who dropped times in in every event in which she competed in. Uhrig’s showing was “very impressive in this meet,” Macijeko noted.
The Stingrays will be back in the pool Saturday, June 9. Swimmers 13 and older will travel to Albuquerque, while those 12 and younger will travel to Salida.
(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)