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Class 5A swimming notebook: Gregoire eager for challenge
FORT COLLINS • Reigning 100-yard freestyle champion and state-record holder Jenna Gregoire of Rampart qualified third for Saturday’s final at the Class 5A state swimming championships.
Gregoire, who also will race in the 50 free final, finished in 51.69 seconds.
Cherry Creek’s Jordan Mattern was first in Friday’s prelims in 50.79, followed by Smoky Hill’s Caroline Piehl.
“My time is not very good,” Gregoire said. “But I swim against all these girls every weekend in club. I’ve grown up racing them. It’ll be quite a battle I think. … Should be fun.”
Gregoire, who sounded congested, said she was feeling a little under the weather.
“I don’t feel that good today,” she said. “I don’t know what it is. It’s really cold in here. Tomorrow I’m going to try to stay warmer and hopefully I swim a little better.”
A record for the Rams
Rampart’s 200 medley relay team set a school record on the way to qualifying for the final.
Gregoire, Kyrene Clarke, Carli Snyder and Ashley Fuchs finished in 1:49.22, improving on the 1:50.35 set at state in 2007.
“That 200 medley relay was a great way to start off the meet,” Gregoire said. “We never thought we would ever break that record. But we’re seeded third behind the two biggest powerhouses — Cherry Creek and Regis — so we’re really looking forward to that. I think we can go even faster tomorrow.”
Cherry Creek qualified first in 1:44.09, with Regis coming in at 1:48.59.
Talk of the town
Athletes and coaches couldn’t say enough about Regis freshman Missy Franklin, who set state records in the 50 free and 100 backstroke.
Franklin finished the 50 free in 22.70, besting the mark of 23.06 set in 1994. Gregoire, who called Franklin “Olympic caliber” and “a phenom,” qualified second in 24.08.
“Just to be second seed to her is an honor,” Gregoire said. “And hopefully I can draft off her tomorrow and get a good time.”
Franklin finished the 100 back in 53.43, topping the 54.77 set last year.
Air Academy coach Scott Newell could only shake his head in awe.
“She’s absolutely world-class,” he said.
Doherty coach Nicole Hart echoed those sentiments.
“It’s exciting to see her swim,” she said, “just because we’re seeing someone that’s probably going to be on TV and have national recognition.”