GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The road to any state championship is long, but if you’re an Eagle County swimmer, then you have to drive to Glenwood Springs every day before the road even starts — and fund your own sport.
Three Eagle County athletes — Jack Cassidy, Luke Herron and Sebastian Joly — qualified for this weekend’s state swimming championships as part of the Glenwood Springs team.
No schools in Eagle County have a swim team.
“There is no such thing as a ‘home’ meet for these guys,” Cassidy said.
Every day after school, and sometimes before school, they drive to Glenwood Springs to train. After hours in the water and workouts that go as long as 10,000 yards, they drive back, eat, do homework and collapse. The next day they do it again.
It paid off. They all qualified for this weekend’s state championships in Thornton.
This will be Cassidy’s third trip to the state finals, and Joly’s second.
At last weekend’s regionals, Cassidy won the 500 freestyle and was second in the 200 individual medley. In that 500 freestyle, Cassidy led the entire race and won by almost five seconds over Carlos Matthews from Grand Junction.
Herron was fourth in the 50 freestyle and fifth in the 100 freestyle.
Herron and Cassidy were part of the 200 meter freestyle relay.
Joly was eighth in the 200 individual medley, seventh in the 100 backstroke and was on the 400 freestyle relay team
The Glenwood Springs High School boys swim team is completely self-funded; three of its seven members are from Eagle County.
Cassidy is an Eagle Valley junior. Joly and Herron attend Vail Christian.
Only two of Glenwood’s swimmers are from Glenwood. The team has no divers and not enough swimmers to compete in all the relays.
Still, Glenwood finished third in last week’s regionals, behind 5A Grand Junction and perennial swimming powerhouse Montrose.
And did we mention that they’re self-funded?
Team is self funded
The swimming program is completely self-funded after the Roaring Fork School District stripped it from the budget. Roaring Fork voters passed a property tax increase for schools, but none of that money found its way to the swimming program.
The athletes pay the tab for everything, something no other high school sport has to do.
“Raising money for the team has been really hard, but our communities have been pretty supportive,” Cassidy said. “We’ve had to raise all of our own funding to pay for travel, coach’s salary, everything.”