Eagle County swimmers make waves at state finals
Jack Cassidy swam in championship finals in both his individual events, the 200 yard individual medley and the 500 yard freestyle.
The 200 yard medley relay and 400 yard freestyle relay swam in the finals.
200 yard medley relay took 13th with a time of 1:46.82.
Sebastian Joly (Junior - VCHS) backstroke
Jack Cassidy (Junior - EVHS) breaststroke
Zachary Baker (home school) butterfly
Luke Herron (Sophomore - VCHS) freestyle
200 yard Individual Medley
Jack Cassidy placed 8th with a personal best time of 2:00.39
50 yard Freestyle
Luke Herron 23.83 21st place
100 yard Freestyle
Luke Herron PR 52.80 27th place
500 yard Freestyle
Jack Cassidy 8th place with a time of 4:53.37
100 yard Backstroke
Sebastian Joly, 29th, 1:02.03
400 yard Freestyle Relay
16th place with a finals time of 3:35.01
The state meet was at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, Thornton
If you’re a high school swimmer from Eagle County, your journey to the state finals podium begins with a daily 70-mile round trip drive to Glenwood Springs.
Jack Cassidy, Sebastian Joly and Luke Herron do it every day to compete with the Glenwood Springs High School team, because no Eagle County high school has a swim team.
They’re three of Glenwood’s seven-man team that returned from the state meet with several podium finishes and placed 14th of three dozen teams.
“Not bad for our small, self-funded team,” Cassidy said.
A typical day is long. Cassidy gets up at 5:15 a.m. and goes to the Gypsum Rec Center and swims a workout that his coach sends him, or that he makes up himself — usually the latter. He’s harder on himself than most coaches would be. His average morning workout is 6,500 yards.
Joly and Herron usually have the same routine.
After their morning workout, they grab some breakfast and head for class at Eagle Valley High School or Vail Christian High School for Joly and Herron.
They do an entire day of school and then head to the pool in Glenwood Springs for another 7,500-yard workout.
They’re done around 7 p.m. and head home. They eat dinner around 8 or 9 p.m., do some homework and pass out.
You won’t be surprised to learn that they don’t get in much trouble.
“I don’t have the energy to do anything,” Cassidy said.
Summers are easier because school doesn’t cut into their swimming time.
“It’s a mentally challenging sport. When you step onto the blocks, it’s all on you. Your coaches and teammates can’t help you. You’re on your own. That’s what I like about it,” Cassidy said.
Self funded, self motivated
The team is completely self-funded after the Roaring Fork school district cut it from the budget. Team captain Cassidy not only had to lead the team but also the team’s fundraisers. They had to come up with $6,500 before they could start their season.
They pay the coach’s salary, hotels, meals, travel … everything.
“We run a lot of fundraisers, the seven of us guys,” Cassidy said.
The Rotary Club in Glenwood Springs helps them with fundraising. There’s a Turkey Trot around Thanksgiving. They host a swim meet. And they do the normal fundraisers.
Roaring Fork resident John Buxman got certified by the CHSAA and got his license to drive the bus.
Buxman ended up driving the bus the entire season and was the on-deck coach for most of the meets. Buxman’s son Stephan is a Glenwood sophomore and team member.
Raphael Joly, Sebastian’s older brother, was Glenwood’s other coach. He took the same road, competing for Glenwood. The season would not have happened were it not for Buxman, whose son Stefan is a GSHS sophomore and team member.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.