ELKO – The leaves have changed color and fallen, the temperatures have lowered – can only mean one thing for the local athletes who live in the water.
The time has come for the Nevada State Swimming Championships, which will take place Thursday through Sunday at the Carson Aquatic Facility in Carson City.
The Elko Anacondas are sending 15 swimmers to the meet, a number head coach Patty Fisk said “might be a little lower than usual.”
Another number Fisk said is less than when the state meet is hosted in Las Vegas will be the total athletes who will compete at state this year.
“There will probably be between 700 and 800 kids at the meet,” she said. “Vegas has a lot more people and they don’t always travel when state is in the North.”
For the Elko team, five Anacondas will make their first swims in the state competition: Giselle Regalado, Reese Smith, Josephina Smith, Laszlo Demick and Mackenzie Stevenson.
While a third of the team is comprised of newbies, one swimmer has plenty of experience in the water during state meets.
“I think this is probably John’s (Watson) ninth time to go to state,” Fisk said. “He has made it every time since he was 8.”
Fisk has made numerous trips to state meets, taking over as head coach in 2003 and fielding a team in the event every year since.
“My daughter qualified in 1998 and I started helping the team in 1999, so I have made more trips to state than just since taking over as coach,” she said.
Fisk complimented the facility in Carson City.
“It’s a really nice pool. Their pool is as wide as ours is long (25 meters), and it is 50 meters long,” she said. “They will have eight competition lanes and probably 14 more lanes to warm up and cool down in.”
For the swimmers 11 years and older, the competition will consist of a preliminary round and a final.
The athletes 10 and younger will only compete in a timed final.
Events for ages 11 through 14 will bring back 16 swimmers to the final, while the field for the final for ages 15 and older will consist of 24 swimmers.
Action of the 2017 Nevada State Swimming Championships will begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Carson City, Fisk saying the first day will include the 400-meter individual medley and the 1650-meter “swimmer’s mile.”
The Anacondas will compete in the four-day event from Thursday through Sunday.
Best of luck to the local swimmers in the big meet.