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By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

 

Class 4A boys swimming and diving meet held at the Air Force Academy

Blayze Jessen snagged two high placings on Saturday to top Mullen’s efforts at the Class 4A boys swimming and diving meet held at the Air Force Academy.

The junior earned a second place and a third place.  Jessen finished runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke in 59.64 seconds. Greeley Central’s Drake Manuello won the event in 57.42. And Jessen took third in the 200 IM, getting clocked in 1:53.87. Wheat Ridge’s Ryan Peterson was the winner in 1:53.01.

Elsewhere, the Mustangs’ Stephen Wickwire finished 16th in the 50 freestyle, getting timed in 23.12.  Mullen also had two relay teams score. The 200 freestyle team of William Chavez, senior Joseph Schwamm, Wickwire and Jessen finished ninth, first in consolations, in 1:31.77. The same four were 12th in the 200 medley, fourth in consolations, in 1:44.27. Teamwise, Mullen ended with 60 points for 16th place of 25 teams.  The start of the afternoon meet was delayed for a lengthy bit due to problems with the scoreboard.

CLASS 4A

BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING STATE MEET

At the Air Force Academy

Final team scores -- Cheyenne Mountain 337, Valor Christian 239, Thompson Valley 219, Golden 177, Windsor 141, Coronado 107, George Washington 106, Discovery Canyon 105, Pine Creek 101, Montrose 101, Silver Creek 87, Pueblo County 72, Estes Park 70, Air Academy 63, Loveland 61, Mullen 60, Evergreen 43, D’Evelyn 36, Wheat Ridge 34, Glenwood Springs 34, Greeley Central 32, Green Mountain 24, Mountain View 22, Thomas Jefferson 21, Longmont 11. 

 

Try Something New They Said - And Have Lots of Fun They Did!

They only wanted a few things. To try something different. Have no regrets when looking back as an adult. And fun, have lots of fun.

So when Noah Amen, Nick Locascio and Michael Phenicie decided to pass on their other sports and dive with the Mullen swimming team this spring, it was more than a whim. Along with Bobby Meagher, who swam for the Mustangs the past two seasons before opting to dive, the three were in search of a new challenge.  “Well, we typically play lacrosse and we just wanted to do a sport we had never tried before, so we decided to do diving,” Amen said. “We wanted to give it a shot. And it was fun. We really had a blast.”

Amen, Locascio and Phenicie typically ski and snowboard Keystone in the winter and were lured by employing the principles of doing flips and the like on the slopes to the diving board and the pool.  “The flips and stuff like tht were pretty transferable, but the hard part was learning the technique of how to enter the water, particularly the toes part,” Phenicie said. “You have to enter without a splash.”

Locascio, previously part of the track team, said, “Oh, yeah, we loved it, the most fun I’ve ever had. The falls are the hard part of skiing and boarding, and we were used to it. That feeling of learning something new and trying something bigger and harder ... it was fun.”

Mullen coach Susan Stone said she was delighted to have them on the team, particularly for a program that is climbing back in terms of numbers and success after a low point followed the 2011 state team championship.

Plus, her first-time divers qualified for the Centennial League ‘A’ meet.  “And they did great,” Stone said. “When they started, they didn’t know how to do anything in diving in league or that they had to do 11 dives.  “It was exciting because our team is so small. We have not had divers for two years.”

None of the three wanted to run into former classmates in the future and lament that they should have tried this sport or that sport. They wanted to actually do something about it.  Phenicie, also a scratch golfer who will attend Washington, said he “had played the same sport for, like, two or three years and I wanted to see what else was out there. We like to do different things. Growing up in Colorado is a luxury to have all of the opportunities, like biking, or hiking … it was fun.”  Headed to Montana State, where, like Phenicie, he will turn to intramurals, Amen said “we progressed a lot. We were really bad at the beginning, but we picked it up quickly.”  A junior, Locascio said he’ll be back next season for another go on the board. And he’ll look forward to it.

“It was a lot more formal than what we’ve done on the trampoline and snow,” he said. “You have to point your toes and on certain steps off the board pay very fine attention to detail. It was something new to us. It was hard to get over that learning curve. “And I had never really interacted with the swimmers. It actually was just a really fun environment with all of the team dinners and stuff like that, just a super welcoming environment.”

As the small Mullen team heads into Friday’s beginning of the Class 4A state meet at the Air Force Academy, junior Blaze Jensen is rated first in the 100-yard breaststroke and second in the 200 freestyle. A strong showing, Stone said, “would be huge for us.”  So was, she added, having additional divers who were out as much for a good time as they were for competition.  “Having them was good for team camaraderie,” Stone said. “They were a part of the whole program.”

 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist 

It seemed like one of those things, so Shamond Hamilton said, yeah, sure …

Little did he and others know at the time that he would follow through on it. And enjoy it.

Hamilton, a three-year starter at running back for Mullen, was casually asked the past fall about joining the Mustangs boys swimming and diving team for the spring season. Keep in mind there has been little crossover historically between football and swimming in the prep ranks, the Mustangs are in the always powerful Centennial League and Hamilton had never even dreamed about swimming competitively, let alone actually jumping in the pool with the best Colorado has to offer.

But there was something between Hamilton, Susan Stone, the boys swimming coach, and her husband, Steve, who assisted with the football team.

“We had two meetings before the season started and I thought he was kidding,” Susan Stone said. “And I said to him, ‘You’re not going to swim.’ But he came to the second meeting and I said, ‘You’re serious.’ I have a soft spot for him anyways. So I asked him about his swimming.”

And she got her answer.

“They thought I was just playing at first and I went out that first day and I could barely do one lap,” Hamilton said. “I thought that this will help me stay in shape and I don’t do track, so I decided to stay on the team because it was something different and better than sitting at home and doing nothing.”

It really was that simple. A non-swimmer became a swimmer.

“So I said to him, ‘What’s your swimming ability?’ And he said, “I can swim,’” Stone said. “We got together and he swam a couple of times. He went under water like a 5-year-old, he took a couple of strokes and learned to blow bubbles.”

However, Stone added that “right away I could tell he was serious. I think he wanted to prove all the doubters wrong and be successful, maybe prove he was more than just a football player.”

Hamilton said swimming “is different than football,” but not unlike running into an All-Colorado linebacker. It was tough. “Swimming is like nothing I’ve ever done,” he said. “It works all the muscles and after practice I really just wanted to crawl out of the pool and take a nap.”

This wasn’t the case of a coach being charitable. Hamilton earned his way. And Stone saw to it, being impressed by her new competitor’s diligence. Despite being relegated to the B team, Hamilton competed in the 50-yard free style, medley relay and 200 free relay. And his most success? It came in the 100 breaststroke, where he finished second at the B league meet in 1 minute, 44 seconds. He had another goal of breaking 30 seconds in the 50 free, but had to settle for 30.24.

Not bad for a CSU-Pueblo signee who was used to gaining yards, not swimming them.

“It was great, great for the program and for those other kids to see someone like him to go out for the swim team,” Stone said. “No experience, never done it and you can see him do it and be successful.

“He was a very hard worker, very coachable, very dedicated.”

Better yet, Stone added, “none of the kids on the team are Shamond’s friends, so he earned a lot of new ones.”

Mustangs head football coach Tom Thenell said he was moved by Hamilton’s work ethic and willingness to adapt.

“It surprised us all and yet I think Shamond is in a place where he has come through our school and is not afraid to take a risk, so to speak, not afraid to maybe do some things outside of the box that were good for him,” the coach said. “I think he’s a happy kid.”

Hamilton, who said he will study athletic training and business at CSU-Pueblo, brought his senior GPA up to 3.8 and his cumulative near 3.0. He said he owes Mullen a lot in the areas of academics, athletics and character, and enjoyed himself immensely.

Plus, if he should find himself at a pool or a beach with friends, he won’t be afraid to go into the water. He knows he can now handle himself.

“And I won’t drown,” he said with a hearty laugh.

 

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