30th annual Verde Invitational Swim Meet starts today

*Image produced from a picture taken by Vickie Tillemans.

*Image produced from a picture taken by Vickie Tillemans.

COTTONWOOD - The Cottonwood Clippers swim team is ready to host the 30th annual Verde Invitational swim meet, and they're planning on winning.

260 kids from seven teams are expected to attend.

The meet starts today at 6 p.m. with distance races, and it will start back up Saturday at 8 a.m.

So far this season, the Clippers have done well, but they'll be looking to confidently send a signal to the visiting teams early in the day.

The highlight of the meet will be a commemorative swim in honor of longtime Cottonwood swim coach Rick Heisley. It's an Olympic mile-long swim, and each team can only choose one swimmer to compete. The Clippers have selected Anthony Wokasch. The race is expected to take place in the early afternoon.

"Every swimmer that gets the nod to swim in the race will get respect, but the swimmer that wins the Heisley Cup gets a lot of respect," said Clippers head coach Erin Estes.

Estes said the Heisley Cup was the best way they could honor the man who was instrumental in the Clippers' longevity and successfully hosting the Verde Invitational for so many years.

"I'm just trying to continue what he started," said Estes.

One swimmer to keep an eye on at the meet is Colin Mount. He's heading into his senior year at Mingus and he's a very fast sprinter. Estes said his best competition comes from Sedona in the form of Ethan Hickcox.

Last year, the Verde Invitational was the first meet with all the state of the art timing equipment and scoreboard at the Cottonwood Aquatics Center. Those upgrades legitimized the CAC as a modern meet destination in Northern Arizona, and the scoreboard makes swim meets much more spectator friendly.

It rained continuously throughout the day last year, and according to the National Weather Service a 40 percent chance of rain is expected this Saturday. The swimmers don't mind too much, and as long as there is no lightning, the show will go on.

Check the Verde Independent next week for photos and video of the meet.

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