Highlights from the

Herald Democrat

10 Years Ago

For Olympic swimmers, altitude counts

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

February 3, 2011


The Lake County Aquatic Center became an Olympic training site this week as three swimmers from Denmark made waves in Leadville’s indoor pool.

At 3,000 meters, said National Head Coach Paulus Wildeboer, this pool may be the third highest in the world.

During a coaches’ conference in April 2009, Wildeboer was looking for new training sites.

He contacted Jonty Skinner, an Olympic swimmer who now lives in Colorado Springs.

Lake County Recreation Director Larry Colley had contacted the Colorado Springs Olympic Committee to tell them about the pool at 10,200 feet.

Skinner was able to tell Wildeboer about the Lake County pool, and Wildeboer called Colley.

It was a last-minute change for the Denmark swimmers, who were going to train in Argentina at a pool 300 to 400 meters higher then the Lake County pool.

That pool, said Wildeboer, as many in South America, is a lower level pool, or not as nice. It is slightly larger since it is a 25-meter pool compared to Lake County’s 25-yard pool.

It was also more convenient to travel from Denmark to Denver, and then on to Mexico, rather than to go to Argentina and then to Mexico.

The swimmers cut out one day of travel this way, he said.

The size of the pool doesn’t matter, he said. The altitude matters.

During the workout on Friday night, Lotte Friis, 22, was not sure if the altitude or jet lag was more the cause for feeling tired.

Friis won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics and then a gold in the 2009 World Championships in Rome.

Winning the Olympic medal, she said, was amazing and not expected.

The swimmers arrived in Leadville on Thursday and began training with a morning and evening workout on Friday.

While they were swimming between 5:30 and 7:20 Friday evening, their bodies were on Denmark time, which was around 3 a.m.

Anders Lie, 19, did have a higher than normal heart rate during his workout that first night. Lie is training for his first shot at the Olympic games, which will be in London in 2012.

Aschwin Wildeboer, 24, who swims for Spain but trains with his dad in Denmark, was a finalist in the 2008 Olympics. In December 2008, he broke the world record for the men’s 100-meter backstroke.

His skill in the backstroke was evident during the training swims, which were scheduled at 10 a.m. and between 5 and 8 p.m. every day this past week.

Upon arriving in town, the three swimmers described their first impression of Leadville as from an American movie.

When told of our recent heavy snowfall, Wildeboer asked if the storm shut down the village.

He was assured it had not.

James guilty of two out

of three charges

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

February 24, 2011


Judge Wayne Patton found former sheriff’s deputy Steve James guilty of trespassing on public property and obstruction of medical personnel at the conclusion of his court trial Wednesday, Feb. 16. James was found not guilty of official misconduct.

The charges stemmed from an incident on March 27, 2010, when James arrested Fire Capt. Dan Dailey after Dailey responded to a medical call at the jail.

James waived his right to a jury trial, opting instead to have the judge determine his guilt or innocence in the trial that began on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

In the courtroom to hear the decision were former sheriff Ed Holte and his wife, Diana Holte, who still works for the sheriff’s office, as well as Dailey and other firefighters.

Patton declared that the Lake County courthouse is a public building, despite the event taking place in the secured jail area.

Dailey is a public employee, said Patton, who was responding to a medical call.

“There is no such thing as a nonemergency medical call,” Dailey told defense attorney Marc Colin during his cross-examination.

In his closing statements, Colin pointed out that all witnesses testified that the situation was not life-threatening to the patient for whom the call was made.

Colin asked many witnesses about the practice of letting female medical personnel treat female victims of domestic violence or rape. The patient in this case was a victim of domestic violence. All testified that this was common practice.

James, said Patton, had called for an EMT that day, and an EMT showed up. It may not have been the one he was looking for, but an EMT is an EMT.

The evidence, said Patton, showed that the fire department does respond to 99.9 percent of all medical calls. The only exception would be a response to Ski Cooper.

On the count of obstructing medical personnel, Patton said the evidence showed that Dailey, along with the two other firefighters, showed up to give medical treatment, which was the request.

Although the incident happened in the secured jail area, the victim was not a prisoner of the jail, therefore the keeper-of-the-jail statute did not apply, said Patton.

The door was also open, which was an invitation to enter, he said.

James did not testify during the trial.

As the prosecution closed its case, Colin asked for a dismissal of the charges, which was denied by Patton. He also asked that the prosecution be required to choose one charge to pursue before closing arguments were given to the judge. This was also denied.

The first charge is a class-two misdemeanor. James received a $50 fine and was charged victim compensation of $78 and $21 in court costs. The other charge is a class-three misdemeanor, and Patton suspended the fine for one year.

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