Whether or not Fairview girls swim coach Bob Smartt is just deflecting attention from his Knights by saying Fossil Ridge is the best team in Colorado prep history, it's looking more and more like at least one of his swimmers is priming herself to be decorated in gold when the Class 5A state swim meet transpires in February.
The latest swim rankings from Rob Nasser (www.prepswimco.com) show FHS senior Brittney Beetcher as an overwhelming favorite in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events, the swims she was crowned champion in 2016, as well.
Her top 200 free time (1 minute, 51.17 seconds) is more than 1.25 seconds better than second place — really quite a gap considering the distance and the stroke.
In the 500 free, she seemingly has even more of an edge as no one has been within 10 seconds of her season best of 4:57.20.
Swimming is one of those sports where season times don't mean everything, with training schedules varying from team to team and some girls doing club swimming at the same time as the high school season.
But as seasoned as Beetcher is, if healthy I don't see any way she doesn't double up.
Nasser's rankings are based on reported swims in meets, so they are only as accurate as the gathered information he's been given. However, it does paint a picture of who you could expect to place at state with top 20 individuals or teams for each swim and relay.
Beetcher might be our only local state title contender in 5A, but there are girls in all three classifications who will definitely be worth watching.
Here are four more that could be in the mix for top-three placings in multiple events:
Amalie Lessing, Fairview — The sophomore class for Fairview will be intriguing to watch for three more years, and Lessing has really taken a step forward in her second season. She is currently third in the 500 (5:08.50, just a tick back of second) and situated in third in the 200 IM between three Fossil Ridge girls. Any move up could mean big things in the team race.
Brandi Vu, Silver Creek — Vu has been scoring points at state for three years now, but she has steadily gotten faster and now finds herself in the mix for a state title in the 200 IM. Unseating Windsor's Morgan Friesen is a tall order, but Vu currently sits just 2.1 seconds back of her at 2:09.86. Vu's other top shot is in the 100 breaststroke, where again she sits behind Friesen in fourth (1:05.42), but she is also ranked top seven in both sprint free events.
Payten Irwin, Niwot — Irwin made herself well known at her first Coaches Invite and then solidified her season at the Longmont City Meet last weekend. Composure will be huge for her in a tight butterfly field (1.6 seconds separates Irwin at third from 13th), and she could just a likely move up from ninth in the 200 IM as her 2:11.56 is just 1.7 seconds behind Vu.
Lucy Matheson, Longmont — Another freshman that is going to be one to watch for the Trojans, Matheson actually has the top time in the 3A 200 IM (2:10.78) by a margin of more than three seconds over three girls hovering at around 2:14. Heck, her IM time would put her in the 5A championship heat, as well. Abbey Selin of D'Evelyn looks to be the favorite for the 3A 500 title, but Matheson is firmly in second place and join Beetcher in the double-gold club.
We'll have more swim coverage in the coming two weeks.