First-year Boulder coach Emily Sampl inherited a talented roster in the pool.
The Panthers, in winning eight of 12 events during the annual boys dual meet against rival Fairview, claimed wins in all three relays (200-yard medley, 200 free, 400 free), had a pair of individual wins by Chris Nicholson and Nate Rock, and even set a school record by Mick Bartholomew. Boulder, the No. 7 ranked team in Class 5A by CHSAANow, had plenty of bite on Tuesday at the North Boulder Rec Center.
Despite the Panthers' firepower, Fairview's strength in numbers, and power at the back end of events, ultimately led to a 171-138 team win over the host school.
"I thought the team did an amazing job of pulling together," Fairview coach Amy Webb, in charge of the No. 3 ranked group in the state's highest classification, said. "I told them yesterday that every race matters and every point counts. They swam up to it. We had some best times. It's always exciting to swim against Boulder."
"We really try to get all of Fairview riled up and ready to swim fast," Michael Zarian added. "I think we did a really good job of that today."
Zarian, the state leader and defending champion in the 500 free, shattered the school record in the 100 fly (50.28) and swam a brisk 200 IM (1:52.97) to double up on individual wins.
"Michael got a new school record and Justin Li was really good in the 50 free (1st, 21.93)," Webb added. "Overall our fly and backstroke kids were phenomenal today. We're a little bit stronger back half of the meet and it really showed today how much depth we have in the fly and the back."
The Knights also had a stellar performance out of junior diver Duncan Lester, a Class 5A title contender himself, in breaking the meet record in the one-meter competition with a final tally of 324.15. A year ago, he became the first diver in meet history to eclipse 300 with a 304.65.
"Duncan has improved so much in the last year," Webb said. "He has really cleaned up his dives and has been looking stronger and stronger. I am excited for him at state to see where he can place. He's a powerhouse."
As for Boulder, Sampl came away ecstatic with a number of the Panthers' spotlight performances. The 200 medley relay (1:35.92) swam the fastest time in the state and the second fastest in the 400 free relay (3:12.67). Bartholomew, a senior, broke his own school record in finishing runner-up to Zarian in the 200 IM. The senior's time of 1:55.15 crushed his previous best of 2:03.03.
Fellow fourth-year star Chris Nicholson, on senior night for the Panthers, also stepped up with a pair of strong relay legs to go along with victories in the 100 free (47.23) and 100 back (52.61). His mark in the backstroke was a new personal record. Junior Nathan Rock won the 200 free (1:45.63) and 500 free (4:45.96, 6th in 5A).
"We knew it was going to be a close meet," Sampl said. "It was only nine points (Fairview won 97-88) last year. We swam really well and had a lot of personal bests, season bests and a school record. You can't ask for much more than that.
"We have 10 days until the league meet. We'll rest for that. None of our kids here were resting, so to get personal bests was really good. We'll bring a good group to league and then state will be the following weekend. Last year we got 4th. It would be great to place in the top-5 again."
Fairview 171, Boulder 138
At North Boulder Rec Center
200 medley relay — 1. Boulder (Chris Nicholson, Mick Bartholomew, PJ Stapleton, Jack Studebaker), 1:35.92; 2. Fairview (Michael Zarian, Benjamin Morris, Philip Manoff, Kailash Graham-Bell), 1:38.86; 3. Fairview (Kyle Mak, Ilya Fedorchuk, Jack Casebolt, Joe Felton), 1:44.74.
200 freestyle — 1. Nathan Rock, Boulder, 1:45.63; 2. Quinton Pierce, Boulder, 1:48.80; 3. Garrett Sooter, Fairview, 1:48.83.
200 IM — 1. Michael Zarian, Fairview, 1:52.97; 2. Mick Bartholomew, Boulder, 1:55.15; 3. Kyle Mak, Fairview, 2:07.50.
50 freestyle — 1. Justin Li, Fairview, 21.93; 2. PJ Stapleton, Boulder, 22.18; 3. Jack Studebaker, Boulder, 22.55.
Diving — 1.Duncan Lester, Fairview, 324.15*; 2. Jacob Nienhouse, Boulder, 153.40; 3. Cody Jeffers, Fairview, 143.30.
100 butterfly — 1. Michael Zarian, Fairview, 50.28; 2. Philip Manoff, Fairview, 52.66; 3. PJ Stapleton, Boulder, 52.79.
100 freestyle — 1. Chris Nicholson, Boulder, 47.23; 2. Justin Li, Fairview, 48.67; 3. Walker Martin, Fairview, 50.18.
500 freestyle — 1. Nathan Rock, Boulder, 4:45.96; 2. Garrett Sooter, Fairview, 4:53.50; 3. Quinton Pierce, Boulder, 4:55.73.
200 free relay — 1. Boulder (Mick Bartholomew, Henry Maier, Jack Studebaker, Nathan Rock), 1:30.10; 2. Fairview (Justin Li, Joe Felton, Walker Martin, Kailash Graham-Bell). 1:30.21; 3. Fairview (Christopher George, Cody Jeffers, Benjamin Morris, Breyden Fano), 1:34.30.
100 backstroke — 1. Chris Nicholson, Boulder, 52.61; 2. Philip Manoff, Fairview, 53.79; 3. Kyle Mak, Fairview, 55.99.
100 breaststroke — 1. Mick Bartholomew, Boulder, 1:00.79; 2. Benjamin Morris, Fairview, 1:03.96; 3. Ilya Fedorchuk, Fairview, 1:04.95.
400 free relay — 1. Boulder (Nathan Rock, Quinton Pierce, PJ Stapleton, Chris Nicholson), 3:12.67; 2. Fairview (Michael Zarian, Philip Manoff, Walker Martin, Justin Li), 3:14.05; 3. Fairview (Raymond Guthrie, Breyden Fano, Garrett Sooter, Ilya Fedorchuk), 3:22.58.