If you go

What: State swimming championships

When: Friday (4 p.m.) and Saturday (diving prelims 9 a.m., finals 2 p.m.)

Where: 5A at Air Force Academy; 4A at Veteran's Memorial Aquatic Complex

BOULDER - Friday and Saturday could both be big days across the board for area swimmers, both in Class 5A at the United States Air Force Academy and in Class 4A in Thornton at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.

All the necessary work has been done, the tapers are complete and for most coaches and swimmers, all the hard work is done ... all that is left to do is go out and swim.

"I feel really good about my boys," Fairview coach Amy Webb said. "I think we will be very strong."

The Knights in particular have been the picture of consistency over the last decade and this year should be no different. They will be led by defending state champion Michael Zarian, who is seeded first in both the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle.

"Michael is Michael," Webb said. "He's excited, we have actually moved some things around, so he is not in the medley relay so that he has a good shot in the 200 IM. We are going to have him in the 200 free relay, which is kind of a new development for us."


The Knights have several swimmers and relay teams that are right on the cusp of the top eight, but also the top 16 -- making the top 16 on Friday guarantees a second swim on Saturday in the either the championship finals (top eight) of the consolations (nine through 16).

"They know they really have to step up on Friday and to race like they have never raced before," said Webb, whose diver Duncan Lester broke the league and school marks last week at the Front Range League championship with a 546 point total. "There are a couple of those guys, like Ray Guthrie, that I have doing back-to-back swims and they know they are going to have to swim out of their minds on Friday."

It could also be a huge weekend for Boulder. The Panthers have several of the top swims in the state heading in, including in the very first event, the 200-yard medley relay (1:35.92).

Chris Nicholson is the top seed in the 200 freestyle and should get a huge challenge from Broomfield's Austin Crump. Nicholson is also a threat in the 100 free.

Mich Bartholomew is seeded in the top five of both the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. Legacy's Casey Hamilton is right in the mix of a loaded field in the 100 backstroke. His seed time of 52.41 seconds is the fourth fastest.

In Class 4A, the focus will be on Debbie Stewart's Silver Creek Raptors.

All eyes will be on Sam Willett, who is seeded first in both the 200 IM and the backstroke.

Much like Fairview, that has kids right on the borderline, so too do the Raptors. The 200 freestyle could be a huge race for Silver Creek, especially if Lucas Bergeson (seeded 14th) and Blake Sterns (15th) are able to move up into the championship finals.

Expect big things from Noah Jepson and Christopher Wingield in the 50 and both of them could make the podium twice if they maintain their seed spots.

The Raptors, who also have three divers at the meet, are seeded no lower than fourth in each of the three relays.

John Rosa: 303-684-5212, rosaj@dailycamera.com