AIR FORCE ACADEMY — Almost every high school athlete wants to represent their school big and proud. But for the Boulder boys swim team on Friday, it became quite costly at the Class 5A state preliminaries.
It was, however, up to the individuals on the team to respond in the right way after their 200 medley relay team — a potential state championship foursome — was disqualified because a logo on one team member's suit was deemed too large. And redeem they did, as Boulder will send seven individuals and two relays back to Saturday's finals at the Air Force Academy.
With Fairview also getting 11 swims back, Broomfield three and Legacy five, Saturday's championships could have some fantastic local flair.
For the Panthers, the fact that the suit violation, called out by a meet official, occurred right as the meet got going was a blessing in disguise. The foursome came into Friday with the top seed time in the state (1 minute, 35.92 seconds), and even swimming that exact time in prelims would have yielded a second seed time for finals.
Anger quickly fueled some individual performances, and everyone who was seeded to return in either championship or consolation finals did that.
"Everyone completely stepped up after that and swam really well, and we had a ton of people move up to get in top 8," said first-year Boulder head coach Emily Sampl. "We finished on a really good note with our 400 free relay.
"It's unfortunate but it's a rule and everyone has to follow it. You just have to move on."
Chris Nicholson and Nathan Rock joined Broomfield's Austin Crump in the 200 free final immediately after the medley relay finished up, and Mick Bartholomew followed that with a championship finals qualifying time in the 200 individual medley — of which Fairview's Michael Zarian also qualified with the top time (1:49.72).
That get-over-it pattern continued through the rest of the night for the Panthers. Quinton Pierce, a BHS sophomore, moved from 18th to fourth in the 500 freestyle — a signature event for BoCoPreps teams, to be true.
"We just kind of felt like we had a chip on our shoulder, but we knew we had a ton of good swims left in us," said Bartholomew, a senior who was celebrating his 18th birthday. "We couldn't let it get us down, especially me because ultimately it was my suit. But you don't take it personally. You make a mistake but you have three more races to do good for your team."
For the Fairview Knights, almost everything went as expected and in some cases better. Zarian (200 IM, 500 free), Philip Manoff (100 fly, 100 back) and Justin Li (50 free, 100 free) each qualified multiple times and the Knights 200 free relay team jumped from 11th to third.
Li was relieved that he didn't have to do a swim-off in the 100 freestyle (another competitor got sick), and the junior also moved up to an inside lane in the 50 free with a personal best 21.22.
He also swam legs of the 200 and 400 free relays.
"There was a little bit of relief, yeah," Li said. "I was ready for it before those legs and just kept taking things a race at a time.
"I was nervous before the 50 because there was a malfunction with the timing system, but I just tried to stay calm and had a really good race. I'm hoping to go 21.1 tomorrow."
While Broomfield will also have Crump in the 100 free (seeded 10th), the Eagles dropped time in the 200 free relay but still missed out on finals after coming in seeded 13th.
Two of Legacy's relays (200 medley, 400 free) get another swim while the Lightning also have Casey Hamilton (100 back), Daniel Bradford (500 free) and Gregory Allan (200 free) in consolation heats.
Class 5A State Swimming Preliminaries
At Air Force Academy
(Top qualifier and local results)
200 medley relay — 1. Regis Jesuit, 1:32.56; 5. Fairview, 1:35.61; 10. Legacy, 1:38.66.
200 freestyle — 1. Griffin Eiber, Arapahoe, 1:39.94; 2. Chris Nicholson, Boulder, 1:40.08; 4. Austin Crump, Broomfield, 1:42.67; 8. Nathan Rock, Boulder, 1:43.13; 14, Gregory Allan, Legacy, 1:46.11.
200 IM — 1. Michael Zarian, Fairview, 1:49.72; 7. Mick Bartholomew, Boulder, 1:55.20; 17 (First alternate). Casey Hamilton, Legacy, 1:58.33.
50 freestyle — 1. Max Grogan, Ponderosa, 21.09; 3. Justin Li, Fairview, 21.22; 16. PJ Stapleton, Boulder, 21.88.
100 butterfly — 1. Gabriele Sasia, Highlands Ranch, 50.14; 6. Philip Manoff, Fairview, 51.12; 18 (second alternate). Raymond Guthrie, Fairview, 53.77.
100 freestyle — 1. Griffin Eiber, Arapahoe, 45.37; 2. Chris Nicholson, Boulder, 45.55; T7. Justin Li, Fairview, 47.29; 10. Austin Crump, Broomfield, 47.33; 18. PJ Stapleton, Boulder, 48.25.
500 freestyle — 1. Michael Zarian, Fairview, 4:34.44; 2. Nathan Rock, Boulder, 4:41.53; 4. Quinton Pierce, Boulder, 4:45.19; 9. Garret Sooter, Fairview, 4:48.73; 13. Daniel Bradford, Legacy, 4:51.37.
200 free relay — 1. Fossil Ridge, 1:25.33; 3. Fairview, 1:26.86; 13. Boulder, 1:29.89; 17. Broomfield, 1:30.08.
100 backstroke — 1. Danny Kovac, Fossil Ridge, 49.53; 3. Philip Manoff, Fairview, 51.86; 8. Mick Bartholomew, Boulder, 52.52; 9. Casey Hamilton, Legacy, 52.63.
100 breaststroke — 1. Elijah Warren, Regis Jesuit, 55.14; 15. Benjamin Morris, Fairview, 59.36.
400 free relay — 1. Fossil Ridge, 3:06.91; 2. Boulder, 3:08.19; 3. Fairview, 3:08.63; 15. Legacy, 3:17.35.