Swimmers to watch
Harrison Lierz, Jr., Broomfield: The reigning BoCoPreps Swimmer of the Year is looking to build off a strong sophomore campaign that included winning state titles in the 200 and 500 freestyle at the 5A state meet. The move down to 4A for the Eagles makes him one of the top swimmers in the state to watch for that classification.
Lukas Miller, Jr., Legacy: Miller joined Lierz in earning All-American honors last year. The junior excelled in the butterfly and freestyle for the Lightning and was named to the BoCoPreps.com All-Region Team. The upcoming season looks to be big for him and the veterans on the roster.
Tanner Fillon, Sr., Monarch: Another top distance swimmer in the region, Fillon qualified for state in the 200 and 500 freestyle and helped on a number of relay teams. With Lierz moving down to 4A for Broomfield, he becomes a swimmer to watch in the distance events in Class 5A and will help lead the Coyotes this season as a team captain.
Max Kreidl, Jr., Boulder: One of the top local swimmers in the 200 IM, Kreidl came very close to achieving All-American status when he finished fifth at the Class 5A meet. Motivation and another year of experience may be what it takes for him to reach that mark for a Panthers team looking for another top-10 finish at state.
Cody Yan, Jr., Fairview: Yan has seen success in the IM and breaststroke for the Knights and also played a big role in the relay teams that made it to state. Another step forward is realistic for the junior, who will serve as one of five captains for the team in 2019.
Pierce Bigelow, So., Silver Creek: Bigelow broke on the scene as a freshman for the Raptors by competing in the 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle and relays at the state meet. Eager to take another step forward, he looks to make his mark in Class 4A and is one of 11 returning state qualifiers for Silver Creek.
Octavio Querol, Sr., Longmont: Querol has been a strong freestyle swimmer for the Trojans and competed in both the 100 and 200 events at state. Longmont will go as far as he goes in those events, as well as how far he helps a strong freshman class coming in.
The Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center will host both the Class 4A and 5A State Championships from May 16-18. 5A will compete May 16-17 and 4A will compete May 17-18.
Coach: Emily Sampl (second year)
Last year: Finished sixth in the Class 5A state meet with 138 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Grant Freeman (Sr., relays, 100 butterfly, 100 back), Max Kreidl (Jr., 200 IM, 100 butterfly, relays), Luke Stapleton (Jr., 50 free, 100 free, relays), CJ Turf (Sr., 100 butterfly) Josh Winter (Sr., 500 free), Ozzie Davis (Sr., 100 breast), Henry Crouch (Sr., 100 breast).
Others to watch: Cooper Lull (Jr., freestyle), Teague Mayer (Fr., backstroke, butterfly, IM), Zach Shoffner (So., breaststroke, butterfly)
Outlook: The Panthers will be a slightly smaller team with less than 20 kids on the roster compared to 30 or more from over the years, but the versatility of the swimmers is something Sampl believes will help them win dual meets and to finish in the top six at the state meet for a sixth year in a row. Another goal for the Panthers is to get their second consecutive dual win over Fairview.
Coach: Emily Austin (21st year)
Last year: Finished 12th in the Class 5A state meet with 79 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Harrison Lierz (Jr., relays, 200 free, 500 free), Sam Anderson (Sr., relays, 200 IM, 100 breast), Sam Hahn (Sr., relays, 100 back).
Others to watch: Stephen Gately (Sr.), Luke Knaley (Jr.), Jon Kim (Sr.), Henry Kuhna (Sr.), Nathan Cote (Jr.), Lucas Becker (Fr.), Danny Hruby (Fr.), Arya Nandyal (Fr.), Owen McClain (Fr.).
Outlook: The swimmer to watch for area teams is Harrison Lierz, the reigning BoCoPreps Swimmer of the Year in 2018. The Eagles are looking forward to moving down to Class 4A this year for the first time since 2014. Said Austin: "I hope that this move will be good for the boys and that we'll have more kids move into the finals at the League Championship meet than we've seen for the past four years."
Coach: Joey Pedraza (first season)
Last year: Finished 24th at the Class 5A state meet with 19 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Brandon Li (Jr., relays), Cody Yan (Jr., 200 IM, relays, 100 breast), Noah Anderson (Jr., 500 free, relays), Ben Nickell (Sr., relays, 100 breast).
Others to watch: Jason Lin (Sr., freestyle, relays), Luke Davis (Sr., freestyle, backstroke, relays), Julian Pagnotta (Sr., freestyle, relays)
Outlook: Five captains will lead the Knights under first-year head coach Joey Pedraza, giving him a good veteran core to help him out. Yan and Anderson are two of the stronger swimmers in the area and will look to build off their solid 2018 campaigns to help the team return to prominence once again. Look for Fairview to try and avenge a rare dual loss to Boulder and to get more state qualifiers in 2019.
Coach: Tony Helfrich (seventh year)
Last year:Finished 13th in the Class 5A state meet with 68 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Owen Cunnington (Sr., relays), Nathan Shaver (Jr., relay), Lukas Miller (Jr., 200 free, 100 butterfly, relays), Jonus Ortega (Sr., 200 free, relays, 100 breast), Nicholas Coringrato (Jr., 100 butterfly, relays, 100 back), Pax Armon (500 free).
Others to watch: Pax Armon (Jr.) Jack Tran (Fr.), Aidan Shepston (Fr.), Kyle Raskay (Fr.), Nathan Kral (Fr.)
Outlook: With a couple of strong swimmers back, the Lightning remain optimistic on finding similar success in 2019. Versatility for all the swimmers will be critical as Legacy is expecting to have a smaller team in the pool. The Lightning will also field a fairly veteran group with a good junior and senior class to lead the way, something they hope will help the younger and newer athletes on the team to excel right away and contribute.
Coach: Jill LeGault (eighth year)
Last year: Finished 19th in the Class 4A state meet with 31 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Octavio Querol (Sr., 200 free, 100 free), James Sears (Jr., 50 free, 100 butterfly), Sean Findley (Jr., 500 free).
Others to watch: Cody Aker (Sr., butterfly, relays), Jonathan Hegg (Jr., freestyle, breast, relays), Everett Quince (Sr., freestyle, relays).
Outlook: Some new athletes from out-of-state join the Trojans this year, and the first few meets will be used by LeGault to determine where they will fit in. The Trojans are in a process of rebuilding, but they hope to provide great competition in their competitive league.
Coach: Amber Sullivan (fifth year)
Last year: Finished 28th in the Class 5A state meet with 2 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Tanner Fillon (Sr., relay, 200 free, 500 free), Justin Darr (Sr., relays, 100 breast), Cody Glastetter (Jr., relays, 50 free), Rodrigo Gutierrez (Jr., relays, 50 free), Austin Schunk (Jr., relays).
Others to watch: Reed Henderson (Sr., backstroke, freestyle, relays), Dawson Bell (Sr., freestyle, backstroke, relays, breaststroke), Ethan Glenn (Sr., IM, freestyle, relays), Tachi Williams (Sr., freestyle, relays)
Outlook: Some strong swimmers are back for Sullivan at Monarch as they will try to improve form their performance last year. Fillon, one of the top distance swimmers in the area, will provide the best chance to score at the state meet. A good senior and junior class also gives the Coyotes plenty of experience to help them get over the hump this year.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Debbie Stewart (18th year)
Last year: Finished tied for seventh place in Class 4A state meet with 144 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Pierce Bigelow (So., 200 free, relays, 100 butterfly), Hayden Dickinson (Sr., 200 free, relays, 500 free), Matthew Teta (Sr., diving), Carson Simon (Jr., 100 butterfly, 200 IM, relays), Andrew Wu (Sr., 100 breast, relays, 200 IM), Connor Hassert (So., relays, 200 IM, 500 free), Weston Call (Jr., 200 free), Dakota Casey (Jr., 50 free, 100 free), Ian Curd (So., 50 free), Jack Ranglos (Jr., 100 butterfly, 100 breast), Eric Yi (Sr., 100 breast)
Others to watch: Brandon Lis (Fr.), Jacob Dowlin (Fr.), Jake Gutru (Fr.), Alek Matyjewicz (Fr.), Connor Wagner (Fr.).
Outlook: A good mix of returning state qualifiers and a solid freshman class have Silver Creek primed for a good run in 4A. The Raptors will still have to deal with not having a practice facility, as divers will train at the Carbon Valley Rec Center in Frederick and the swimmers splitting time with Longmont at the YMCA. Stewart expects a promising season for her team, if they can handle the unique practices they will go through this year.