THORNTON — The cancellation of this year's Boulder County Invitational because of weather brought its share of disappointment to both the Fairview and Boulder boys swimming teams.
But the Panthers and Knights sure didn't miss out on the chance to kick things into high gear against each other at a faster pool on Saturday morning. Neither did Legacy, Broomfield nor Monarch when it came to the Mountain Range Mustang Invitational at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.
Five meet records were established, and the BoCo squads had a say in all of them as Fairview reeled off an impressive team win at the 15-team event.
"We really missed BoCo, so we did decide to target this one as our BoCo meet and the team was fired up to win and get some fast times," Fairview head coach Amy Webb said. "It really did help reassure that we are on track for getting a good number of qualifiers."
In what was the last big invitational meet before the Front Range League Championships still three weeks away, there were plenty of reasons for each team to walk away happy with the performance.
For Fairview junior Michael Zarian, it might just have been a turning point in his season, a reset button of sorts after failing to meet his own expectations at the 2016 Dolfin Junior National Cup in Clearwater, Fla., a few weeks ago.
Zarian, the defending state champ in the 500 free, flew to the top of the Class 5A state rankings in the 200 IM and 500 with times of 1 minute, 52.45 seconds and 4:41.61, respectively. He also anchored the 400 free relay team (with Raymond Guthrie, Walker Martin and Philip Manoff) that set a meet mark at 3:14.19.
"I've been getting back into shape after that meet about a month ago, and so I'm happy with my training and those times are just a reflection of that," Zarian said. "I had some good times there but I also set some pretty high expectations. Things don't always go your way 100 percent of the time, so it's about going back to training and pouring everything in to state. As team we just want to score as many points as we can and represent Fairview well."
"We didn't use Michael on the medley relay just to see what would happen with the IM, and it was very nice to see that time and will bode well for state," Webb said, her team also getting a win from Manoff in the backstroke. "He's got a good head on his shoulders, and he can come back from a meet like Clearwater and turn around and do something spectacular like today."
Zarian edged Boulder's Nathan Rock in the 500 and Chris Nicholson in the IM, but both of those Panthers swimmers put their stamp on the meet with main event wins. Rock set a meet record in the 200 free (1:44.96) and went on to help the Panthers 200 free relay team to first place, as did Nicholson after the senior won the 100 free (46.83).
Boulder was cooking despite not having Mick Bartholomew and PJ Stapleton in their lineup.
"As a team we did really well, and we had swimmers that would have been at BoCo that missed out today, and to get second was great," Rock said. "To get a meet record means a lot but I'm looking to get more as we get closer to the end of the season. I'm happy with that 200 free at this point and my 500 free could have been better, but both are ones I feel I should improve on before state."
Broomfield and Legacy combined to win Saturday's four other events while Monarch qualified its 200 free and 400 free relay teams to state. For the Eagles, Austin Crump set a meet standard in the 100 butterfly (51.98) after winning the 50 free somewhat unexpectedly.
Legacy senior Greg Allan also got an unexpected win in the 100 breaststroke and the Lightning set the tone for themselves by winning the 200 medley relay.
Mountain Range Mustang Invitational
At Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center
Team scores — Fairview 509, Boulder 315, Legacy 259, Loveland 191, Rocky Mountain 189, Broomfield 175, Windsor 135, Monarch 114, Northglenn/Thornton 102, Mountain Range 85, Estes Park 48, Poudre 47, Valley 44, Thompson Valley 20, Horizon 11.
200 medley relay — 1. Legacy (Casey Hamilton, Andrew Otterson, Alex Nielsen, Ian Dretzka), 1:41.61; 2. Boulder, 1:41.74; 3. Fairview, 1:42.18.
200 freestyle — 1. Nathan Rock, Boulder, 1:44.96*; 2. Olson, Northglenn/Thornton, 1:48.53; 3. Walker Martin, Fairview, 1:49.27.
200 IM — 1. Michael Zarian, Fairview, 1:52.45*; 2. Chris Nicholson, Boulder, 1:57.55; 3. Buyers, Loveland, 2:00.23.
50 freestyle — 1. Austin Crump, Broomfield, 22.32; 2. Kailash Graham-Bell, Fairview, 22.66; 2. Joe Felton, Fairview, 22.66.
Diving (from Friday) — 1. Duncan Lester, Fairview, 520.25; 2. Bielmaier, Estes Park, 447.60; 3. Soguero, Estes Park, 418.20.
100 butterfly — 1. Crump, Broomfield, 51.98*; 2. Raymond Guthrie, Fairview, 52.71; 3. Olson, Northglenn/Thornton, 53.37;
100 freestyle — 1. Nicholson, Boulder, 46.83; 2. Martin, Fairview, 49.58; 3. Jack Studebaker, Boulder, 49.89.
500 freestyle — 1. Zarian, Fairview, 4:41.61*; 2. Rock, Boulder, 4:47.54; 3. Daniel Bradford, Legacy, 4:53.40.
200 free relay — 1. Boulder (Henry Maier, Quinton Pierce, Rock, Nicholson), 1:29.15; 2. Fairview, 1:29.58; 3. Legacy, 1:31.25.
100 backstroke — 1. Philip Manoff, Fairview, 52.98; 2. Buyers, Loveland, 53.47; 3. Will Brown, Fairview, 56.55.
100 breaststroke — 1. Greg Allan, Legacy, 1:03.96; 2. Denton, Loveland, 1:04.34; 3. Ilya Fedorchuk, Fairview, 1:04.53.
400 free relay — 1. Fairview (Guthrie, Martin, Manoff, Zarian), 3:14.19*; 2. Boulder, 3:22.18; 3. Fairview B, 3:24.06.
* — denotes meet record