Skyline’s Alaina Hellenberg performs a dive during the state 4A girls swimming championships at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton on
Skyline's Alaina Hellenberg performs a dive during the state 4A girls swimming championships at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton on Saturday. (David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer)

THORNTON — A slight move up here, a little extra power kick there.

It all added up to a fifth place finish at the Class 4A state swimming and diving championships for the Silver Creek girls swim team Saturday.

Junior Sara Findley said after everything was said and done that the mood was pretty relaxed for the Raptors, and one would have to believe her after looking at the results.

Of the 14 swims the Raptors had at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in the finals, head coach Debbie Stewart's team moved up in six of them. That allowed the team to score 147 points, edging St. Mary's Academy for fifth place after SCHS finished eighth a year ago.

"We came in today ready to swim and excited for the last meet, and the atmosphere was just so positive," said Findley. "It seemed like even if someone didn't have a great, great swim, it was still a great swim."

"My goal this year was to get them into the top five, and I'll take five," said Stewart, whose team improved by nearly 50 points over their 2014-15 state meet. "These are fast schools we're going against, and our girls held up with them, for sure. Even if we would have placed sixth, I'd have taken that because our girls did so great (Saturday)."

Depth was the key for the Raptors, as Jenna Latsko's fifth place finish in the 100 breaststroke was the highest for any individual swimmer this time around. But that team camaraderie they showed all season was present on the season's final day.


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The 200 medley relay team set the tone with a half-second time drop, down to 1 minute, 50.81 seconds, and it just seemed to get better from there. The two other relays, in fact, set or came close to setting school standards.

"These girls that came back today, there's experience there from last year and are at that level we're they've placed," Stewart said. "Those jitters can be calmed down a little easier."

"I'm so happy with how we finished out the season," added Latsko, who will be off to John Carroll University this fall. "We were relaxed but also really focused at the same time. I think all the younger girls can do even better next year, too."

While Skyline's Alex Hellenberg (11th in the 50 free), Hannah Svendsen (13th in the 500 free) and Alaina Hellenberg (10th in diving) finished well individually, Centaurus' 200 free relay team of Skylar Riley, Shannon Milton, Lexi James and Erika Schunk moved up from a 13th seed before the weekend to 7th place in the finals.

The Warriors finished with a time of 1:43.10, nearly two full seconds faster than their best season attempt and another full second faster than Friday's preliminaries. With Erin Scarano's 11th-place finish in diving, Centaurus finished in 17th place as a team.

"We just had a great bonding time before the meet, and we realized it's the last chance for us together," said Milton, a senior. "The excitement of moving into (the championship final) just had us going, but we wanted to move up even more. Taper paid off for us."

Niwot's Maddie Barkow finished off another great season by placing sixth in diving, and the Cougars 400 free relay team also cut four seconds off their seed time to 3:51.55, good for 16th.

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24

Class 4A Swimming and Diving Championships

At VMAC, Thornton

Team scores —Valor Christian 320, Evergreen, 252, Cheyenne Mountain 249, Manitou Springs 168, Silver Creek 147, St. Mary's Academy 146, Windsor 121, Aspen 116, Glenwood Springs 107, Air Academy 100, Thompson Valley 85, Golden 49, Pueblo County 48, D'Evelyn 42, Durango 37, Colorado Academy 35, Centaurus 34, Kent Denver 32, Pueblo South 31, Denver South 28, Eaton 23, Mountain View 19, Wheat Ridge 18, Skyline 17, Niwot 15, Thomas Jefferson 14, Mullen 14, Montrose 13, Pueblo Central 11, Littleton 8, Salida 6, Pueblo West 6, La Junta 6, Denver North 4, Discovery Canyon 1, Estes Park 1.

200 medley relay — 1. Valor Christian, 1:45.31*; 2. Manitou Springs, 1:45.84; 3. Evergreen, 1:47.26; 4. St. Mary's Academy, 1:48.80; 5. Windsor, 1:49.88; 6. Aspen, 1:50.18; 7. Cheyenne Mountain, 1:50.30; 8. Silver Creek (Nikki Schlegel, Brandi Vu, Sara Findley, Laura Caro), 1:50.81.

200 freestyle — 1. Alex Reddington, St. Mary's Academy, 1:51.52; 2. Lainee Jones, Pueblo South, 1:52.03; 3. Samantha Steigerwald, Air Academy, 1:52.59; 4. Kate McDonald, Evergreen, 1:53.29; 5. Kendall Vanderhoof, Glenwood Springs, 1:55.19; 6. Maggie Tiddbitt, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:55.21; 7. Lauren Fetzko, Glenwood Springs, 1:55.50; 8. Lindsay Stenstrom, Valor Christian, 1:55.78; 13. Sara Findley, Silver Creek, 1:59.12.

200 IM — 1. Morgan Friesen, Windsor, 2:03.78; 2. Marie Goodwyn, Cheyenne Mountain, 2:04.62; 3. Claire State, St. Mary's Academy, 2:04.85; 4. Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain, 2:04.87; 5. Katelyn Kenchel, Evergreen, 2:06.81; 6. Emily Dolloff-Holt, Manitou Springs, 2:07.18; 7. Abbey Owenby, Valor Christian, 2:09.77; 8. Davy Brown, Aspen, 2:20.08; 14. Brandi Vu, Silver Creek, 2:11.81; 15. Jenna Latsko, Silver Creek, 2:12.85.

50 freestyle — 1. Brooke Stenstrom, Valor Christian, 23.22*; 2. Kennidy Quist, Aspen, 23.45; 3. Veronica Morin, Manitou Springs, 24.01; 4. Katie Liebscher, Cheyenne Mountain, 24.05; 5. Samantha White, 24.19; 6. Brook Landt, Valor Christian, 24.48; 7. Rylee Daniels, Eaton, 24.76; 8. Sofia Zinis, Mullen, 24.97; 11. Alex Hellenberg, Skyline, 25.18; 12. Laura Caro, Silver Creek, 25.21.

Diving — 1. Katrin Lewis, Evergreen, 484.90; 2. Bailey Mills, Evergreen, 479.75; 3. Isabel Mroz, Denver South, 472.20; 4. Abbie Erickson, Valor Christian, 450.60; 5. Kelsey Vreeman, Mountain View, 449.75; 6. Maddie Barkow, Niwot, 440.45; 7. Lindsey Hammar, Denver South, 427.20; 8. Kaylee Eakman, Pueblo Central 418.80; 10. Alaina Hellenberg, Skyline, 391.05; 11. Erin Scarano, Centaurus, 389.70.

100 butterfly — 1. Alex Reddington, St. Mary's Academy, 55.05*; 2. Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain, 55.30; 3. Emily Dolloff-Holt, Manitou Springs, 57.79; 4. Madison Hoehn, Valor Christian, 58.02; 5. Amanda Blickensderfer, Pueblo County, 58.95; 6. Haylee Buyers, Thompson Valley, 59.61; 7. Kara Coughlin, Evergreen, 59.82; 8. Rylee Daniels, Eaton, 1:00.68; 12. Nikki Schlegel, Silver Creek, 1:00.82.

100 freestyle — 1. Brooke Stenstrom, Valor Christian, 50.63; 2. Kennidy Quist, Aspen, 50.99; 3. Katelyn Ketchel, Evergreen, 51.17; 4. Katie Liebscher, Cheyenne Mountain, 51.82; 5. Lainee Jones, Pueblo South, 52.24; 6. Veronica Morin, Manitou Springs, 52.93; 7. Lindsay Stenstrom, Valor Christian, 53.20; 8. Christina Crane, Evergreen, 54.24; 9. Sara Findley, Silver Creek, 54.39; 10. Laura Caro, Silver Creek, 54.52; 16. Olivia Bruce, Silver Creek, 56.03.

500 freestyle — 1. Kate McDonald, Evergreen, 5:04.90; 2. Abbey Owenby, Valor Christian, 5:06.76; 3. Samantha Steigerwald, Air Academy, 5:07.09; 4. Abbey Selin, D'Evelyn, 5:09.77; 5. Kendall Vanderhoof, Glenwood Springs, 5:10.42; 6. Katie von der Lippe, Thompson Valley, 5:12.20; 7. Lilliana Brooks, St. Mary's Academy, 5:15.02; 8. Erin Eccleston, Windsor, 5:15.58; 13. Hannah Svendsen, Skyline, 5:25.85.

200 free relay — 1. Manitou Springs, 1:36.98; 2. Cheyenne Mountain, 1:37.55; 3. Valor Christian, 1:37.70; 4. Silver Creek (Jenna Latsko, Brandi Vu, Laura Caro, Meghan Magill), 1:40.62; 5. Thompson Valley, 1:42.16; 6. Air Academy, 1:42.26; 7. Centaurus (Skylar Riley, Shannon Milton, Lexi James, Erika Schunk), 1:43.10; 8. Durango, 1:43.64.

100 backstroke — 1. Marie Goodwyn, Cheyenne Mountain, 56.60; 2. Sabrina Sabadeanu, Golden, 57.12; 3. Kara Coughlin, Evergreen, 57.82; 4. Maggie Tibbitt, Cheyenne Mountain, 58.39; 5. Davy Brown, Aspen, 58.67; 6. Madison Hoehn, Valor Christian, 59.24; 7. Raili Carter, Valor Christian, 59.57; 8. Nikki Schlegel, Silver Creek, 59.86.

100 breaststroke — 1. Morgan Friesen, Windsor, 1:02.15; 2. Samantha White, Manitou Springs, 1:05.35; 3. Amanda Blickensderfer, Pueblo County, 1:05.77; 4. Christina Crane, Evergreen, 1:05.96; 5. Jenna Latsko, Silver Creek, 1:06.51; 6. Aleksandra Olesiak, Air Academy, 1:07.10; 7. Brandi Vu, Silver Creek, 1:07.16; 8. Brook Landt, Valor Christian, 1:07.62.

400 free relay — 1. Cheyenne Mountain, 3:27.40*; 2. Valor Christian, 3:31.35; 3. Evergreen, 3:32.38; 4. St. Mary's Academy, 3:35.93; 5. Aspen, 3:36.27; 6. Glenwood Springs, 3:39.91; 7. Windsor, 3:40.74; 8. Silver Creek (Meghan Magill, Olivia Bruce, Nikki Schlegel, Sara Findley), 3:41.39; 15. Centaurus (Skylar Riley, Sarah Boyer, Erika Schunk, Madeline Chism), 3:49.38; 16. Niwot (Hanna Luo, Amalia Luthens, Claire Jepson, Sonia Martinez), 3:51.55.

* — denotes Class 4A state record