BOULDER — There are some in Colorado's swimming circles that think Fairview coach Bob Smartt is a bit of a mad genius.
It's a moniker the longtime Knights coach gladly accepts ... and you know he does with a witty grin.
The key to the Knights annual success is the depth and the 2016-17 season is no different and with well over 100-plus girls out for his team, Smartt believes his team, which won the 5A state championship last season, is once again a contender.
"We are blessed that we have almost 115 girls on this team and USA Swimming says build a base, so with a base of 115, if we do the right things, we will have lots of swimmers at state," said Smartt, who team hosted the Fairview Invitational on Friday afternoon at the South Boulder Rec Center.
"And hopefully we have more state qualifiers than any other team."
The Knights showed off their depth on Day 1, winning with a score of 505 points to Monarch's 253. Centaurus (160) was fifth and Broomfield (151) was sixth.
In addition to the all important depth, the Knights always have that core group of 5-7 swimmers that have the capability of scoring big time points. On Friday the stand-out was Amelie Lessing.
A member of the Knights dynamic sophomore class — who Smartt thinks in and of itself could be a top-five team at state — Lessing opened the meet with a win as part of the 200-yard medley relay and then captured both the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
"This is a lot different than club meets, but this was a lot of fun," Lessing said. "I really like the support and (coach Smartt) always gives me challenges before every race and I find that really helpful. I have a goal and I'm going after that goal."
In the 100 freestyle, Lessing — the daughter of world champion triathlon athlete Simon Lessing — was trailing after the first 50 yards to La Junta's Savannah Tice, but rallied, mostly in the final 15 yards to win in a state qualifying time of 55.11 seconds.
"The races are so close together and I'm really tired," Lessing said. "But I still have to go out there and try my best."
Lessing, who will likely swim the 500 freestyle at state, was five seconds faster than the field in the butterfly. She just missed the Fairview Invite record with her qual time of 1:00.65.
Fairview also won two of the three other individual events. Sophomore Julianna Haensly captured the 100 backstroke in a state qual time of 1:02.20 and Amelia Heckman won the 100 breaststroke.
"I was really impressed with Julianna, that is her first ever state qual," Smartt said. "What is really impressive is that she came to practice and did a one hour workout this morning and most of the girls skipped it so they could be a little stronger in the meet.
"But she understands that swimming morning practice is going to make her stronger when it counts later in the year."
Monarch sophomore Megan Mitchell won the 50 free in 26.77 seconds.
Centaurus, which will swim in the new Class 3A ranks this season, scored a victory in the 200 free relay. The quartet of Erika Schunk, Sarah Boyer, Jackie Boian and Skyler Riley won in an impressive 1:50.80.
At South Boulder Rec Center
Team scores — Fairview 'Knights' 505, Monarch 253, Horizon 238, ThunderRidge 166, Centaurus 160, Broomfield 151, Fairview 'Black' 144, La Junta 111, Fairview 'Red' 37.
200-yard medley relay — 1. Fairview (Julianna Haensly, Natalie Brent, Amelie Lessing, Amelia Heckman) 1:56.51*; 2. Horizon 2:00.51*; 3. Fairview 2:03.19*.
100 freestyle — 1. Amelie Lessing, Fairview, 55.11*; 2. Savannah Tice, La Junta, 55.89*; 3. Alex Guthrie, Fairview, 59.78.
200 breaststroke relay — 1. Fairview (Amelia Heckman, Lauren Rutherford, Sarah Thomas, Natalie Brent) 2:14.74; 2. Horizon 2:17.43; 3. Monarch 2:21.43.
100 butterfly — 1. Amelia Lessing, Fairview, 1:00.65*; 2. Quinn Webster, Monarch, 1:05.33; 3. Emily Moreland, La Junta, 1:08.20.
200 backstroke relay — 1. Fairview (Julianna Haensly, Sofija Andrew, Kathryn Boselli, Isabel Greenhut) 2:01.55; 2. ThunderRidge 2:08.16; 3. Centaurus 2:09.29.
50 freestyle — 1. Megan Mitchell, Monarch, 26.77; 2. Alex Guthrie, Fairview, 27.71; 3. Natalie Reck, Fairview, 28.38.
400 medley relay — 1. Horizon 4:31.69; 2. Monarch (Squid Morgenstein, Maddy Pius, Quinn Noonan, Sydney Atkinson) 4:34.87; 3. Fairview 4:39.97.
200 free relay — 1. Centaurus (Erika Schunk, Sarah Boyer, Jackie Boian, Skylar Riley) 1:50.80*; 2. Fairview 1:57.28; Broomfield 1:58.66.
100 backstroke — 1. Julianna Haensly, Fairview, 1:02.20*; 2. Emma Perkins, Fairview, 1:05.66; 3. Megan Mitchell, Monarch, 1:06.62.
200 butterfly relay — 1. Fairview (Alex Guthrie, Kira Patton, Sofija Andrew, Grace Butler) 2:00.74; 2. Horizon 2:01.30; 3. Monarch 2:01.44.
100 breaststroke — 1. Amelia Heckman, Fairview, 1:13.14; 2. Sydney Atkinson, Monarch, 1:13.56; 3. Natalie Brent, Fairview, 1:13.69.
400 free relay — 1. Fairview (Julianna Haensly, Isabel Greenhut, Kathryn Boselli, Alex Guthrie) 4:06.40; 2. La Junta 4:06.93; 3. Horizon 4:08.34.
* — denotes state-qualifying mark