FORT COLLINS - Even though it was their first high school state championships, Niwot freshmen Abigail Shaw and Payten Irwin weren't intimidated as two of only a few ninth-graders in the field on Friday.

Well, maybe they were a little. But that didn't stop them from swimming fast.

With their performances in the preliminary round of the Class 4A state meet at Edora Pool Ice Center on Friday, both Shaw and Irwin qualified to return in Saturday's finals. Whatever happens then, each has already assured themselves at least one medal.

"We were a little scared coming into it because this is our first big high school meet," Shaw said. "But once we got in the water, the nerves went away. Our team also made it back in both relays in the A-heat, which is really cool. Peyton is a really good friend of mine so it was a really fun experience."

In her state meet debut, Irwin placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.08 seconds. Shaw placed eighth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 59.04.

Both Irwin and Shaw swam legs on the Cougars' 200 freestyle relay (Chase Balman, Shaw, Kristi Vu and Irwin) that placed eighth in 1:42.36 and the 400 freestyle relay (Balman, Hann Luo, Shaw and Irwin) that also placed eighth with a time of 3:43.43. Both relays qualified for the finals, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"I love high school swimming so today was so much fun," Irwin said. "With all the really good swimmers racing, it's really exciting. Abbey is like my best friend, too, so I'm really happy we get to spend our four years of high school together."


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For the Silver Creek Raptors, who placed fifth in the team scoring last season, junior Brandi Vu placed the highest individually, taking fifth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:09.88 and sixth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.23. Vu's junior teammate Megan Magill took sixth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:57.57 and senior Sara Findley placed eighth in the 100 freestyle in 54.49.

Also returning for Saturday's finals, the Silver Creek 200 medley relay (Nicole Schlegel, Vu, Findley and Jenny Weygandt) finished eighth in 1:51.03 and the Raptors' 400 freestyle relay (Magill, Findley, Schlegel and Vu) took fifth in 3:41.53.

The preliminary rounds for the diving event will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The diving finals will be held along with the rest of the swimming finals on Saturday afternoon.

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

Class 4A girls swimming state championships

At Eldora Pool Ice Center

200 medley relay — 1. Cheyenne Mountain (Harper Lehman, Sophia Bricker, Cat Wright, Maggie Tibbitt), 1:45.29; 2. Heritage, 1:45.77; 3. Valor Christian, 1:47.70; 4. Rampart, 1:47.74; 5. Evergreen, 1:48.48; 6. Windsor, 1:50.67; 7. Pine Creek, 1:50.76; 8. Silver Creek, 1:51.03.

200 freestyle — 1. Lainee Jones, Pueblo South, 1:52.97; 2. Kate McDonald, Evergreen, 1:53.53; 3. Maggie Tibbitt, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:54.56; 4. Katherine Harston, Heritage, 1:55.06; 5. Abbey Owenby, Valor Christian, 1:56.18; 6. Meghan Magill, Silver Creek, 1:57.57; 7. Frances Hayward, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:57.69; 8. Danielle Roney, Highlands Ranch, 1:57.99.

200 IM — 1. Morgan Friesen, Windsor, 2:06.18; 2. Ella Kirschke, Valor Christian, 2:08.01; 3. Katelyn Knechel, Evergreen, 2:08.02; 4. Catriona Clarke, Rampart, 2:09.30; 5. Brandi Vu, Silver Creek, 2:09.88; 6. Harper Lehman, Cheyenne Mountain, 2:10.17; 7. Aleks Olesiak, Air Academy, 2:10.65; 8. Sophia Bricker, Cheyenne Mountain, 2:11.56.

50 freestyle — 1. Lindsay Stenstrom, Valor Christian, 24.18; 2. Aimee Burton, Highlands Ranch, 24.48; 3. Emma Spotts, Heritage, 24.59; t4. Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain, 24.62; t4. Sofia Zinis, Mullen, 24.62; 6. Allana Clarke, Rampart, 24.68; 7. Paris Binard, Air Academy, 25.00; 8. Claire Neid, George Washington, 25.17.

100 butterfly — 1. Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain, 56.11; 2. Madison Hoehn, Valor Christian, 57.67; 3. Katherine Harston, Heritage, 57.75; 4. Payten Irwin, Niwot, 58.08; 5. Allana Clarke, Rampart, 58.09; 6. Aimee Burton, Highlands Ranch, 58.77; 7. Haylee Buyers, Thompson Valley, 59.93; 8. Kara Coughlin, Evergreen, 59.68.

100 freestyle — 1. Kylie Andrews, Heritage, 50.57; 2. Lainee Jones, Pueblo South, 51.79; 3. Audrey Reimer, Fort Collins, 52.36; 4. Lindsay Stenstrom, Valor Christian, 52.55; 5. Katelyn Knechel, Evergreen, 52.77; 6. Maggie Tibbitt, Cheyenne Mountain, 52.78; 7. Christina Crane, Evergreen, 53.52; 8. Sara Findley, Silver Creek, 54.49.

500 freestyle — 1. Erin Lang, Loveland, 5:05.31; 2. Kate McDonald, Evergreen, 5:05.87; 3. Abbey Owenby, Valor Christian, 5:07.96; 4. Josie Carpenter, Greeley West, 5:10.56; 5. Clare Sanderson, Cheyenne Mountain, 5:12.82; 6. Frances Hayward, Cheyenne Mountain, 5:13.33; 7. Lauren Vilms, Evergreen, 5:13.95; 8. Madi Hunter, Fort Collins, 5:17.59.

200 free relay — 1. Rampart (Catriona Clarke, Raegan Hamilton, Edenna Chen, Allana Clarke), 1:39.53; 2. Cheyenne Mountain, 1:39.90; 3. Heritage, 1:39.96; 4. Evergreen, 1:40.45; 5. George Washington, 1:41.51; 6. Highlands Ranch, 1:41.65; 7. Valor Christian, 1:42.05; 8. Niwot, 1:42.36.

100 backstroke — 1. Kylie Andrews, Heritage, 55.65; 2. Audrey Reimer, Fort Collins, 56.73; 3. Harper Lehman, Cheyenne Mountain, 57.45; 4. Kara Coughlin, Evergreen, 57.46; 5. Haylee Buyers, Thompson Valley, 58.18; 6. Madison Hoehn, Valor Christian, 58.53; 7. Erin Lang, Loveland, 58.69; 8. Abigail Shaw, Niwot, 59.04.

100 breaststroke — 1. Morgan Friesen, Windsor, 1:03.27; 2. Emma Spotts, Heritage, 1:04.09; 3. Aleks Olesiak, Air Academy, 1:04.36; 4. Edenna Chen, Rampart, 1:04.65; 5. Sophia Bricker, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:05.36; 6. Brandi Vu, Silver Creek, 1:06.23; 7. Elise Johnson, Greeley West, 1:06.84; 8. Jamie Siegler, Valor Christian, 1:07.22.

400 free relay — 1. Valor Christian (Lindsay Stenstrom, Ella Kirschke, Madison Hoehn, Abbey Owenby), 3:33.97; 2. Evergreen, 3:34.63; 3. Heritage, 3:36.47; 4. Cheyenne Mountain, 3:36.79; 5. Silver Creek, 3:41.53; 6. Windsor, 3:42.87; 7. Highlands Ranch, 3:43.18; 8. Niwot, 3:43.43.