THORNTON — In the case of the girls swimming team at Longmont, Trojan Nation has quite a few allies.
In winning the team title at the Class 3A state swimming and diving championships on Friday evening at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton, the trophy that will grace the halls of LHS in the coming years would not have happened without them.
Lucille Matheson, a Longmont sophomore, knows it full well. With girls from Mead and Erie joining forces with the Trojans to represent the St. Vrain Valley School District on the squad — they were a force that pushed the team over the top.
To show they were one team, they got in a couple of Trojans chants at the end of their celebratory dip in the pool.
"It's really nice because it feels like everyone comes in to be part of 'Trojan Nation' and it's not just from our school," Matheson said after LHS edged Pueblo County and Kent Denver to win its first state title in the sport. "Mead and Erie had the walk of champions before we came and picked them up, and it was exciting to see that. It made us really excited."
One will find other girls from Mead and Erie swimming for 4A Silver Creek and Niwot, and the same could be said as those teams have positioned themselves well in their classification's meet.
It's a unique aspect of how the Trojans grew almost overnight into a contender after finishing 15th in last year's 3A meet.
Senior Hannah Svendsen is one of those girls who claims full allegiance to Mead but swims proudly for Longmont. Along with her sister Emma, a freshman, they helped with big points in individual events as well as Longmont's two best relays — the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay.
"Our team is a St. Vrain group, and it's cool because you get to meet new people that you might not have never known otherwise," said Hannah Svendsen, who placed fourth in the 200 individual medley and sixth in the 100 breaststroke. "I've made friends with girls at Erie, which I hope last forever, and the same with Longmont girls."
Coming off league championships around the state, the 3A meet was expected to be pretty close between Pueblo County and the Trojans. After Thursday's preliminary swims, Longmont dropped a couple of potential scoring swims (going from 15 seeded to score down to 13) and also dropped to fifth in the opening 200 medley relay seeding.
Those statistics alone could have had the Hornets as heavy favorites going to finals.
But the Trojans got started on the high note — coming back to place second in the medley relay. The team of Emma Svendsen, Kaitlyn Yee, Matheson and Hannah Svendsen swam a time of 1 minute, 52.72 seconds and that created the framework for the rest of Friday's finals.
Matheson was Longmont's only individual winner, becoming a first time state champion by winning the 200 IM (2:08.86), and she would later make a great race out of the 500 free to finish second (5:05.98).
Longmont's 200 free relay team won the consolation heat, and the little things like that started to add up for the Trojans. Sydney Wyatt moved a couple spots in the 100 breaststroke consolation heat, as did Emma Svendsen in the backstroke.
And as Pueblo County's 400 free relay team failed to finish first in the consolation heat — that opened the door for Longmont to go out loose in the championship final. The Svendsen sisters, Samantha Rhodes and Matheson combined to drop five seconds off their prelim time, set a school record, and secure the overall team title.
"I think why we did so great today was because we remembered to smile and have fun," Hannah Svendsen said.
Longmont finished with 203 points, while Pueblo County had 183 and Kent Denver had 180.
"I think (Thursday) was a blessing because the whole week there was just so much hype, and I was honestly worried about that a bit," Longmont coach Kelly Shipley said. "I think we got brought down into a reality check, but then I also knew what they were capable of. To see them bring it back in, that was awesome."
Thursday's prelims had Centaurus in a position to place well, too, and the Warriors saw another young performer swim big in Sydney Brooker. The sophomore was not slated to make finals in either of her individual events coming in, but ended up placing 14th in the 100 free and 12th in the 100 back.
The Warriors also saw senior Erika Schunk place fourth in the breaststroke and sixth in the 100 free, and points in all three relays helped the Warriors to fifth place.
It was a topsy-turvy season for Centaurus overall as they lost their head coaches right before the start of the season. But interim coaches Cort Sharp, Leigh Dodd and Jordan Burns Schneider got the team on a straight path quickly.
"It was a great weekend. I haven't swam in three years and I think coming back to it is one of the best choices I've ever made," Brooker said. "This weekend just made me realize being part of a team is amazing.
"It was such a mess at the beginning, but the team just stayed together and we found some great coaches."
Class 3A Swimming and Diving Championships
At Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center
Team scores — Longmont 203, Pueblo County 183, Kent Denver 180, St. Mary's Academy 169, Centaurus 158, Colorado Academy 145, D'Evelyn 141, Aspen 134, Discovery Canyon 125, Glenwood Springs 111, Manitou Springs 110, Durango 106, Thomas Jefferson 90, Estes Park 79, Salida 78, Eaton 50, La Junta 36, Conifer 34, Gunnison 30, Summit 28, Green Mountain 26, Fountain Valley 18, Holyoke 15, Delta 9, Denver North 4.
200 medley relay — 1. Pueblo County (Liberato, Blickensderfer, Maurello, Musso), 1:51.06; 2. Longmont (E. Svendsen, Yee, Matheson, H. Svendsen), 1:52.72; 3. Manitou Springs, 1:53.08; 6. Centaurus (Brooker, Schunk, Jenkins, Boyer), 1:56.99.
200 freestyle — 1. Abbey Selin, D'Evelyn, 1:53.04; 2. Lilly Brooks, St. Mary's Academy, 1:53.93; Elise Mishmash, Salida, 1:56.58; 5. Emma Svendsen, Longmont, 2:00.30; 8. Samantha Rhodes, Longmont, 2:06.96; 11. Megan Franco, Centaurus, 2:05.30.
200 IM — 1. Lucy Matheson, Longmont, 2:08.86; 2. Sydney Dolloff-Holt, Manitou Springs, 2:11.59; 3. Caitlin Beery, Thomas Jefferson, 2:13.18; 4. Hannah Svendsen, Longmont, 2:13.45; 7. Mckenzie Jenkins, Centaurus, 2:20.06; 14. Isabella Brakhage, Centaurus, 2:27.00.
50 freestyle — 1. Caitlin Cairns, St. Mary's, 24.19; 2. Anne Younger, Colorado Academy, 24.27; 3. Aly Gallagher, Colorado Academy, 24.42.
Diving — 1. Kylie Behn, Durango, 381.35; 2. Retta Smith, St. Mary's 380.70; 3. Campbell Patteson, Kent Denver, 373.30.
100 butterfly — 1. Amanda Blickensderfer, Pueblo County, 56.72; 2. Caitlin Carins, St. Mary's, 56.88; 3. Sydney Silver, St. Mary's Academy, 59.06.
100 freestyle — 1. Aly Gallagher, Colorado Academy, 53.12; 2. Elise Mishmash, Salida, 53.40; 3. Anne Younger, Colorado Academy, 53.85; 6. Erika Schunk, Centaurus, 56.45; 10. Lara Franco, Centaurus, 57.03; 14. Sydney Brooker, Centaurus, 59.06.
500 freestyle — 1. Abbey Selin, D'Evelyn, 5:04.87; 2. Lucille Matheson, Longmont, 5:05.98; 3. Lillianna Brooks, St. Mary's Academy, 5:10.26.
200 free relay — 1. Pueblo County (Maurello, Blickensderfer, Krinsky, Musso), 1:39.84; 2. Aspen, 1:41.39; 3. Colorado Academy, 1:42.13; 9. Longmont (Yee, Maining, Olson, Rhodes), 1:45.83; 10. Centaurus (Maddocks, Spakes, Boain, L. Franco), 1:47.19.
100 backstroke — 1. Sydney Silver, St. Mary's Academy, 55.74; 2. Davy Brown, Aspen, 56.79; 3. Emily Driscoll, Aspen, 58.69; 4. Emma Svendsen, Longmont, 59.54; 9. Lara Franco, Centaurus, 1:03.32; 12. Sydney Brooker, Centaurus, 1:05.54.
100 breaststroke — 1. Amanda Blickensderfer, Pueblo County, 1:05.69; 2. Sydney Dolloff-Holt, Manitou Springs, 1:05.96; 3. Emily Moreland, La Junta, 1:07.14; 4. Erika Schunk, Centaurus, 1:10.63; 6. Hannah Svendsen, Longmont, 1:10.87; 7. McKenzie Jenkins, Centaurus, 1:11.14; 9. Isabella Brakhage, Centaurus, 1:12.80; 12. Sydney Wyatt, Longmont, 1:14.78; 16. Sarah Boyer, Centaurus, 1:16.95.
400 free relay — 1. St. Mary's Academy (Faddick, Fruhwirth, Brooks, Silver), 3:41.11; 2. Longmont (E. Svendsen, H. Svendsen, Rhodes, Matheson), 3:41.50; 7. Centaurus (Brooker, L. Franco, Jenkins, Schunk), 3:51.50.