Longmont's stint as a Class 3A girls swim and dive team was short-lived, and there's no doubt the Trojans and specifically sophomore Lucy Matheson seized the opportunity to be downright great this past season.
Here's the thing, though — they aren't going to go away in 4A. The challenge will be extensive, but Longmont has grown quickly in numbers and talent, giving them a chance to figure prominently next winter.
The future is bright, but in looking at the past season, Matheson ended up being the area's most accomplished swimmer. Not only did she win an individual state title, but her accomplishments in individual events and relays paved the way for the Trojans to win their first ever team title in the sport.
For her efforts, Matheson has been named as the BoCoPreps.com girls swimmer of the year.
"The first words that come to mind are amazing, so fun and so successful, and I already can't wait for next year," said Matheson, who is preparing for the Speedo Four Corners Sectionals next week in Phoenix. "When I finished not exactly where I wanted to last year, all I wanted to do was work to get a state title this year. It was in the back of my head all season while in practice and in training."
Just like last year as a freshman, Matheson threatened to be a double-event winner at the 3A state meet in early February at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.
In the 200 individual medley, an event she placed third in last year, she demolished the field by more than 2.5 seconds after locking down the top preliminary time a day earlier. Her time of 2:08.86 was gold-standard and gave her the first of what could be several individual state golds.
Her signature high school event may be the 500 freestyle and for the second straight year her state finals time was a season best and netted her second place to D'Evelyn's Abbey Selin.
The gap between the senior Selin and the younger Matheson narrowed considerably in a year's time — Selin's 5:04.87 was just one second better than Matheson (5:05.98). In the area, only Fairview's Amelie Lessing posted a better time (5:05.56 at the Coaches Invite).
Matheson added to her collection with a pair of second-place relay finishes for the Trojans. The team rebounded from a slow preliminary posting in the 200 medley relay to finish second, and LHS secured its first team title with their 400 free relay standing at the meet's end.
During the season, Matheson also was the Northern League champion in the 200 free and 500 free.
A team-first, racing-savvy student-athlete, Matheson said she was happy with being able to end with season-best times and with her team coming out on top. Head coach Kelly Shipley said Matheson's attitude and talent have played a major role in the team's pursuit of excellence the past couple of seasons.
"I think we just got stronger as finals went on. It felt like we wanted it more and more after every event," Matheson added. "I wanted to win the 200 individual medley for my team and not just for myself. When that happened, it just felt like a good way to start the rest of our finals and get everyone excited."
"She is 100 percent for her team, and she just loves being a part of this high school program. She just likes to be there for the girls," Shipley said. "Her swimming talents speak for themselves, but even more for who she is as a person, we're so glad to have her."