THORNTON — Beginning the second half of the season, the top swimmers in the state are looking to build off what they did in the first month and see as many of their teammates excel with them.
For a team like the Monarch Coyotes, there is more anticipation in the air as they will drop to Class 4A for state this season, giving them a better chance to secure multiple spots in the state meet.
"This season, we could have a really big state team this year, and that's exciting," Monarch's Katey Lewicki said. "We already have about eight girls qualified for state compared to last year when we only had five. Everyone is excited and motivated. This is a whole other team."
Lewicki has been one of the top swimmers for the Coyotes this season and continued that trend at the Boulder County Invitational swim meet at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton. The junior started her day by helping the 200 medley relay team finish fifth and then took second place in the 200 freestyle in the first two events of the meet. She would also grab second place in the 100 butterfly.
"I think it's gone really well," Lewicki said. "I just have to keep pushing myself and having my teammates push me. I'm finding ways to go fast in practice and pace myself. I'm also just trying to have fun, because when I have fun, I swim well."
Behind Lewicki's efforts, coupled with a fourth-place finish in diving by Natalie Wright and scoring results from other individuals and relays, the Coyotes finished fifth with 345.50 points.
For other area teams, their top swimmers are looking to set the example to do well in the second half.
Sophia Romero and Kandice Chandra, two of the veterans for the Legacy Lightning, helped pull the weight Saturday with some key underclassmen swimmers out of the meet. Top-five finishes in the 100 butterfly from the duo and their work in relays saw the Lightning finish in fourth place.
Boulder was led by Emilia Culberson, another top swimmer keeping up with her pace from the first month of the season. Right after finishing fourth in the 500 freestyle, she helped the 200 freestyle relay team finish sixth and anchored the 400 freestyle relay to a third-place finish. Ella Ricco and Jordan Pederson placed in individual events as well to help the Panthers finish ninth in the team standings.
The Broomfield Eagles sent their diving team to compete and three girls reached the finals. Bryce Spencer led the way with 318.65 points, Abbi Garza was second at 299.80 and Liana Anderson rounded out the results with a 257.95.
Now back in the heart of the season, the focus and expectations are high for all the teams trying to end the season with success at state.
"We have to keep each other motivated and race the other girls in practice," Lewicki said. "No matter how hard the set it, we have to get after it."
Fairview shines with deep roster
The team with perhaps the highest of expectations is the Fairview Knights. With a deep lineup coming back from a state runner-up finish last year, the Knights have blown through the competition at most of their first few meets of the season.
The trend continued on Saturday with the Knights winning the BoCo swim meet with 860 points, doubling up the Rampart Rams who came in second.
Jenna Reznicek started the big day for the Knights in the third leg of the 200 medley relay, making up some ground and pulling the team to the front in the butterfly. A fast time and quick turn gave the Knights a big enough lead for Kaia Reznicek to hold on for the win in the final leg.
"I'm getting better in the fly," Jenna Reznicek said. "My coaches gave me some coaching on my breathing, so I'm trying to breathe once or twice. I've also just worked on fly a lot in practice."
Jenna's run continued by winning the 50 freestyle, leading the 400 freestyle relay to a tie for first place and finishing second in the 100 backstroke.
"So far, I feel like I've swam pretty well this season," Jenna said. "I think the Fairview team is working well together. I'm excited about our results for future meets."
Kaia Reznicek led all swimmers in the 100 butterfly while Isabel Rich won the 200 individual medley and Robin Cruz-Abrams won the 500 freestyle for the other top individual results for the Knights. The team would go on to secure 17 top-three finishes in 11 swimming events.
While Fairview has been impressive in their meets so far, they will face one of their toughest tests of the season Tuesday in a dual meet with the Fossil Ridge Sabercats, one of the top-ranked teams in Class 5A and a true challenger they will have to get through for the state title.
"We have to continue what we've been doing and continue being motivated," Jenna said. "We need to reach for our goals together and encourage each other. Every time we swim, we're doing a little bit better."
BoCo Swim Meet
At Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center
Team standings — Fairview 860, Rampart 409, Lewis-Palmer 388, Legacy 352.50, Monarch 345.50, Valor Christian 300.50, Columbine 278, Loveland 220, Boulder 164.50, Manitou Springs 124, Pueblo South 30, Broomfield 22.
200 medley relay — 1. Fairview A (Kirsten Lee, Isabel Rich, Jenna Reznicek, Kaia Reznicek) 1:47.01*; 2. Rampart (Claire Timson, Edenna Chen, Laelle Brovold, Lindsay Immel) 1:48.75*; 3. Fairview B (Julianna Haensly, Karolina Bank, Kim Lanaghen, Samantha Mosier) 1:50.75*.
200 freestyle — 1. Meredith Rees (Lewis-Palmer), 1:55.86*; 2. Katey Lewicki (Monarch) 1:56.05*; 3. Morgan Lukinac (Fairview), 1:58.71*.
200 IM — 1. Isabel Rich (Fairview), 2:10.56*; 2. Erin Lang (Loveland), 2:10.97*; 3. Edenna Chen (Rampart), 2:15.58*.
50 freestyle — 1. Jenna Reznicek (Fairview), 24.54*; 2. Lindsey Immel (Rampart), 24.67*; 3. Taylor Juran (Columbine), 24.91*.
Diving — 1. Maggie Buckley (Rampart), 455.50*; 2. Ashlyn Foster (Lewis-Palmer), 434.25*; 3. Natalie Wright (Lewis-Palmer), 408.10*.
100 butterfly — 1. Kaia Reznicek (Fairview), 57.74*; 2. Katey Lewicki (Monarch), 57.78*; 3. Kim Lanaghen (Fairview), 59.62*.
100 freestyle — 1. Lindsey Immel (Rampart), 53.96*; 2. Mackenzie Nedom (Loveland), 53.98*; 3. Taylor Juran (Columbine), 55.14*.
500 freestyle — 1. Robin Cruz-Abrams (Fairview), 5:14.39*; 2. Meredith Rees (Lewis-Palmer), 5:14.59*; 3. Heather Maclachlan (Fairview), 5:15.22*.
200 free relay — 1. Rampart 1:40.57; 2. Fairview B 1:40.71*; 3. Fairview A 1:42.18*.
100 backstroke — 1. Claire Timson (Rampart), 56.69*; 2. Jenna Reznicek (Fairview), 57.77*; 3. Kaia Reznicek (Fairview), 58.80*.
100 breaststroke — 1. Edenna Chen (Rampart), 1:04.63*; 2. Isabel Rich (Fairview), 1:06.77*; 3. Karolina Bank (Fairview), 1:10.26*.
400 free relay — T-1. Fairview B (Kaia Reznicek, Heather Maclachlan, Robin Cruz-Abrams, Helen Sun), 3:39.04*; T-1st. Fairview A (Jenna Reznicek, Kirsten Lee, Morgan Lukinack, Karolina Bank), 3:39.04*; 3. Boulder (Ella Riccio, Madison Larter, Bena Koehn, Emilia Culberson), 3:45.73*.
* — denotes state-qualifying mark