Early on in the girls swimming season, a name for Niwot popped up in the Class 4A rankings that was unfamiliar to pretty much everyone outside of the Cougars' circle, at least in the realm of prep swimming.
Mary Codevilla's name won't be shocking anyone, anymore.
The NHS freshman set herself up for a fantastic prep career in 2018-19, acclimating to the high school team scene and turning heads with her times in multiple strokes. Her early work set her up to race pretty much anything she desired at the 4A state meet in early February, and she obviously chose wisely coming out on top in the 200 individual medley and with a second place finish in the 500 free.
Several other area top times liken her to some of this decade's best, and for her work she has been named the 2019 BoCoPreps.com swimmer of the year.
"I set myself for pretty high expectations at state," Codevilla said. "Obviously winning was something I wanted to do, but I knew the competition was stiff and I just wanted to go out there and race as hard as I possibly could.
"I've been working really hard for club and high school and it's just nice to see that all pay off."
With Niwot's group growing in numbers lately — despite a new team over at Erie popping up — the Cougars had a fantastic run toward their runner-up team trophy at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center. At the center of that was a group of eager juniors and seniors that ushered along the likes of Codevilla and other underclassmen.
Codevilla said that her teammates helped her get used to being part of a group fighting for the whole, but at the same time she worked to be the best on the squad in every stroke.
That led to her being added to relays — important aspects of Niwot's final standing at state — and several competitive area times.
Her IM time in the state finals — 2 minutes, 3.99 seconds — topped the area, as did her 500 time of 5:01.19. Her 200 freestyle time (1:54.52) was top-four, as was her 100 breaststroke time (1:06.34).
"That's one of the things I try to work on in practice, I just try to do all the strokes and do the best I can in all of them," she said.
Again, Codevilla said the key to the season was the team making her feel comfortable and ready to take on challenges. The thought of a state competition can be overwhelming to some younger swimmers, but the team performance in the 200 medley relay of which she was on also spurred confidence later on.
"Our team is just incredible and there is just so much talent and competition within it, honestly, it's just so fun to have people like that by your side," Codevilla said. "No matter who wins, you're all scoring points toward one team.
"We started off with the 200 medley and all of us were trying to go as hard as we possibly could so we could place as high as we could, and when we looked up and saw that we had gotten fourth, we were all just shocked and it just got us off to such a good start."
Codevilla's name on the leaderboard helped make it a great finish.