BOULDER — There is nothing like a little individual international competition to spice up an early season girls high school swimming meet. Especially when one of the competitors is qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials and the other a junior national champion from her home country.
That was the situation in the 100-yard backstroke when Boulder freshman Haley Rowley-Wiest went up against Lewis-Palmer sophomore Frida Berggren in Friday’s Fairview Invitational Swimming Meet at the South Boulder Recreation Center. Could that race have been a preview of future Olympic and World competition?
Rowley-Wiest has already hit Olympic Trials qualifying times in the backstroke while Berggren is the reigning junior national champion in Sweden’s 200-meter butterfly and a top four-place winner in three other events.
On the starters whistle in the 100-yard backstroke, Rowley-Wiest came through with a super start to gain an edge she would not relinquish through the race. When the touches were made at the wall, Rowley-Wiest had the winning time of 58.46 seconds to Berggren’s 1:00.02. Both times, by the way, broke the meet record of 1:00.16.
“I was pretty confident and certainly pretty happy about the results,” said the 5-foot-4 Rowley-Wiest, who also helped the Panthers 400 medley relay team to a third-place finish. “I certainly was pushed and I think I may have gotten my best time. I never look around to see if anyone’s close, but I knew she was there.
“I think it’s unbelievable that I’m Olympic Trials qualified, too. The key is just to keep training hard to the best of my ability and give it all I have.”
Rowley-Wiest made it a two-record day, winning the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.56, breaking the old mark of 1:00.34. She teamed with Rainy Wlad-Mengering, Erin McLaughlin and Sayaka Kitabatake in the relay. Second went to Pueblo South’s Alex Divelbiss in 1:02.55.
“We don’t have high school or college swimming in Sweden, so this is a lot of fun,” Berggren said of her battle with Rowley-Wiest in the backstroke. “This was a good race, no doubt and we will probably meet again this season. I was second at home in the 400 freestyle, third in the 100 fly and fourth in the 400 individual medley.”
Rowley-Wiest’s win certainly had Boulder coach Curt Colby smiling.
“She went out in 29.06 and came back in 29.39,” Colby said. “That was a good one and (Berggren) was pulling hard at the end. Haley is still learning how to sprint. She is a very hard worker, serious about her sport and I’m thrilled to have her on the team.”
Lewis-Palmer won the team title with 421.5 points. Fairview, Monarch and Boulder, missing many of their top swimmers due to a club meet this weekend, finished second (282), fifth (133) and sixth (123), respectively.
Fairview’s Zoe Verhoeven was the only other Boulder County swimmer to pick up a victory, edging Lewis-Palmer’s Niki Russell with a time of 26.05 to Russell’s 26.17 in the 50-yard freestyle. She nearly had two blue ribbons but was nipped by Radha Kotilarsky of Highlands Ranch in the 100 freestyle, 56.88 seconds to Kotilarsky’s 56.59.
“It was a fun meet and I just wanted to go out as fast as I could,” said Verhoeven. “My times could have been better, but it’s early in the season. I’ll just keep the efforts hard at practice. That race was close, I just didn’t have the touch at the end.”
It was a runner-up kind of afternoon for Fairview when it came to the relays, all won by Lewis-Palmer.
The Fairview foursome of Jacqueline Reed, Kendra Werner, Jhana Gottliet and Julia Ting was second in the 200-yard backstroke relay with a time of 2:00.90 to the Rangers’ 2:00.32. Brooklyn Fano, Dana Gallup, Lindsey Fano and Caitlin Reck swam 2:19.79 to the Rangers’ 2:11.43 in the 200 breaststroke relay. And the Knights’ Werner, Rosie Irwin, Ting and Lindsey Fano swam 4:33.17 to the Rangers’ 4:30.44 in the 400 IM relay.
Team scores — Lewis-Palmer 421.5, Fairview 282, Rampart 248, Highlands Ranch 169.5, Monarch 133, Boulder 123, Pueblo South 95.5, La Junta 85.5, Fairview Black 46, Fairvew Red 45, Castle View 32, Douglas County 31.
200 medley relay — 1.Lewis-Palmer (Jessie Chappell, Laura Day, Shannon Babcock, Niki Russell) 1:56.06; 2. Highlands Ranch, 1:56.80; 3. Rampart, 2:00.98; 4. Monarch, 2:02.53.
100 freestyle — 1. Radha Kotilarsky, Highlands Ranch, 56.59; 2. Zoe Verhoeven, Fairview, 56.88; Olga Britton, Lewis-Palmer, 57.64.
200 breaststroke relay– Lewis-Palmer (Frida Berggren, Rachel Kriete, Katie Roh, Laura Day) 2:11.43; 2. Fairview, 2:19.79; 3. La Junta, 2:21.68; 5. Monarch, 2:27.16.
100 butterfly — 1. Haley Rowley-Wiest, Boulder, 58.56; Alex Divelbiss, Pueblo South, 1:02.55; Hanna Hartel, Lewis-Palmer, 1:02.67.
200 backstroke relay — 1. Lewis-Palmer (Hanna Hartel, Olga Britton, Jessie Chappell, Alexis Hess) 2:00.32; 2. Fairview, 2:00.90; 3. Fairview, 2:04.06; 4. Fairview, 2:09.74.
50 freestyle — 1. Zoe Verhoeven, Fairview, 26.05; Niki Russell, Lewis-Palmer, 26.17; Radha Kotilarsky, 26.66; 5. Cori Orr, Boulder, 27.52; 6. Rachel Conway, Fairview, 27.63.
400 IM relay — 1. Lewis-Palmer (Olga Britton, Alexis Hess, Rachel Kriete, Frida Berggren), 4:30.44; 2. Fairview, 4:33.17; 3. Boulder, 4:38.48; 5. Monarch, 4:45.68.
200 free relay — 1. Lewis-Palmer (Laura Day, Katie Roh, Bella Bains, Niki Russell), 1:47.95; 2. Rampart, 1:49.95; 3. Fairview, 1:50.19; 6. Monarch,
100 backstroke — 1. Haley Rowley-Wiest, Boulder, 58.46; Frida Berggren, Lewis-Palmer, 1:00.02; 3. Gabrielle Liedy, Highlands Ranch, 1:02.26; 6. Jhana Gottlieb, Fairview, 1:05.66.
200 butterfly relay — 1. Lewis-Palmer (Hanna Hartel, Rachel Kriete, Olga Britton, Shannon Babcock), 1:57.46; 2. Pueblo South, 2:00.15; 3. Fairview, 2:00.58; 6. Boulder, 2:07.00.
100 breaststroke — 1. Laura Day, Lewis-Palmer, 1:07.97; Leah Roberson, La Junta, 1:11.90; Lindsey Fano, 1:12.46.
400 free relay — 1. Lewis-Palmer (Frida Berggren, Hanna Hartel, Shannon Babcock, Niki Russell), 3:44.64; 2. Highlands Ranch, 3:47.39; 3. Pueblo South, 3:51.74; 4. Fairview, 3:55.10; 6. Boulder, 3:59.27.