Rooney: Heartbreaking exit for Arapahoe swim team at Coaches Invitational

Before the annual Colorado Coaches Invitational on Saturday, I was able to take a few minutes to catch up with Arapahoe swim coach Mike Richmond.

Richmond was one of the first coaches I became acquainted with when I began covering preps for the Rocky Mountain News during the 2000-01 school year, and I always enjoy catching up with Richmond when we cross paths at the Coaches Invitational or the state finals.

Our early conversation Saturday was clearly off the record, so I won’t recount what Richmond told me about how his club has been dealing with the grief following the shooting at Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13 that left senior Claire Davis critically wounded, except to say that Richmond was proud of how his club, like the entire Arapahoe community, had come together.

By the end of the meet, the Warriors were tested even more painfully, and it had nothing to do with anything that was transpiring in the water.

Late in Saturday’s meet word began to spread that Davis had perished due to her injuries. Even though Arapahoe still was slated to swim in the 400 freestyle relay, the team opted to exit the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center early, with most of the Warriors holding on to each other while fighting tears.

Richmond politely declined to make an official comment, saying only, “It’s just sad. Very, very sad.”

Here’s hoping Richmond’s Warriors, as well as the entire Arapahoe community, continues to find solace in one another over the holiday weekend.

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