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BOULDER — In the eyes of Boulder boys swim coach Curt Colby, freshman distance specialist Nathan Rock took a significant step forward with his performance at the Boulder County Invitational two weekends ago.

His confidence buoyed from keeping pace with the area’s fastest racers, Rock’s standout rookie campaign continued on Tuesday, as Rock led a shorthanded Panthers squad to a 180-118 dual meet win against Monarch at the North Boulder Rec Center.

“I think I’m doing good, but there’s still some improvement I could go for,” Rock said. “I haven’t been getting to too many morning practices, and if I start getting to those I’ll be even more ready for state. As Curt said last night, we’re getting more in shape and I feel like we’ll still push forward as a team. We’re getting better.”

After finishing in the top five in both distance events at the BoCo Invitational, Rock captured first in the 200 and 500 freestyle races on Tuesday. Rock also anchored the Panthers’ winning effort in the 400 freestyle relay, helping a Panthers squad that was missing junior standout Christian Feiler to take first in seven of 12 events.

The other individual stars for Boulder included PJ Stapleton, who won the backstroke while taking second in the 500 free, and Mick Bartholomew, who took first in the individual medley and completed the Panthers’ sweep of the top three spots in the 500 free with a third-place finish.

“PJ had his best time in the backstroke and that was a really nice swim,” Colby said. “(Rock) was really excited after BoCo, and basically he’s been stepping up. He’s been saying ‘I want to do more,’ and that’s always nice to hear when he’s already one of the top swimmers on the team. He still wants to up the ante.

“I’m feeling good, but we still have some work to do. In some ways, there is a nice amount of time between BoCo and the state meet. We’re really working hard now to focus on the end of the season.”

The star for Monarch was senior Cort Sharp, who won an individual event for the Coyotes while helping to lead the club’s 200 freestyle relay team to another win.

Normally a sprint freestyle specialist, Sharp used the dual-meet format to try his hand at a couple different events while furthering his effort to earn a state qualification in each individual event. Sharp took first in the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.65 seconds and also finished second in the individual medley.

Sharp still is looking to add state qualifications in the 500 freestyle, the breaststroke, and the butterfly.

“Personally, I feel pretty excited,” Sharp said. “The times are coming along pretty good and I haven’t even swum my main events recently. My personal goal this year was too qualify in everything, and it’s nice to have a lot of different options.”

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Boulder 180, Monarch 118

At North Boulder Rec Center

200 medley relay — 1. Boulder A (Morgan Lewis, Mick Bartholomew, PJ Stapleton, Derek Lapp), 1:46.11; 2. Monarch A, 1:55.66; 3. Boulder B, 1:55.69.

200 freestyle — 1. Nathan Rock, Boulder, 1:52.60; 2. Morgan Lewis, Boulder, 1:59.40; 3. Ben Webb, Boulder, 2:05.79.

200 IM — 1. Mick Bartholomew, Boulder, 2:06.57; 2. Cort Sharp, Monarch, 2:09.00; 3. Adam Kealiher, Monarch, 2:13.35.

50 freestyle — 1. Derek Lapp, Boulder, 23.88; 2. Caelan Thom, Boulder, 24.73; 3. Thorsen Milton, Monarch, 25.08.

Diving — 1. Cody Jeffers, Monarch, 135.10; 2. Bennett Nelson, Monarch, 116.95; 3. Michael O’Hearne, Boulder, 105.00.

100 butterfly — 1. Cort Sharp, Monarch, 58.65; 2. Derek Lapp, Boulder, 1:02.11; 3. Nathan Johnson, Monarch, 1:03.59.

100 freestyle — 1. Adam Kealiher, Monarch, 51.56; 2. Caelan Thom, Boulder, 55.52; 3. Michael Hansen, Boulder, 59;l9.

500 freestyle — 1. Nathan Rock, Boulder, 5:03.43; 2. PJ Stapleton, Boulder, 5:22.19; 3. Mick Bartholomew, Boulder, 5:35.71.

200 free relay — 1. Monarch A (Cort Sharp, Jack Lacy, Thorsen Milton, Adam Kealiher), 1:35.43; 2. Boulder A, 1:37.94; 3. Boulder B, 1:45.05.

100 backstroke — 1. PJ Stapleton, Boulder, 58.02; 2. Morgan Lewis, Boulder, 1:02.57; 3. Will McCurdy, Boulder, 1:06.24.

100 breaststroke — 1. Nathan Johnson, Monarch, 1:11.61; 2. Bryce Thom, Boulder, 1:13.61; 3. Reed Kraus, Boulder, 1:13.83.

400 free relay — 1. Boulder A (Mick Bartholomew, Caelan Thom, Nathan Rock, PJ Stapleton), 3:37.58; 2. Monarch A, 3:41.93; 3. Boulder B, 4:05.31.



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