Perhaps not since the semifinal showdown in boys soccer between Boulder and Fairview in the fall of 2012 have the two schools had one specific event to look forward to as much as this weekend’s Class 5A State Swimming and Diving Championships.
While Regis appears to be in line for the team title on pure depth, second place could very well come down to a few points between the Panthers and the Knights.
Last winter’s girls meet will be hard to top as far as down-to-the-wire excitement, but it should close between those two squads throughout the meet. Here are six athletes who have a chance to do really well at state:
1. Miles MacKenzie, Fairview — Douglas County’s JP Beach holds the state’s top times in the 50 and 100 freestyle, but almost anything goes when it comes to those events at state. MacKenzie, last year’s 100 free champ, is currently seeded fourth in that event, less than seven-tenths behind Beach. In the 50, he is locked in at third, about a half-second behind him.
2. Christian Feiler, Boulder — Feiler will likely be faster than his 21.48 seed in the 50 at state, and should be able to improve his placing from last year when he was fifth. A top three finish in the 100 backstroke is also very possible for the Panthers’ top gun.
3. Alex Walton, Fairview — The Knights distance specialist could go top-four in both the 200 and 500 freestyles, and a 4:40 in the 500 is attainable. His 200 will be important, though, with not a lot of spacing between the 3-7 seeds in that event.
4. Chris Nicholson, Boulder — Nicholson sits right on the bubble between finals heats and consols in both the 100 backstroke (ninth) and 100 free (eighth). If he gets into the final heat in both events, that could pay huge for BHS.
5. Michael Zarian, Fairview — Zarian is likely one of the fastest freshmen in the state, and he’ll be in a unique position in both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke as he goes up against almost all juniors and seniors. His time of 1:55.21 in the IM is the FHS record, and that could be good enough for a third place in the event. A top-six in the back, an event he basically volunteered for to help the team this year, is within reach.
6. Duncan Lester, Fairview — As noted in Thursday’s prep feature, Lester brings something to the table the Knights haven’t had in a while, that being a diver that can score hopefully big points for them. Even a 12th place finish, which Lester should easily surpass, would give the Knights five points that could be the difference in bragging rights over the Panthers.
Of note, with the two teams being so closely projected in points, the 400 freestyle relay could be one of those great finishes, even if Regis has already claimed the team title. Boulder is seeded first in 5A (3:11.22), but Fairview is right behind them in second (3:12.38).