Girls swimming: Rhodes turns in solid pinch-hit effort for Skyline

David R. Jennings / Daily Camera
Niwot diver Maddie Barkow placed third at the annual Boulder County Invitational.

THORNTON — With Fairview and its 130 swimmers ruling the pool at the Boulder County Invitational on Saturday afternoon, the St. Vrain schools that competed at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton seemed to take a lighter approach to a fast meet.

Any event win would have been a bonus — and Silver Creek’s Brandi Vu did manage to sneak one for the 4A schools — but new state cuts were some of the primary goals for the Raptors, Niwot and Skyline.

For some, the elite competition in facing a Knights team that annually competes for the Class 5A state title helped bring out their best, and for others it may have been as simple as swimming alongside a good friend.

Such was the case for Skyline freshman Sam Rhodes, who squeaked out her first-ever state-qualifying time in the 100 backstroke as the meet was winding down. With a familiar face in Silver Creek’s Sara Findley swimming next to her, Rhodes got the extra boost she needed to achieve that special feat.

“Her being there helped me out a lot, really,” Rhodes said after posting a time of 1 minute, 6.64 seconds in the event. “She was right beside me, and keeping up with her as best as I could, it worked.

“I’ve been trying to get it forever, and I am just so happy to get it here. I almost had a heart attack because I was so excited.”

For Skyline, Rhodes has been a breath of fresh air, especially the past couple weeks. The Falcons have had issues getting star Mackenzie Dwyer healthy — she missed Saturday with sickness — and Rhodes has been taking her place in the SHS relays.

She filled in on the 200 free relay Saturday, and the Falcons hit a state qualifying time of 1:47.96.

“She’s been relatively close on her backstroke the whole season, and finally today she hit it spot on,” Skyline coach Karolyn Schultz said. “We’ve been struggling the last couple weeks, so it was cool to see her do it.

“Mackenzie’s been sick, and when she’s better she just strengthens our team. We’ve put Sam in for Mackenzie in that relay, and she is holding our own which is really nice. Our times overall are starting to come back down again.”

Freshmen excelling in a big meet was a common theme for the St. Vrain schools, even if they were not rested for this meet. Skyline also had Hannah Svendsen’s seventh-place finish in the 500 free, and Emma Pearson gave Silver Creek another first-time state qualifier in the same race.

Nikki Schlegel and Vu helped Silver Creek’s 200 medley relay team to a fourth-place finish (1:54.96), and Vu turned heads in the 100 breaststroke by defeating the likes of Sidney Andrew (Fairview) and Courtney Roeber (Monarch).

Vu’s time in the breaststroke was 1:07.34, but she actually dropped time in her other event, the 100 freestyle (57 seconds flat).

“We had a lot of girls swimming different events and we definitely didn’t go with fast suits because we just aren’t at that point,” said Silver Creek coach Debbie Stewart, whose squad placed seventh out of 11 teams. “Emma had a big drop in her 500, so we are very excited for her. With Brandi, we can put her in any event we want and we know she’ll step up for us.

“This meet for us was, try some different events and see where we might alter the lineup for conference.”

Most of Niwot’s best finishes came in the relays, but the Cougars did receive a third-place finish from Maddie Barkow in diving and a solid day from senior Jessie Moore.

Moore already knew the feeling of punching her ticket to state, having qualified her sophomore year in the 50 free, but after missing out last season finally re-gained that feat last week. On Saturday, she cut three-tenths more off that time, finishing at 26.29 seconds as the second-best 4A competitor and 15th overall.

“I feel like I had a good day, and a strong day, and hopefully I can get under 26,” Moore said. “I actually wasn’t stressed out because I had the state qual, and so it was just about working on technique. I’m glad I got it this year.”

Taking place at VMAC for the third year, a mind-boggling 176 state cuts were hit in the meet.

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Team Scores —
Fairview 902, Monarch 567, Boulder 439, Loveland 367, Broomfield 277, Centaurus 258, Silver Creek 253, Skyline 201, Niwot 201, Denver North 59, Longmont 42.

200 medley relay — 1. Fairview (Julia Box, Sidney Andrew, Sienna Stonesmith, Maggie Hearn), 1:50.33*; 2. Monarch A, 1:54.65*; 3. Fairview B, 1:54.76*; 4. Silver Creek A, 1:54.96^; 5. Boulder A, 1:55.12*; 6. Loveland A, 1:57.53*; 7. Broomfield A, 1:58.40*; 8. Fairview C, 1:59.58*.

200 freestyle — 1. Brittney Beetcher, Fairview, 1:54.10*; 2. Brooke Hansen, Loveland, 1:55.04*; 3. Adee Weller, Fairview, 1:57.06*; 4. Madelaine McClain, Broomfield, 2:00.56*; 5. Aiden Ausley, Fairview, 2:00.68*; 6. Olivia Phillips, Fairview, 2:01.97*; 7. Hannah Dorris, Boulder, 2:04.95*; 8. Merritt Shepherd, Centaurus, 2:05.65^.

200 IM — 1. Haley Rowley, Centaurus, 2:05.23^; 2. Sandra Freeman, Fairview, 2:10.13*; 3. Josie Valette, Boulder, 2:11.04*; 4. Sidney Andrew, Fairview, 2:11.32*; 5. Elizabeth Peterson, Broomfield, 2:11.87*; 6. Lauren Adler, Fairview, 2:19.21*; 7. Alec Haukeness, Boulder, 2:19.85; 8. Hannah Svendsen, Skyline, 2:20.04^.

50 freestyle — 1. Sidney Trimm, Monarch, 24.35*; 2. Courtney Roeber, Monarch, 24.56*; 3. Jessie Li, Fairview, 24.80*; 4. Sienna Stonesmith, Fairview, 25.44*; 5. Elizabeth Peterson, Broomfield, 25.46*; 6. Logan Tidstrom, Fairview, 25.65*; 7. Victoria Felton, Fairview, 25.72*; 8. Jennica Kelm, Monarch, 25.88.

Diving — 1. Julia Benz, Fairview, 461.55*; 2. Grace Newell, Monarch, 456.00*; 3. Maddie Barkow, Niwot, 447.35^; 4. Megan Oldham, Skyline, 425.70^; 5. Savannah Magness, Monarch, 408.60*; 6. Logan English, Loveland, 359.15*; 7. Katie Conn, Broomfield, 341.55*; 8. Samantha Scarano, Centaurus, 338.90^.

100 butterfly — 1. Julia Box, Fairview, 57.09*; 2. Aiden Ausley, Fairview, 1:01.38*; 3. Brie Yost, Monarch, 1:02.36*; 4. Sadie Matthews, Fairview, 1:02.70*; 5. Sara Findley, Silver Creek, 1:02.95^; 6. Greta Dunn, Fairview, 1:02.96*; 7. Molly Box, Fairview, 1:03.51; 8. Miranda Sullivan, Boulder, 1:03.56.

100 freestyle — 1. Sidney Trimm, Monarch, 52.64*; 2. Madelaine McClain, Broomfield, 54.12*; 3. Jessie Li, Fairview, 54.85*; 4. Logan Tidstrom, Fairview, 55.53*; 5. Cailen Chinn, Fairview, 55.57*; 6. Sarah Dalgleish, Fairview, 56.46*; 7. Grace Payton, Loveland, 56.78; 8. Brandi Vu, Silver Creek, 57.00^.

500 freestyle — 1. Haley Rowley, Centaurus, 4:56.38^#; 2. Brittney Beetcher, Fairview, 5:04.92*; 3. Adee Weller, Fairview, 5:09.46*; 4. Sandra Freeman, Fairview, 5:14.95*; 5. Brie Yost, Monarch, 5:24.02*; 6. Miranda Sullivan, Boulder, 5:26.12*; 7. Hannah Svendsen, Skyline, 5:28.36^; 8. Olivia Phillips, Fairview, 5:28.89*.

200 free relay — 1. Fairview A (Michaela Mullison, Sidney Andrew, Jessi Li, Brittney Beetcher), 1:39.97*; 2. Monarch A, 1:41.45*; 3. Centaurus A, 1:42.72^; 4. Fairview B, 1:43.22*; 5. Loveland A, 1:44.67*; 6. Boulder A, 1:46.44*; 7. Silver Creek A, 1:47.14^; 8. Fairview D, 1:47.18*.

100 backstroke — 1. Brooke Hansen, Loveland, 58.60*; 2. Josie Valette, Boulder, 59.49*; 3. Lizi Bolles, Fairview, 1:00.33*; 4. Aza Verhoenven, Fairview, 1:00.87*; 5. Julia Box, Fairview, 1:01.02*; 6. Cailen Chinn, Fairview, 1:01.66*; 7. Kiana Junior, Fairview, 1:02.26*; 8. Jenna Hattendorf, Fairview, 1:02.36*.

100 breaststroke — 1. Brandi Vu, Silver Creek, 1:07.34^; 2. Sidney Andrew, Fairview, 1:07.50*; 3. Courtney Roeber, Monarch, 1:08.51*; 4. Chloe Vincent, Fairview, 1:09.55*; 5. Hannah Dorris, Boulder, 1:10.39*; 6. Quinn Adams, Fairview, 1:10.77*; 7. Amelia Nadelson, Fairview, 1:10.99*; 8. Lucie Majeticova, Fairview, 1:11.93*.

400 free relay — 1. Fairview A (Jessie Li, Brittney Beetcher, Adee Weller, Julia Box), 3:40.62*; 2. Fairview B, 3:43.52*; 3. Centaurus A 3:47.96^; 4. Fairview C, 3:53.51*; 5. Monarch A, 3:53.86*; 6. Fairview D, 3:57.27*; 7. Boulder A, 3:57.53*; 8. Fairview E, 3:59.10*.

* — denotes 5A state-qualifying mark. ^ — denotes 4A state qualifying mark. # — denotes meet record.