• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Payten Irwin of Niwot competes in the 200 yard freestyle relay at the Colorado Coaches Invitational on Saturday. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Amelie Lessing of Fairview talks to her sister Karla, after competing in the 500 yard freestyle during the Colorado Coaches Invitational on Saturday. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Emma Svendsen of Longmont swims in the 100 yard backstoke at the Colorado Coaches Invitational on Saturday.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Abbie Shaw of Niwot swims in the 100 yard backstoke at the Colorado Coaches Invitational on Saturday. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos.



THORNTON — Get some Noodles & Company in Niwot sophomore Payten Irwin’s stomach, and she feels like she can conquer the world.

At the very least, Irwin still manages to feel light as air in the swimming pool.

A little bit of comfort food went a long way on Saturday at the Colorado Coaches Invitational — the early prep season’s biggest meet — as Irwin went to bat against some of the state’s biggest names in the 100 butterfly and nearly smacked a home run.

Local swimmers from several teams brought their best efforts to the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, as Fairview’s depth captured plenty of attention and brought home a big meet win while Silver Creek, Longmont and Broomfield, in addition to Niwot, all had plenty of highlights.

Irwin took the afternoon between prelims and the finals to partake in her favorite restaurant meal, and the good vibes played through to her lone individual event as she swam to a third-place time of 56.97 seconds in what is considered an extremely fast meet.

The rest of her heat was filled with 5A swimmers, including four Fairview girls. With most of Saturday’s competitors seeing each other with regularity in club meets, Irwin certainly wasn’t intimidated and in fact became even more motivated to set a high standard for the rest of the year.

“I race against a lot of those girls my whole life and it’s just so fun to have that kind of competition, and it means the world to go get third in a race like that,” Irwin said after the race. “My prelim race was a little rough, so to be able to come back for finals and swim that, I’m very happy.

“I went to Noodles & Company and I just kind of relaxed and focused on what I needed to do to better my race.”

Irwin was not alone in helping Niwot to a strong showing. Fellow sophomore Abbie Shaw swam in two ‘A’ Finals — finishing eighth in the 200 freestyle (1:58.57) and ninth in the 100 backstroke (1:00.15) — and the Cougars also saw freshman Emiley Yie qualify for the afternoon in the 200 IM (placing 19th) to score points.

With the Cougars freestyle relay teams placing eighth and 12th, NHS finished with 99 points and in fourth place among 4A squads.

“We have a lot of freshmen that have come in to help, and I’m excited to see what we can do at state and at conference,” Irwin said.

In the bigger classification of 5A, Fairview and Fossil Ridge showed once again they are on a collision course for supremacy at the state meet coming up in mid-February at Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins.

The Sabercats have the big hitters — Zoe Bartel, Colleen Gillilan and Bayley Stewart combined to win five individual events on Saturday — but the Knights swarmed the championship finals with swimmers eager to match Fossil in every way.

Amelie Lessing, one of the spectacular crew of FHS juniors aiming to upend the defending champion Sabercats, finished top-5 in both her individual events (200 IM, 500 free) as she debuted at the Coaches Invite for the first time. The Knights out-scored FRHS 381-303 in this particular meet, but Fossil Ridge did disqualify one of its relays to lessen its potential score.

Mikayla Siegal (second in the 200 free and sixth in the fly) and Riley Tapley (seventh in both the fly and backstroke) also helped the effort with multiple ‘A’ finals finishes.

The teams met for a dual meet earlier in the week, so getting to see their biggest foes twice in just a matter of days was big, Lessing said.

“It’s always nice to see them between club and high school swimming. We never feel like we’re drowning in the pool against them … it’s always great competition,” said Lessing, whose sister Karla finished eighth in the 500 free. “This was my first Coaches (Invite), and it was a good experience for me and my sister.

“A lot of us are ready for state already. Personally I still see myself adding time to my races, but I’m hoping state is a lot better. I’ll keep working hard and keep doing the training I need to be doing.”

Silver Creek and Longmont placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 4A standings. While the Raptors’ Brandi Vu and the Trojans’ Lucille Matheson provided the expected consistency for their teams, both squads also saw freshmen swimmers contribute to the team scores.

For Silver Creek, it was Emma Hermeston (14th in the fly) and for Longmont it was Emma Svendsen (10th in the 200 free, 19th in the 100 backstroke).

Broomfield’s Jillian Martin was yet another two-event placer, finishing sixth in the 200 free and eighth in the 100 free.

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24

Colorado Coaches Invitational


Team scores — 5A: Fairview 381, Fossil Ridge 303, Cherry Creek 218, Arapahoe 212, Lewis-Palmer 175, Rocky Mountain 170.5, Regis Jesuit 159, Rock Canyon 153.5, Douglas County 106, Grandview 101.5, Chatfield 70, Smoky Hill 59, Ralston Valley 51, Horizon 46, ThunderRidge 43, Broomfield 38, Columbine 38, Dakota Ridge 38, Cherokee Trail 16, Legend 9; 4A: Rampart 194, Valor Christian 174, Heritage 166.5, Niwot 99, Mullen 83, Silver Creek 72, Longmont 55, George Washington 52, Windsor 51, Denver South 19; 3A: St. Mary’s Academy 68, Colorado Academy 36, Kent Denver 9, Thomas Jefferson 3.

200 medley relay — 1. Fossil Ridge, 1:42.92; 2. Rampart, 1:46.25; 3. Cherry Creek, 1:46.83; 4. Fairview, 1:47.46; 12. Silver Creek, 1:52.26.

200 freestyle — 1. Coleen Gillilan, Fossil Ridge, 1:52.42; 2. Mikayla Seigal, Fairview, 1:53.35; 3. Kathryn Shanley, Chatfield, 1:53.37; 6. Jillian Martin, Broomfield, 1:58.23; 8. Abbie Shaw, Niwot, 1:58.57; 10. Emma Svendsen, Longmont, 2:00.66; 11. Brandi Vu, Silver Creek, 1:57.62; 12. Cailen Chinn, Fairview, 1:57.94; 14. Karla Lessing, Fairview, 1:59.33; 15. Heather MacLachlan, Fairview, 1:59.66.

200 IM — 1. Zoe Bartel, Fossil Ridge, 2:02.59; 2. Delaney Smith, Arapahoe, 2:03.33; 3. Meredith Rees, Lewis-Palmer, 2:06.51; 5. Amelie Lessing, Fairview, 2:07.47; 7. Mys Drost-Parra, Fairview, 2:10.60; 8. Lucille Matheson, Longmont, 2:10.69; 15. Morgan Simon, Fairview, 2:12.85; 18. Isabel Rich, Fairview, 2:14.50; 19. Emiley Yie, Niwot, 2:17.61.

50 freestyle — 1. Emily Barrier, Rocky Mountain, 23.48; 2. Meredith Smithbaker, Rocky Mountain, 23.76; T2. Kylie Andrews, Heritage, 23.76; 16. Una Forsythe, Fairview, 24.99.

Diving — 1. Franny Cable, Arapahoe, 506.85; 2. Samantha Tamborski, Douglas County, 465.45; 3. Isabel Gregerson, Ralston Valley, 458.80; 19. Rya Muller, Fairview, 363.40.

100 butterfly — 1. Colleen Gillilan, Fossil Ridge, 54.75; 2. Jessica Beckwith, Rock Canyon, 56.41; 3. Peyten Irwin, Niwot, 56.97; 5. Una Forsythe, Fairview, 57.34; 6. Mikayla Seigal, Fairview, 57.89; 7. Riley Tapley, Fairview, 58.04; 8. Kim Lanaghen, Fairview, 58.49; 14. Emma Hermeston, Silver Creek, 59.72.

100 freestyle — 1. Meredith Rees, Lewis-Palmer, 51.15; 2. Kylie Andrews, Heritage, 51.29; 3. Emily Barrier, Rocky Mountain, 51.51; 8. Jillian Martin, Broomfield, 53.71; 13. Kaia Reznicek, Fairview, 54.10.

500 freestyle — 1. Kathryn Shanley, Chatfield, 5:01.62; 2. Rose Saya, Cherry Creek, 5:06.58; 3. Amelie Lessing, Fairview, 5:07.98; 4. Lucille Matheson, Longmont, 5:08.26; 7. Morgan Simon, Fairview, 5:16.01; 8. Karla Lessing, Fairview, 5:16.08; 15. Rebecca Thompson, Broomfield, 5:18.99.

200 free relay — 1. Rocky Mountain, 1:36.51; 2. Valor Christian, 1:36.85; 3. Fairview, 1:37.70; 5. Silver Creek, 1:39.83; 8. Niwot, 1:41.45; 19. Boulder, 1:44.34.

100 backstroke — 1. Bayley Stewart, Fossil Ridge, 55.77; 2. Charlotte Fieeki, Horizon, 55.85; 3. Elsa Litteken, Douglas County, 56.24; 7. Riley Tapley, Fairview, 57.87; 9. Abbie Shaw, Niwot, 1:00.15; 11. Mya Drost-Parra, Fairview, 58.98; 15. Kirsten Lee, Fairview, 59.90; 19. Emma Svendsen, Longmont, 1:00.57.

100 breaststroke — 1. Zoe Bartel, Fossil Ridge, 1:01.75; 2. Edenna Chen, Rampart, 1:04.47; 3. Ella Drury, Cherry Creek, 1:05.35; 7. Isabel Rich, Fairview, 1:07.33; 19. Lauren Rutherford, Fairview, 1:10.70.

400 free relay — 1. Fossil Ridge, 3:31.85; 2. Rampart, 3:32.78; 3. Valor Christian, 3:34.71; 6. Fairview, 3:37.00; 12. Niwot, 3:42.77; 18. Longmont, 3:47.85.

Note: All listed times are state qualifying marks unless marked with *