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  • Payten Irwin swam for Niwot last year as a sophomore...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Payten Irwin swam for Niwot last year as a sophomore but will now join the group at Erie, her home school, for the Tigers' inaugural season.

  • Broomfield's Jillian Martin may be in line for some high...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Jillian Martin may be in line for some high individual placement as the Eagles drop to Class 4A from 5A in 2018-19.

  • Lucy Matheson of Longmont may see a bigger challenge in...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Lucy Matheson of Longmont may see a bigger challenge in 4A, but her resume in the individual medley and distance freestyle events suggests she will remain a contender at state.



Emilia Culberson, Jr., Boulder: The Panthers took a big step from the year before as a team in 2017-18, and Culberson has the motivation to make finals swims in individual events after making back just relays.
Shannon Feran, Sr., Legacy: Prepping to swim for Colorado Mesa next season, Feran could be in line for a pair of championship finals at VMAC come February.
Payten Irwin, Jr., Erie: Now swimming for her home school, Irwin should help get the Tigers started off on the right foot coming off a fourth place finish in the 4A butterfly for Niwot.
Amelie Lessing, Sr., Fairview: Another distance specialist roams for the Knights as Lessing and her sister Karla will push each other in the 500 free all year.
Katey Lewicki, Jr., Monarch: Her backstroke will match almost anyone in the state, giving the Coyotes hope for an individual event title, but Lewicki is quite diverse and could pop into other events, too.
Jillian Martin, Sr., Broomfield: One of the Eagles’ most consistent swimmers in recent years, Martin will look for ‘A’ finals in multiple events as BHS drops down to 4A.
Lucy Matheson, Jr., Longmont: The area’s only individual event state champion last year, Matheson could fend for two of them even with Longmont’s move to 4A.
Mikayla Seigal, Sr., Fairview: A number of Knights could be on this list, but Seigal’s eight state medals (four individual, four relay) put her in exclusive company.
Abbie Shaw, Sr., Niwot: A sixth place finish in the 200 free last year should propel her to great heights as she leads the Cougars.
Alexandra Smith, Sr., Silver Creek: One of the more dynamic divers in the area, Smith swept the Longmont City Meet and Northern League meet titles last year.

The Class 3A state meet will take place Feb. 8-9 at the Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins, with preliminaries taking place on Feb. 8 and finals on Feb. 9. The Class 4A and 5A state meets will take place Feb. 7-9 at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center — the 4A prelims will be Feb. 7 with finals Feb. 8 at 4 p.m.; the 5A prelims will be the morning of Feb. 8 and the finals will take place Feb 9.


Coach: Lyndsie Gibson (first season)
Last year at state: Finished 19th in 5A with 22 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Emilia Culberson (Jr.), Anna Katnik (Jr.), Bena Koehn (So.), Jordan Pederson (So.), Ella Riccio (So.).
Others to watch: Tara Amberger (Sr.); Jessica Booth (Sr.); Rose Burns (Sr.); Kendall Nudelman (Sr.); Eleanor Scheeres (Sr.).

Outlook: Gibson and her staff are excited not only about the talent of the group but perhaps even more so the dedication they have shown, and gradually building up depth each meet is the expectation. The program brings back some exceptional freestyle swimmers that will combine to form potent relays, and Culberson leads that front.

Coach: Emily Austin (21st season)
Last year at state: Finished 23rd in 5A with 11 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Grace Higgins (So., relays); Jordan Johnson (So., relays); Annabelle Lingbeck (Jr., medley relay); Jillian Martin (Sr., free, relays); Anna Martinez (Jr., relays); Mairead Powers (So., IM, free, relays); Rebecca Thompson (Jr., free, back, relays).
Others to watch: Kaylee Austin (Fr., distance free, IM); Kylie Frese (Jr., free); Shaylee Gailus (Sr., sprint free); Abi Garza (Jr., diving); Nikki Gorman (So., fly, sprint free); Brynja Marshall (Jr., back, distance free); Bryce Spencer (Sr., diving); Hadley Turner (Jr., back, sprint free).

Outlook: The move down to 4A will most assuredly give the Eagles a strong contingent of state qualifiers, and Austin really hopes all of her relays will be able to make championship finals. Martin and Thompson are returning scoring threats in multiple individual events and Powers showed tons of promise as a freshman. The Eagles are practicing at VMAC, which has thrown a wrench into things, but overall Austin said, ‘the outlook is good!”

Coach: Cort Sharp (second season)
Last year at state: Finished fifth in 3A with 158 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Sarah Boyer (Sr., 50 free, 100 breast, relays); Isabella Brakhage (So., 200 IM, 100 breast); Sydney Brooker (Jr., 100 free, 100 back, relays); Georgia Dauzvardis (Sr., 500 free, 200 free); Lily Dunkin (Jr., 100 breast); Lara Franco (So., 100 free, 100 back, relays); Megan Franco (Sr., 200 free, 100 back); McKenzie Jenkins (Sr., 200 IM, 100 breast, relays); Haley Maddocks (So., 50 free, relays); Grace Spakes (Jr., 100 free, relays).
Others to watch: Sydney Corson (So., free); Zoe Keenan (Fr., free, breast); Ava Lessing-Caller (So., fly, free, back); Madison Lin (So., sprint free); Kathleen Welch (So., free).

Outlook: As with several other teams, the Warriors will see a slight bump in challenge with a move to 4A, where qualifying standards are tighter. However, Centaurus has some really solid swimmers back in the mix, led by the seniors Boyer, Dauzvardis, Franco and Jenkins. Sharp said, “We have a very strong sprint freestyle team as well as several girls who can step up and race any event.” They’re going to need it at VMAC in February.

Coach: Kelly Shipley (first season)
Last year at state: This is Erie’s first season competing in 3A.
Returning state qualifiers: Payten Irwin (Jr., 50 Free, 100 Fly); Meredith Olson (Jr., 50 Free); Kailey Pickering (Sr., 500 Free).
Others to watch: Sarah Allred; Kaelin Hawkins; Ava King; Shay Maruna; Alice Mazzetti; Bella Reichel.

Outlook: Shipley helped build the Longmont Trojans into the 3A champions last year, and she now moves to the school where she is employed with an interesting mix. Irwin swam for Niwot and instantly gives the team point potential in individual events at state, and Olson and Pickering should continue to benefit from the relationship with their coach.

Coach: Bob Smartt (19th season)
Last year at state: Finished second in 5A with 319 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Annika Bachman (So., back); Natalie Brent (Sr., IM, breast); Robin Cruz-Abrams (Jr., distance free); Mya Drost-Parra (Sr., IM, back); Una Forsythe (Sr., fly); Julianna Haensly (Sr., free); Erin Keown (Jr., distance free, breast); Kim Lanaghen (Sr., fly, relays); Kirsten Lee (So., free, back); Amelie Lessing (Sr., IM, distance free, relays); Karla Lessing (So., distance free); Heather Maclachlan (Jr., distance free); Samantha Mosier (So., sprint free, fly); Rya Muller (Sr., diving); Ellie Parker (Jr., back); Jenna Reznicek (So., sprint free, back); Kaia Reznicek (Sr., sprint free, relays); Isabel Rich (Jr., breast); Lauren Rutherford (Jr., breast); Mikayla Seigal (Sr., free, fly, relays); Lauren Schlageter (Sr., breast); Morgan Simon (Sr., distance free, relays); Helen Sun (So., IM, free); Riley Tapley (Sr., fly, back, relays).
Others to watch: Karolina Bank (Fr.); Monet Castellino (Fr.); Julianne Jones (Fr.); Darcy Koewn (Fr.); Morgan Lukinac (Fr.); Emma Weber (Fr.).

Outlook: Last year’s second place finish once again put FHS in the spotlight, and with a smaller Class 5A there is no reason to think the Knights won’t be in a familiar position in 2018-19 with all that returns. The 500 free event will be stacked with points, the relays should hold steady and there could be some surprises in store. Weber leads a freshmen group that could immediately shine.

Coach: Amber Sullivan (first season)
Last year at state: Finished 16th in 5A with 38 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Kandice Chandra (Jr., fly, back, relays); Charli Dolan (Jr., breast, relays); Shannon Feran (Sr., free, fly, relays); Sophia Romero (Sr., sprint free, fly, relays); Maggie Swanson (So., IM, relays); Peyton Tran (Sr., fly, relays).
Others to watch: Indigo Armon (Fr.); Sydney Bales (Fr.); Cailea Caiozzi (Fr.); Maya Chao (So.); Maggie Holst (So.); Tamsin Izard (Fr.); Lauren Jiron (Jr.); Emma Kulbida (So.); Makenna Lindeman (Fr.); Bridget Moran (Fr.); Taylor Niehoff (Jr.); Marissa Payne (Sr.); Maddie Ramar (So.); Abby Zacoronzy (Fr.); Alvina Zhang (Fr.).

Outlook: Sullivan said that the Lightning are ready to take the next step in 5A, and with collegiate signees Feran and Romero leading the way she may just see it. They competed well in the Front Range League last year, host their own invitational next week and will once again be looking to build relays that will get it done in the season finale.

Coach: Carly Daelli (first season)
Last year at state: Won the 3A state title with 203 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Lucy Matheson (Jr., distance free, IM, relays); Alice Money (Jr.); Maggie Wise (Jr.); Sydney Wyatt (Sr., breast); Kaitlyn Yee (So., relays).
Others to watch: Sydney Fuller (So., diving).

Outlook: The Trojans have the leftover motivation of garnering a trophy for the first time in program history last year, but they know it’s a different team because of graduation, Erie’s new program taking away some of the depth and the fact they will be in 4A competing against deeper teams. However, Longmont’s sheer numbers are still good and they have a state title contender in Matheson — in more than one event.

Coach: Melanie Beard (fourth season)
Last year at state: Finished 20th in 5A with 21 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Katey Lewicki (Jr.); Miranda Rens (Sr.); Angeline Settle (So.); Quinn Webster (Sr.).
Others to watch: Claire Arguijo-Boehm (Jr.); Alison Cross (Jr.); Paige DeFronzo (So.); Carolyn Jewett (Fr.); Megan Mitchell (Sr.); Kaelan Norgard (Fr.); Maya Teaford (Sr.); Celia Webster (Fr.); Laura Zhang (Sr.).

Outlook: The Coyotes continue to make their presence known at state with several multi-faceted individual swimmers, and Lewicki tops the list as a state contender in a couple of different disciplines. She finished fifth in the backstroke and 10th in the IM in 2017-18 as a sophomore. For Beard, the goals also include “to support our team in all aspects of their lives and to help each of our swimmers achieve the personal goals they have set for themselves this season.”

Coach: Sarah Stamp (10th season)
Last year at state: Placed fifth in Class 4A with 138 points
Returning state qualifiers: Lucca Fulkerson (So., back); Claire Jepson (Sr., back); Hannah Luo (Sr., fly IM); Izzie Mitchell (Sr., sprint free); Natalie Sesselmann (So., breast); Abbie Shaw (Jr. back, free); Ella Thramann (Sr., sprint free); Kristi Vu (Sr., sprint free); Emiley Yie (So., distance free).
Others to watch: Tessa Biscaldi (Jr., free); Mary Codevilla (Fr., breast, IM); Sofia Gaspar (So., fly, IM); Grace Shaw (Fr., distance free); Sreya Karumanchi (Fr., fly, IM); Sidney Ryan (Sr., breast); Isabelle Saunders (Fr., free).

Outlook: The Northern Conference shifts gears a little bit with Silver Creek moving to the Long’s Peak League, and Niwot looks to take advantage of being one of the deeper teams left — although not deep on a state-wide level. However, NHS does have a nice base of girls with state experience to build around, and Sharp is confident of the infusion of freshmen coming in.

Coach: Debbie Stewart (18th season)
Last year at state: Placed ninth in 4A with 131.5 points.
Returning state qualifiers: Madison Black (Jr., sprint free); Hanna Burns (Sr., sprint free); Megan Bush (Sr., free); Emelie Hartrampf (Jr., free, back); Emma Hermeston (So., fly, back); Micaela Kimmett (So., diving); Cole Montgomery (Sr., breast); Karly Pearson (Jr., IM, breast); Alexandra Smith (Sr., diving); Rachel Stevens (So., distance free); Kathy Weygandt (Jr., diving).
Others to watch: Lindsay Beckwith (Jr., diving); Sierra Bindseil (Fr.); Kylie Dirks (So.); Elena Moore (Jr.); Greta Richardson (Fr.).

Outlook: The Raptors moved to the Long’s Peak League and will be competing with the likes of Windsor, Broomfield and Greeley West for the conference title. They’ll do so with a good number of returning swimmers and an exceptional group of divers that could make a difference. Overall, Silver Creek will see a new group that needs to challenge themselves to stay on a good taper so as to benefit at the right time.

Coach: Michelle Scott (second season)
Last year at state: Did not place as a team in 4A.
Returning state qualifiers: None.
Others to watch: Rebecca Brucker (Jr., diving); Madeleine Hall (Jr., free); Jade Hoard (Jr., breast); Tess Klein (Jr., fly); Julianna Urbina (So., back).

Outlook: The Falcons have frequented the state meet in recent years, and Scott is banking on not being shut out of the finals this year. The program is up to 42 girls this year — definitely encouraging — and they are looking to build the fire from within.

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