• Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    From left, Fairview's Mya Drost-Parra, Riley Tapley and Emma Weber react to finding out the Knights had won the Class 5A state team championship at the swimming and diving championships in Thornton in February.

  • Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Fairview freshman Emma Weber swims her way to the state title in the 100 breaststroke at the Class 5A state meet in February.

  • Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Boulder's Emilia Culberson competes in the 200 freestyle at the Class 5A swimming and diving championships Saturday in Thornton.

  • Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Legacy's Sophia Romero placed ninth in the 100 butterfly on Saturday night.



THORNTON — Since they won state four years ago, Riley Tapley and the Fairview Knights swimmers who were freshmen then have been thinking about how great it would feel to win the Class 5A state championship again as seniors.

Well the day the Knights seniors have eagerly awaited arrived on Saturday and they didn’t waste the opportunity.

Far from it.

At the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center on Saturday, the Fairview girls swimmers dominated the team competition at the Class 5A state championships from start to finish. Emerging victorious from a team battle with two-time defending champion Fossil Ridge, the Knights claimed their third state title overall, and second in four years, by more than 100 team points.

“After the seniors winning it our freshman year, we set a goal to win it all as seniors,” Tapley said. “We had some really impressive swims from our freshmen, and all of our classes. We really came into the state meet with the idea that we could win it and we all did what we needed to do to make it happen.”

Defending state champs and winners of the past two 5A team titles, Fossil Ridge has also won four of the past seven state meets. Fairview won in 2016 and has been runner-up in each of the past two seasons. Both Fairview and Fossil Ridge entered Saturday’s finals with at least one top-three swimmer in six events.

The defending champs won four individual events and the 400 freestyle relay. But the Knights had qualified sixteen athletes for finals in individual events, the most in school history, and easily overwhelmed the competition with their depth.

The Knights opened the state finals with a win in the 200 medley relay, which earned them an early 48 team points since relays are worth double. In all, the Knights won two of the three relays, claiming gold in the 200 medley and also the 200 freestyle relay.

Tapley said the Knights had a pretty good idea they were going to win by the time diving, the fifth event, started. If the team championship wasn’t officially locked up already, freshman Emma Weber won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 2.04 seconds late in the evening to put a definite nail in the coffin.

Weber’s first-place finish was the Knights’ only individual title and one of seven school records the Knights set this weekend.

“Winning that title went a lot because I felt like I had really contributed to the team,” Weber said. “It really was a team effort with everyone having great swims and our relays doing really well.”

The Knights hit new school marks with all three relays, Tapley’s backstroke, Weber’s breaststroke, Mikayla Seigal’s 100 butterfly and Amalie Lessing’s 200 individual medley.

“This was our best day,” Knights head coach Bob Smartt said. “We haven’t ever had a day like this. They all worked hard but ultimately, it came down to depth. Fossil Ridge has five really talented junior national-level swimmers. We don’t have that many but we had the depth with 36 state qualifiers and 16 girls that made finals. We challenged the girls to have four girls make finals in six of the individual events. They did it and that’s what won us state.

“It’s like an army of ants. You add up all those points and it comes out to a lot in the end.”

Led by seniors Shannon Feran and Sophia Romero, the Legacy Lightning placed 13th in the team scoring. Between Feran, Romero, freshman Sydney Bales and the relays, the Lightning placed top 10 in four events.

“It was an awesome weekend,” Legacy head coach Amber Sullivan said. “We had some great swims both days and we really came together as a team to where all of our relays qualified and then placed top 10 in the state, which is great. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls and how they’re true teammates and truly respect one another.”

Boulder scored 45 points as all three relays scored points. The Panthers also had top-20 finishes individually from Emilia Culberson (100 and 200 freestyle) and Jordan Pederson (100 butterfly).

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi


Class 5A girls swimming state championships


Team scores — Fairview 495.50, Fossil Ridge 378, Regis Jesuit 371.50, Cherry Creek 259.50, Arapahoe, 221, Mountain Vista 194, Valor Christian 164.50, Heritage 147, Chatfield 145, Lewis-Palmer 141, ThunderRidge 135.50, Grandview 112, Legacy 110, Rock Canyon 86.50, Ralston Valley 79, Smoky Hill 63, Boulder 45, Columbine 44, Douglas County 44, Doherty 36, Legend 19, Cherokee Trail 14, Rangeview 8, Mountain Range 7, Denver East 5, Chaparral 4.

200 medley relay — 1. Fairview (Riley Tapley, Emma Weber, Jenna Reznicek, Morgan Lukinac), 1:41.66; 2. Fossil Ridge, 1:42.22; 3. Regis Jesuit, 1:43.12; 15. Legacy, 1:51.04; 18. Boulder, 1:51.23.

200 freestyle — 1. Coleen Gillilan, Fossil Ridge, 1:47.61; 2. Kathryn Shanley, Chatfield, 1:49.99; 3. Mikayla Seigal, Fairview, 1:51.09; 10. Emilia Culberson, Boulder, 1:54.23; 11. Morgan Simon, Fairview, 1:53.95; 14. Una Forsythe, 1:55.89; 16. Shannon Feran, Legacy, 1:56.75; 19. Karla Lessing, Fairview, 1:58.61.

200 IM — 1. Lucy Bell, Fossil Ridge, 2:00.06; 2. Jenna Smith, Cherry Creek, 2:04.36; 3. Amelie Lessing, Fairview, 2:04.71; 6. Mya Drost-Parra, Fairview, 2:06.23; 8. Emma Weber, Fairview, 2:07.12; 19. Isabel Rich, Fairview, 2:10.42.

50 freestyle — 1. Meredith Rees, Lewis-Palmer, 23.16; 2. Meredith Smithbaker, Rocky Mountain, 23.21; 3. Anna Shaw, Heritage, 23.22; 6. Morgan Lukinac, Faiview, 23.83; 12. Kaia Reznicek, Fairview, 23.91; 16. Indigo Armon, Legacy, 24.24.

Diving — 1. Franny Cable, Arapahoe, 562.10; 2. Kirsten Belitz, Arapahoe, 511.40; 3. Izzy Gregersen, Ralston Valley, 505.70.

100 butterfly — 1. Renee Gillilan, Fossil Ridge, 52.95; 2. Lucy Bell, Fossil Ridge, 53.64; 3. Mikayla Seigal, Fairview, 54.9; 5.Riley Tapley, Fairview, 55.59; 7. Kim Lanaghen, Fairview, 56.15; 9. Sophia Romero, Legacy, 57.18; 19. Jordan Pederson, Boulder, 59.88

100 freestyle — 1. Jada Surrell-Norwood, Regis Jesuit, 50.59; 2. Lindsay Stentstrom, Valor CHristian, 50.76; 3. Anna Shaw, Heritage, 50.78; 8. Kaia Reznicek, Fairview, 52.36; 16. Karolina Bank, Fairview, 54.35; 17. Emilia Culberson, Boulder, 53.44; 12. Shannon Feran, Legacy, 53.56; 19. Indigo Armon, Legacy, 53.57; 20. Kirsten Lee, Fairview, 53.58.

500 freestyle — 1. Colleen Gillilan, Fossil Ridge, 4:56.05; 2. Kathryn Shanley, Chatfield, 4:58.23; 3. Brooke Ford, Mountain Vista, 5:04.45; 4. Morgan Simon, Fairview, 5:05. 54; 5. Karla Lessing, Fairview, 5:07.15; 7. Amelie Lessing, Fairview, 5:07.44; 20. Robin Cruz-Abrams, Fairview, 5:16.72.

200 free relay — 1. Fairview (Kaia Reznicek, Emme Weber, Morgan Lukinac, Mikayla Seigal), 1:34.41; 2. Arapahoe, 1:35.44; 3. Regis Jesuit, 1:35.48; 9. Legacy, 1:37.43; 13. Boulder, 1:38.77.

100 backstroke — 1. Meredith Rees, Lewis-Palmer, 53.71; 2. Renne Gillilan, Fossil Ridge, 53.76; 3. Riley Tapley, 55.65; 8. Mya Drost-Parra, Fairview, 57.34; 9. Sydney Bales, Legacy, 57.53; 12. Jenna Reznicek, Fairview, 56.98; 18. Kirsten Lee, Fairview, 58.53.

100 breaststroke — 1. Emma Weber, Fairview, 1:02.04; 2. Sophia Bradac, Regis Jesuit, 1:02.38; 3. Holley Dennis, Mountain Vista, 1:03.05; 12. Izabel Rich, Fairview, 1:05.51; 14. Karolina Bank, Fairview, 1:06.26; 18. Julianne Jones, Fairview, 1:06.86.

400 free relay — 1. Fossil Ridge (Renee Gillilan, Mahala Erlandson, Lucy Bell, Goleen Gillilan), 3:23.66; 2. Fairview, 3:26.56; 3. Regis Jesuit, 3:27.29; 9. Legacy, 3:35.71; 19. Boulder, 3:42.64.