FREDERICK — After an offseason that included pool closures and uncertainty regarding the winter season, Class 4A powerhouse Niwot doesn’t look like it has missed a beat.
Mary Codevilla and Emiley Yie each won two individual events, Jamieson Legh added the year’s fastest 4A time in the 100-yard backstroke, and the Cougars rolled past the new swimming program at Frederick at the Carbon Valley Recreation Center Thursday evening.
“I feel like we’re all happy that we got a season, just being in the water is awesome,” Yie said afterward. “Our ultimate goal is to go to state and do well there. And I think the happiness of being out here helps fuel that goal.”
Niwot took first and second in all 12 events against the Warriors to move to 3-0 in duals this winter. Codevilla had wins in the 200 IM (2:08.59) and the 100 freestyle (53.59), while Yie took the 200 freestyle (1:56.62) and the 50 free (25.40). Legh’s backstroke time of 57.83 seconds ranked first in 4A and second in the state.
The strong start comes on the heels of a strange past year for high school swimmers amid the pandemic. Among the oddities have included the fact that many swimmers were without a pool for months last spring due to statewide closures. Then there’s the restrictions placed on the winter season itself — among others, disallowing fans at meets and capping the number of swimmers allowed.
“Considering we had to cut our roster by a drastic amount this year, we do have incredible depth,” Cougars coach Kyle Bachrodt said. “With only 21 swimmers, we can race every single stroke, every single event and my goal right now is to get as many swimmers in the top 20, if not top 10 in the state to give us options. Versatility will go a long way.”
And when talking versatility, nobody in the area has proven it more in the pool than Codevilla.
Earning repeat BoCoPreps.com swimmer of the year accolades, the junior qualified in every event except for diving in her first two seasons. She was also the only area girl to win two individual titles at last year’s state meet — taking the 200 freestyle in an All-American time and the 500 free in a near 4A record.
In November, she verbally committed to Notre Dame.
“The recruiting process started for me in early June and it was really crazy because this year it was all virtual,” she said. “Honestly making a decision like that is really scary because I’m over a year out actually going to Notre Dame. But I’m honestly so grateful to be going to Notre Dame and I’m so excited to swim for them.”
Frederick and its 12 swimmers didn’t place in the top two in any event against Niwot and Jessica Wilkinson’s 200 freestyle (2:27.32) was its lone third-place finish.
But the program has started strong nonetheless under coach Denyse Hudson, who embraced the challenge of building a program amid the pandemic. She said the improvement among her swimmers has been exciting.
“All these girls are cutting time off, left, right and center,” Hudson said. “There are some girls that blow me away one meet. And the next meet, there are a couple other girls who set the bar higher for themselves. I just see them growing continuously.”