The uniqueness of the 2021 prep girls swimming season in Colorado and the format by which individuals will qualify for state made this week’s league championship meets arguably the most meaningful events of the season.
Truthfully, only a handful of competitors will know early if they are state meet-bound prior to the official heat sheets that will be produced early next week by the Colorado High School Activities Association. This year, for each of the three classifications in the sport, only the top 20 times for each event will get the chance to swim at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center between March 11-13.
For a lot of girls this week, touching the wall after an ideal swim will feel good nevertheless. And being able to compete live against several other teams in one ? It’s an itch many have been wanting to scratch all season. With that said, here are some of the top highlights from area teams’ league championships.
Emma Hermeston won two events at the Greeley Recreation Center as seven teams converged with their top swimmers in tow, and Silver Creek’s 400 free relay team beat Windsor by less than one-tenth of a second to secure the NCAC championship on Saturday afternoon.
Silver Creek won the meet with 411 points, while Windsor (402), Greeley West (291.5) and Holy Family (288) rounded out the top four.
Hermeston, a senior who was named the league’s swimmer of the year, won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.93 seconds, then later matched that time almost exactly in the 100 back (57.40). The 400 free relay team (Hermeston, Kylie Dirks, Haley Halperin, Elle Feneide) gave SCHS’ a third event win with a time of 3:38.19 — Windsor’s time was 3:38.28 — while depth paved the way for the Raptors to squeak past WHS.
Though smaller in numbers, Longmont packed a punch inn Greeley on Saturday. The Trojans took the 200 medley relay (1:53.33) and saw Jordan Bindseil (50 free, 100 free) and Emma Svendsen (500 free) nail down individual victories. Svendsen also placed second in the fly to Hermeston.
Centaurus’ Grace Koegh placed top-three in a pair of events (200 free, 100 fly); Holy Family’s Abigail Philipsen was second in the 200 IM and third in the 100 back; and SC’s Halperin almost managed two top-three placings (50 free, 100 free).
Holy Family’s Mary Kate Cavanaugh won the diving competition with a score of 474.50.
Longs Peak League Championships
Earlier this week, Niwot wrapped up another league title by scoring 509 points to cruise past Berthoud, Thompson Valley, Mountain View and first-year Frederick. The Cougars took eight of 12 events, including all three relays, to solidify its position as a top-five team headed to next week’s state meet.
Emiley Yie, a senior, was a double-event winner for NHS as she captured titles in both the 200 free (1:54.71) and 50 free (24.38). Jamieson Legh followed up a second-place effort in the 200 IM by winning the 100 fly rather handily (57.93). Rowan Lavigne led a 1-2-3 NHS sophomore surge in the breaststroke by finishing in 1:08.70.
Niwot’s Mary Codevilla added another sub-five minute 500 free to her resume despite only being pushed by teammate Grace Shaw (second place in 5:11.28).