Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
Tim Hiurst/Staff Photographer
THORNTON — Swamped in a pandemic, the high school girls’ swimming season was as much a battle of attrition as a race for top times.
At least Fairview, and Legacy’s Sydney Bales, left it behind with some hardware in hand.
The Knights won the 200-yard freestyle relay in a state-record time of 1 minute, 33.80 seconds as part of their second-place finish as a team, while Bales claimed the 100 backstroke title in 54.07 seconds at the Class 5A state meet at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center Thursday night.
The pinnacle meet, like the season leading up to it, looked far different due to strict regulations surrounding the virus. Instead of packed bleachers at VMAC, fans and participants were ushered in and out for each event. With fewer people allowed inside, the usual screaming known to pierce deep into the ear canal during the closing 400 freestyle relay was maybe turned down just a bit.
All worth it, Fairview coach Franny Bentley said.
“I think (this season) has been a total gift,” Bentley said. “The girls have been gracious and appreciative of the opportunity and have stepped up to every must-do and should-do rule to be COVID safe. They were so happy to be in the water, coached and with their friends.”
Behind 13 top-eight finishes, seven school records and five All-American automatic times, the Knights finished behind Cherry Creek in the team race after winning the 5A title the previous two seasons. The Bruins had 430 points to Fairview’s 392.
With the state swim meet spread out over a more than 12-hour period to comply with the new rules, the Knights finished runner-up in the 200 medley relay (1:41.54) in the morning and concluded with a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay (3:25.80) around 8 p.m.
Interwoven between, Karolina Bank finished second in the 200 freestyle (1:49.93), Julianne Jones was fourth in the 200 IM (2:04.59) and Morgan Lukinac was third in the 50 freestyle (23.46). Edith Simecek was second in the 100 butterfly (53.87) and third in 100 backstroke (55.16), and Jenna Reznicek was third in the butterfly (54.51) and finished second to Bales in the backstroke (54.53).
The Knights have now finished first or second at this meet for six straight seasons, totaling three golds and three silvers.
This season “has been a time where our team has had to be resilient and not just use all these curveballs as an excuse to not reach our potential,” said Reznicek, who will swim at Brown University next season. “I think our hard work paid off at this meet.”
They weren’t alone, either.
Shortly after wrapping up her backstroke win, Bales turned her head to the scoreboard and yelled across four lanes to congratulate teammate Abbie Kehmeier on her fourth-place finish (55.68).
Bales said the Lightning had undergone quarantine late in the season and were only deemed to return to the pool the night before league. So, after that, and everything else that went into this strange season, all celebrations were in order.
“We really had an unfortunate league meet where we were quarantined two weeks before and we didn’t know we were swimming in it until the night before,” said the Lightning junior, who won the area’s first 5A individual title in girls swimming since 2019. “If I didn’t swim at that (league) meet, I don’t know if I even would have been here. I’m just super grateful for everything as well as the support staff of my team and everyone in Colorado in general.”
Teammate Sabrina Rachjaibun added third-place finishes in the 200 IM (2:04.16) and 500 freestyle (5:02.94) for Legacy, Indigo Armon was sixth in the 50 freestyle (23.56) and the Lightning took fifth in the 400 relay (3:29.55). As a team, Legacy finished fifth.
Boulder, meanwhile, was 20th — led by individuals Ella Riccio and Bena Koehn. Riccio was seventh in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.79 that represented a school record. She was also 17th in the 100 free (53.34), while Koehn was 12th in 100 freestyle (52.28) and 13th in the 200 free (1:54.98).
Monarch took 28th as a team thanks to Celia Webster’s 16th-place finish in the butterfly.
The 4A state meet is scheduled to go Friday at VMAC. The 3A meet was moved from Saturday to Monday due to an expected heavy snowfall.
Full results from area swimmers (according to CHSAA)
200 medley relay
Fairview, second, 1:41.54; Legacy, fifth, 1:43.79.
Karolina Bank, Fairview, second, 1:49.93; Ella Ziegert, Fairview, eighth, 1:54.20; Sydney Inman, Fairview, 10th 1:54.45; Bena Koehn, Boulder, 13th, 1:54.98; Samantha Mosier, Fairview, 14th, 1:55.15.
Sabrina Rachjaibun, Legacy, third, 2:04.16; Julianne Jones, Fairview, fourth, 2:04.59; Makenna Lindeman, Legacy, 15th, 2:10.05; Sydney Inman, Fairview, 17th, 2:10.51.
Morgan Lukinac, Fairview, third, 23.46; Indigo Armon, Legacy, sixth, 23.56; Ella Riccio, Boulder, seventh, 23.79; Abigail Zadorozny, Legacy, 15th, 24.44.
Reilly Jones, Fairview, 14th, 354.20.
Edith Simecek, Fairview, second, 53.87; Jenna Reznicek, Fairview, third, 54.51; Sydney Bales, Legacy, fifth, 55.00; Samantha Mosier, Fairview, 12th, 57.24; Julia Urbanowski, Fairview, 15th, 57.49; Celia Webster, Monarch, 16th, 57.62.
Morgan Lukinac, Fairview, seventh, 51.48; Indigo Armon, Legacy, 10th, 51.82; Bena Koehn, Boulder, 12th, 52.28; Abigail Zadorozny, Legacy, 15th, 53.29; Kirsten Lee, Fairview, 16th, 53.31; Ella Riccio, Boulder, 17th, 53.34; Julia Urbanowski, Fairview, 20th, 54.4.
Sabrina Rachjaibun, Legacy, third, 5:02.94.
200 freestyle relay
Fairview, first, 1:33.80; Legacy, seventh, 1:37.83; Boulder, 16th, 1:40.68.
Sydney Bales, Legacy, first, 54.07; Jenna Reznicek, Fairview, second, 54.53; Edith Simecek, Fairview, third, 55.16; Abbie Kehmeier, Legacy, fourth, 55.68; Ella Ziegert, Fairview, 18th, 58.33.
Karolina Bank, Fairview, fifth, 1:02.98; Julianne Jones, Fairview, ninth, 1:04.03.
400 freestyle relay
Fairview, second, 3:25.80; Legacy, fifth, 3:29.55.