THORNTON — Despite not winning a single event at the Class 4A boys swimming state championship meet Friday, the Silver Creek Raptors were left hoisting the biggest trophy of the day when the water finally settled at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.
They have a state championship banner to go along with it, too.
Down by 16 points to Cheyenne Mountain going into the meet’s final race, the Raptors’ fifth-place finish to Cheyenne Mountain’s ninth in the 400-yard freestyle relay gave them enough points to claim the team title two years after finishing third. In 2020, the boys swim season never got off the ground because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Silver Creek won by seven points, 314 to Cheyenne Mountain’s 307.
“It was totally unexpected for me,” Silver Creek head coach Debbie Stewart said. “My comment to the boys earlier in the week was we just wanted to bring home some medals. I was hoping for second. First, you can’t top it any more.
“We had a strong team last year with a bunch of seniors. I feel bad that they didn’t get to be a part of it last year, because we could have been pretty strong last year.”
Relays played a big factor in the Raptors’ championship. Silver Creek was fourth in the 200 free relay (1 minute, 28.36 seconds), fifth in the 400 free relay (3:15.58) and sixth in the 200 medley relay (1:39.60).
From there, the Raptors relied on their depth as they didn’t finish in the top 3 of any event.
Pierce Bigelow was the top individual finisher for the Raptors. The senior finished fourth in both the 200 free (1:44.07) and the 500 free (4:48.84).
“I had swam them two years ago and I got fifth in both of them,” Bigelow said. “The competition this year was just a great setup of some underclassmen and so I knew I was going to have to bring my ‘A’ game. I came away with fourth place and they were both right at my personal bests and I am really happy with it.”
Other big contributors to the Raptors’ success were Connor Hassert, who was ninth in the 200 individual medley (1:59.75) and 10th in the 100 backstroke (54.18); Ian Curd, who was seventh in the 50 free (22.43) and 13th in the 100 free (50.45); and Jake Gutru, who was fifth in the 100 butterfly (52.22) and eighth in the 100 back (53.69).
Raptor brothers Jacob and Joshua Dowlin finished seventh and 11th, respectively, in 1-meter diving Friday morning. Jacob tallied 367.5 points while Joshua had 343.05.
Joshua Dowlin’s 13th-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.00) pushed the Raptors a few points closer to Cheyenne Mountain, setting up the relay showdown to end the meet.
“It feels so great,” Bigelow said. “We got seventh place my freshman year. We got third place my sophomore year. There was no season last year so we had big hopes, big dreams coming into this season.”
Broomfield was led by its 200 medley relay, which finished 12th in 1:44.87. The Eagles were 11th in the 400 free relay and 17th in the 200 free relay. Broomfield’s top individual performer was Nathan McCracken, who was ninth in the 500 free. Lucas Becker was 14th in the 100 breaststroke.