THORNTON — When Holy Family sophomore Cate Chapman bobbed her head out of the pool upon finishing her Class 3A state 100-yard backstroke final at 58.45 seconds, she barely had time to breathe before junior Abigail Philipsen did the same a half-second later. Chapman’s silver-medal performance in the event was made sweeter by the bronze-worthy effort of Philipsen, who clocked in at 59.08.
“It was really fun because I’ve raced her sister in the past and her coming was a lot of fun,” Philipsen said. “This is our first time being on the podium together, which I think was super fun for the both of us. I think it’s kind of funny. This is my third year getting third in a row, so it’s kind of my lucky number.”
Chapman drew from the crowd’s energy, and the energy provided by the CHSAA hype team, to propel her to victory.
“It was really exciting with the adrenaline that came before it,” she said. “I knew that I needed to go fast and it was really nice to know that I did. I think the before aspect is what makes the race — getting hyped, getting your heart rate up. The girls around me, they just had really good energy. That’s a big part of it.”
The 100 back was hardly the only event that the Tigers excelled in en route to a fifth-place team finish at the Class 3A state championships at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center on Saturday night.
Mary Kate Cavanaugh, another sophomore, broke the 3A state record in the 1-meter dive with a score of 495.10, only to see the previous record holder, Discovery Canyon’s Victoria Sanders, beat her out with a 513.25.
“I definitely thought that after around round six, after I missed my 105c, Victoria was going to blow away the competition — because that’s what happened last year,” Cavanaugh said. “After I completed my 10th dive, 104b, it was really exciting because I knew that I wasn’t far off of first.”
The Tigers also nabbed top-six finishes in the 200 medley relay (fifth, 1:54.19); the 200 individual medley (Chapman, fifth, 2:12.38); the 500 freestyle (Olivia Zuhoski, sixth, 5:25.21); the 200 freestyle relay (fourth, 1:44.44); and the 400 free relay (sixth, 3:47.04).
Much of that talent will be returning for next season.
“To know that next year is going to be our strongest year ever and most of my top swimmers are still underclassmen is just incredible,” head coach Mary Whitney said. “We keep building every year and getting better — better team camaraderie, better scores.”