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Girls swimming: Niwot’s Jamieson Legh is the Times-Call swimmer of the year

Niwot's Jamieson Legh swims in the 100-yard butterfly at the Class 4A state championships on Feb. 9 in Thornton. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Niwot’s Jamieson Legh swims in the 100-yard butterfly at the Class 4A state championships on Feb. 9 in Thornton. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

The latest two-time girls swimming champion for Niwot High School is the daughter of a renowned Ironman champion, someone who dabbles in track and field where the Cougars have fostered champions for ages, and is an obvious scholar in the classroom judging by her plans to attend Dartmouth and swim there.

Jamieson Legh may have flown under the radar for the past few years, but she certainly rose to stardom as a senior.

A frequent contributer to Niwot’s high team placings at state the past few seasons, the 2023 campaign was one she simply owned. It culminated in state titles in the 100-yard backstroke and 100 butterfly — a couple of events where she was previously rewarded with a few silver medals.

How bad did she want it this year? Well, her drop in times from state preliminaries to the championship finals says it all.

In swims where breaking a minute would get you some salty results, Legh dropped more than one full second in each of the fly and back strokes in her finals race. In the fly, she went from 55.39 seconds to 54.29 — while not being pushed by a competitor (second place was on the far side of 58 seconds). In the back, she went from 55.71 seconds to 54.65 (again, more than three seconds faster than her nearest competitor).

Now that’s making a statement.

“I was very surprised, especially with the way the schedule plays out,” Legh, the Times-Call girls swimmer of the year, said of her finals races. “All of my events were in the second half of the meet, so once you get to finals it’s just one event right after another. (Legh also swam in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay). My mentality going in was push as hard as I can to try and get the individual wins … but also make sure I had enough for those relays. I was very surprised that those were two of my overall best times.”

She followed Mary Codevilla in doubling up, giving NHS four straight seasons of having a multi-champ. For her first-year head coach, Ella Thramann, Legh exemplified everything she could ask for in a senior leader.

“She was just so great with the girls and a great mentor, which was so helpful for me,” Thramann said. “(Her finals) was insane. Her mentality over the year was, she just really wanted to have a fun last season. She was competitive … she crushed it every meet. She broke a pool record at Windsor in the 100 breaststroke back that hadn’t been broken since 2009. I am so excited to see what she does in college.”

Legh was also instrumental in Niwot’s 400 freestyle relay that placed second, a race that helped the team vault to a fourth place in 4A. That relay team wasn’t expected to place on the podium, let alone compete for gold or silver. It was just another example of Legh leaving enough in the tank to help her team out the best she could.

While the state meet was a very rewarding finish to the season, Legh said there were so many more memories through the year that she considered irreplaceable. The most precious being her father Chris on the deck as an assistant coach.

“Having my dad at practice every day, and having him on the deck at state was just super special,” she said. “It’s just been wonderful to have him as a mentor all my swimming years. It was so amazing having his expertise on the team, for me but also a lot of the younger swimmers really loved having him there and helping out. It was special.”