Despite losing a number of swimmers from last year’s state championship finals, the Lewis-Palmer girls’ swim team placed fifth in the Class 5A state championships for the second straight year.
“I think that was the best we could do considering we lost four girls who scored at state last year,” Rangers coach Alan Arata said. “We lost them and our relays were decimated. It’s a lot to lose but the girls stepped up and swam well.”
Lewis-Palmer finished with 138.5 points. Fossil Ridge won the 5A title with 424 points, followed by Fairview (2nd, 319), Regis Jesuit (3rd, 235) and Arapahoe (4th, 165).
Arata did some maneuvering with the Lewis-Palmer relays prior to the prelims which proved to be successful as the Rangers earned a consolation victory and appeared in two more relay finals.
“We thought we were being tricky splitting up some relays a little bit,” Arata said. “We moved some other girls into our medley relay and put other good sprinters in our 200 free. We were seeded 18th and ended up placing [seventh] which was nice.”
The Rangers’ 200 free relay team of Madeline Bane, Faith McAllister, Hannah Day and Abigail Nelson finished with a time of 1:41.27. The 200 medley relay (Meredith Rees, Katelyn McClelland, Jessica Wyman and Day) placed eighth in 1:49.26. Finally, the Lewis-Palmer 400 free relay team of Bane, Kailee Sunada, McAllister and Rees placed ninth with a win in the consolation finals with a time of 3:36.15.
In individual races, Rees helped push Lewis-Palmer into the top five with a third-place finish in the 100 freestyle with a time of 50.99.
She later placed second in the 100 backstroke, helping to keep the Rangers' good standing in fifth and breaking a school record along the way.
Her time of 54.87 broke the five-year old school record set by Andie Turner by more than a second.
“Meredith passed someone in the last 25 to move into third place in the 100 free, and it looked like she would do that again in the back,” Arata said. “The 100 back was the strongest field of any event at the meet. It was very deep all the way across, and she came off the last 25 and she said her legs were really hurting, but she knew she had to do something and finish strong. At that time I thought she might have moved into first, but she broke our record, which was set by that year’s state champion.”
The Lewis-Palmer dive team also earned the Rangers points with three top-12 finishes. Anna Kemper placed third with a final score of 474.75, followed by Ashlyn Foster in ninth (428.20), and despite scratching in her final dive due to an illegal takeoff, Savana Trueb still placed 12th with 418.05 points.
“Savana couldn’t really find the rhythm on the boards,” Arata said. “She can do a lot of things that others can’t on the board, but you have to be consistent on takeoffs and that’s really what plagued her today.”
Freshman Katelyn McClellan placed 11th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.29) and the 100 butterfly (58.45), capping a strong start to her state swimming career.
“She was strong in both races,” Arata said. “She’s a newcomer and an impact person for us.”