Lewis-Palmer coach Alan Arata is cautiously optimistic about his team's chances to medal with three of the top six 5A divers wearing orange and black at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.
Senior Noah Bettner and juniors Arie Althouse and Jack Nagle are the three Rangers among the top six coming into the preliminaries Saturday morning. Bettner placed fourth last spring while Nagle was ninth. Defending champ and Bear Creek junior Octavio Lucero returns to defend his title.
"If they perform like they can then all three have a chance to win it," Arata said. "It's a high-pressure meet so they may make little mistakes that will bleed points. But then, so will the other divers."
Rangers freshman Nathan Kopacz also made it to state, as did Fountain-Fort Carson's Tristan Riffe and Kyle Fowler.
F-FC senior swims with extra motivation
The upcoming retirement of coach John Rork after 25 years coaching the Trojans was much on the mind of senior Brenan Bloyd after he swam a personal-best time of 47.91 seconds to place 15th in the 100 freestyle and advance to Saturday's consolation final.
"All our guys came in here looking to do our best for coach one last time," he said. "He means a lot to all of us. We all swam some of our best times and did great, even if we didn't make the finals."
No pressure for L-P's Donahue
Rangers junior Breck Donahue continued an unofficial record for the Lewis-Palmer swim program when he won a swim-off against Cherry Creek's Joe Morris to determine 16th place in the 100 freestyle prelims.
"The coaches told me no pressure, but Lewis-Palmer has never lost a swim-off at state," Donahue said, adding L-P is now 12-0 in those situations when swimmers have tied in different prelims and had to face off to determine placing.
Donahue won the two-man race with a time of 47.91 seconds to beat Morris (48.04) in an extra heat that had the few hundred fans, athletes and coaches remaining at the end of Friday cheering.
By winning the swim-off, Donahue finished 16th and made the consolation final (places 9-16) with a chance to garner team standings points for the Rangers.
"I just went out there and swam my best," Donahue said. "Those consolation points are valuable from a team perspective."
Pine Creek’s Sherman resets two more school records
Look out Pine Creek record board. Nicholas Sherman looks well on his way to complete domination by the time he’s done.
The junior reset two more Friday in first-day action at the 4A state boys’ swim meet in the 100-yard freestyle (46.10 seconds) and 100 backstroke (51.00) at the Air Force Academy.
His backstroke time was the fastest of the 40 qualifiers in the event as he seeks to become Pine Creek’s first swimming champion in years, if at all, in the 19-year history of the school.
“He had some really fast swims, and he anchored the 400 free relay team that set another school record,” Eagles coach Steve Owsley said. “We’ll see what he has left in the tank for finals. It should be fun to watch.”
The best Pine Creek boys’ individual finish in recent years came in 2009, when Gregg Hutto placed third in the 100 freestyle.
Hutto owned the school record in the 50 and 100 free until Sherman came along. Now, Sherman also holds school marks in the 200 free and 100 backstroke. He’s not too far away in the 200 individual medley and also has his name on the 400 freestyle relay record.
Carr highlights locals to make finals in two individual events
Daniel Carr, who in 2015 set state records en route to winning 4A titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle before taking last year off to train for the U.S. Olympic Trials, had top times Friday in the 50 freestyle (20.65) and 500 freestyle (4:37.97).
The senior is one of five from Cheyenne Mountain to register top-eight times in two events and return for Saturday’s championship finals, which start at 2:30 p.m. Overall, nine swimmers from the Pikes Peak region were double finalists.
Carr will be joined by teammates Jerry Birnbaum (100 free and 100 back), Gabe Grauvogel (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke), Kyle Leach (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly) and Sheridan Harder (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke), along with Air Academy’s Griffin Ayotte (200 free, 100 free), Nicholas Sherman of Pine Creek (100 free, 100 backstroke), Discovery Canyon’s Robert Clayton (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly) and Marley Kaiser of Coronado (50 free, 100 breaststroke).