From the moment Harper Lehman dove into the pool, it was evident the Cheyenne Mountain girls' swimming and diving team meant business at the 4A state meet.
The Indians' 200-yard medley relay team, started by Harper in the backstroke, not only won the state title, but also set a 4A state record in the event (1 minute, 44.59 seconds), and was the tone setter for a team title for Cheyenne Mountain.
"Being able to start the meet off like that helped the whole team get excited so that we could all swim at a high level," Lehman said. "I got to set a state record with three girls who I've grown up with and looked up to, which made this even better."
Cheyenne Mountain coach Kate Doane didn't intentionally put the 200 medley relay team together to have one girl from each grade level included, but that's exactly what happened - and in order.
Lehman gave way to sophomore Sophia Bricker in the breaststroke, who was followed by junior Cat Wright in the butterfly, and senior Maggie Tibbitt closed it out in the freestyle.
"I couldn't have asked for a better end to my high school career," Tibbitt said. "We had a lot of talent across the board, and our freshmen were contributing to our team score just as much as the seniors. It was cool to have four girls from different grades come together for this record."
The state record in the 200 medley relay was the first of several state titles for the Indians, whose team total of 308 points was 32 better than second-place Valor Christian.
Wright would also win her second 100 butterfly title in the past three years, while she and Bricker were a big part of the 200 freestyle relay team that took first.
"It meant so much to be the second girls' swimming team in Cheyenne Mountain history to win state, and the first in 15 years," Wright said. "We hope that (medley) record stays around for a while. It went in order of age, which was so much cooler, and showed how much everyone stepped up to the plate."
Bricker has two relay state titles and a team championship on her résumé, and she has two years left in high school.
"The individual side of it will push me to keep working harder the next two years," Bricker said. "But it's an incredible feeling to know that my name, and my teammates' names, will be on (4A heat sheets) for others to look at in the 200 medley, and to strive to be better than our time."
Doane, who was named 4A Coach of the Year, was thrilled to see her team finally get to the top of the podium after several years of top-three finishes and near misses.
"It was years of hard work, determination, perseverance and pushing through," Doane said. "We have a group of girls who were cohesive and willing to do whatever it took to bring home the gold trophy."
Tibbitt is the lone member of the record-setting 200 medley relay who will need to be replaced next season. But she'll be paying attention from college.
"I'll definitely check in next year," she said. "You never really leave Cheyenne Mountain, and you always bleed maroon. This is a state title for not only this team, but all the alumni."