FORT COLLINS -
This was a Colorado state swimming final unlike any other.
With a sold-out crowd and television cameras everywhere, the Class 5A swimming championships held Saturday in Fort Collins was charged with an electric atmosphere. Olympic hopeful Missy Franklin
and Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
All-American Bonnie Brandon
made sure the event lived up to the remarkable hype.
Brandon set a pair of state records and Franklin trimmed the independent national high school record
she set during the preliminary heats Friday, adding star power to a meet that saw Fossil Ridge (Fort Collins)
edge Cherry Creek by one point to capture the school's first girls swimming state championship.
"When I look back when Missy was a freshman and I was a sophomore, it was the usual crowd," Brandon said. "This year, it has grown every year to where it's now crazy. I think it's amazing how much we have brought to high school swimming. It's so good for the younger kids to have something to look up to."
Although Franklin, the 200 backstroke world record-holder from Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
, undoubtedly was the reason for the glut of cameras, Brandon arguably turned in the more impressive meet.
The University of Arizona-bound senior set Colorado records in the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle. Her time of 1 minute, 59.09 seconds in the IM trimmed an entire 2.8 seconds off the record Brandon set during Friday's preliminaries.
And Brandon was even more impressive in the 500, turning in a winning time of 4:43.52 that obliterated the mark of 4:51.56 Brandon set two years ago as a sophomore. Brandon also helped the Bruins to a sweep of the two freestyle relay races. She finished her career with 14 state championships overall, seven individually.
Franklin, of course, still was a force, winning the 200 freestyle in 1:43.15 to erase the national high school record of 1:43.98 she set one day earlier. Franklin also captured her third consecutive state title in the backstroke with a mark of 52.76, falling just short of her record of 52.30 set last year.
"We knew it was going to be really, really open this year for whoever took state. There were so many teams who could possibly get it," Franklin said. "(High school) was totally worth it. It's the perfect situation, to come out here and have so much fun.
"It's so great to be with my sisters and be with my team and enjoy it. State is unlike any meet out there, it's definitely one of a kind, and I want to be there as many times as I can."
In most other years, Fossil Ridge junior Rhianna Williams
would have been the standout swimmer of the meet. Williams won two of the SaberCats' three individual titles, taking first in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. Williams also swam the anchor leg of Fossil Ridge's winning effort in the medley relay.
The state title remained on the line heading into the final event, the 400 freestyle relay. While the Brandon-led Bruins (3:27.34) narrowly edged Williams' SaberCats (3:27.67), Cherry Creek could not quite close the gap in the team standings, as Fossil Ridge earned a 244-243 advantage over a Bruins team that was looking to reclaim the state title trophy after its run of six consecutive championships was halted by Regis Jesuit last year.
Freshman Bailey Nero
won Fossil Ridge's other individual title in the butterfly.
"It's so exciting," Williams said. "I've been waiting three years for this. Freshman year was kind of close. And so was last year. This year I came in with a more positive attitude than last year, so that helped. Last year we got fourth, and we were super excited for that. Having the chance to win it this year was just amazing."
Among the other highlights was Loveland
junior diver Michal Bower
winning her third consecutive state title. Also lost somewhat among the star power and shattered records filling the pool was the incredible race in the breaststroke, which Heritage (Littleton)
senior Michelle Patton
won by only .01 of a second over Lewis-Palmer (Monument)
senior Laura Day
Class 5A State Championships
At Edora Pool Ice Center, Fort CollinsTeam scores:
1. Fossil Ridge, 244; 2. Cherry Creek, 243; 3. Regis Jesuit, 181; 4. Lewis-Palmer, 171; 5. Arapahoe, 159; 6. Fairview, 155; 7. Heritage, 143; 8. Ralston Valley, 119; 9. Loveland, 116; 10. Grandview. 97.200 medley relay:
1. Fossil Ridge (Emily Campbell, Sammie Guay, Bailey Nero,Rhianna Williams), 1:45.02; 2. Regis Jesuit, 1:46.53; 3. Lewis-Palmer, 1:46.96; 4. Heritage, 1:46.99; 5. Fairview, 1:47.35; 6. Loveland, 1:49.60; 7. Cherry Creek, 1:50.73; 8. Arapahoe, 1:51.19. 200 freestyle:
1. Missy Franklin, Regis Jesuit, 1:43.15; 2. Emily Mayo, Arapahoe, 1:51.82; 3. Ella Moynihan, Arapahoe, 1:52.35; 4. Erin Metzger-Seymour, Ralston Valley, 1:53.01; 5. Colleen Wixted, Cherry Creek, 1:53.77; 6. Lacey Smith, Fairview, 1:54.14; 7. Amanda Richey, Boulder, 1:54.85; 8. Paula Stoddard, Mountain Vista, 1:54.86. 200 individual medley:
1. Bonnie Brandon, Cherry Creek, 1:59.09; 2. Frida Berggren, Lewis-Palmer, 2:02.41; 3. Michelle Patton, Heritage, 2:02.43; 4. Haley Rowley-Wiest, Boulder, 2:03.89; 5. Shelly Drozda, Mountain Range, 2:06.87; 6. Sammie Guay, Fossil Ridge, 2:08.13; 7. Kristen Haeger, Ralston Valley, 2:08.80; 8. Kelse Johnson, Smoky Hill, 2:09.93.50 freestyle:
1. Rhianna Williams, Fossil Ridge, 23.48; 2. Annie Ochitwa, ThunderRidge, 23.60; 3. Brooke Hansen, Loveland, 24.22; 4.Elaine Powell, Cherry Creek, 24.40; 5. Madison Dirks, Grandview, 24.49; 6. Hannah Kuhr, Columbine, 24.55; 7. Taylor Wilson, Regis Jesuit, 24.88; 8. Kassandra Brisch, Heritage, 24.97. Diving:
1. Michal Bower, Loveland, 515.10; 2. Cathleen Badillo, Legend, 455.85; 3. Chandler Marshall, Lewis-Palmer, 451.90; 4. Averly Hobbs, Chatfield, 437.10; 5. Madalyn Ingmire, ThunderRidge, 419.30; 6. Chanley Burge, Loveland, 401.10; 7. Ashley Heline, ThunderRidge, 394.25; 8. Ashley Peterson, Mountain Vista, 383.70.100 butterfly:
1. Bailey Nero, Fossil Ridge, 54.74; 2. Frida Berggren, Lewis-Palmer, 55.02; 3. Erin Metzger-Seymour, Ralston Valley, 55.74; 4. Madison Dirks, Grandview, 56.63; 5. Maggie Burkhardt, Denver East, 57.15; 6. Ashley Horodyski, Columbine, 57.72; 7. Fiona Kane, Cherry Creek, 57.99; 8. Colleen Wixted, Cherry Creek, 58.23.100 freestyle:
1. Rhianna Williams, Fossil Ridge, 51.11; 2. Annie Ochitwa, ThunderRidge, 52.19; 3. Ella Moynihan, Arapahoe, 52.36; 4. Lacey Smith, Fairview, 53.01; 5. Elaine Powell, Cherry Creek, 53.02; 6. Emily Campbell, Fossil Ridge, 53.05; 7. Karin Roh, Lewis-Palmer, 53.26; 8. Kristen Haeger, Ralston Valley, 53.29. 500 freestyle:
1. Bonnie Brandon, Cherry Creek, 4:43.52; 2. Allison Arnold, Legend, 5:00.63; 3. Emily Mayo, Arapahoe, 5:02.17; 4. Madeline Myers, Ralston Valley, 5:04.53; 5. Bailey Nero, Fossil Ridge, 5:04.53; 6. Amanda Richey, Boulder, 5:05.31; 7. Paula Stoddard, Mountain Vista, 5:07.20; 8. Savannah Rose, Arapahoe, 5:09.93.200 freestyle relay:
1. Cherry Creek (Elaine Powell, Alex Bae, Fiona Kane, Bonnie Brandon) 1:35.75; 2. Lewis-Palmer, 1:36.51; 3. Grandview, 1:38.81; 4. Fossil Ridge, 1:39.13; 5. Fairview, 1:39.17; 6. Denver East, 1:39.21; 7. Arapahoe, 1:39.33; 8. Heritage, 1:39.41. 100 backstroke:
1. Missy Franklin, Regis Jesuit, 52.76; 2. Sarah James, Doherty, 56.74; 3. Haley Rowley-Wiest, Boulder, 56.96; 4. Emily Campbell, Fossil Ridge, 57.40; 5. Kelse Johnson, Smoky Hill, 58.01; 6. Julia Box, Fairview, 59.08; 7. Morgan McCormick, Arvada West, 59.26; 8. Naomi Einhellig, Loveland, 59.34. 100 breaststroke:
1. Michelle Patton, Heritage, 1:02.69; 2. Laura Day, Lewis-Palmer, 1:02.70; 3. Kourtney Fosse, Fairview, 1:05.80; 4. Amanda Sanders, Monarch, 1:06.05; Brooke Hansen, Loveland, 1:06.28; 6. Sieriah Higgins, Fort Collins, 1:07.39; 7. Shelly Drozda, Mountain Range, 1:07.63; 8. Jackie Macke, Regis Jesuit, 1:08.56. 400 freestyle relay:
1. Cherry Creek (Elaine Powell, Fiona Kane, Colleen Wixted, Bonnie Brandon) 3:27.34; 2. Fossil Ridge, 3:27.67; 3. Regis Jesuit, 3:32.48; 4. Grandview, 3:34.81; 5. Heritage, 3:34.92; 6. Fairview, 3:35.52; 7. Ralston Valley, 3:36.18; 8. Arapahoe, 3:36.27.
Pat Rooney is a sportswriter for the Longmont
Times-Call/BoCoPreps.com. He may be reached at email@example.com.