Last spring, the Fossil Ridge (Fort Collins)
boys swimming and diving program showcased why depth is so crucial at the state meet. It also demonstrated how relays can help decide a state championship.
The SaberCats rolled to a third consecutive Class 5A state championship in 2017 despite not winning any individual state titles. What Fossil Ridge did instead was sweep the three relays and have at least one placer – sometimes as many as three – finish in the top eight of every final with the exception of diving.Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
, which also claimed a third consecutive title in 4A, followed a similar path. The Indians won all three relays but also had four individual champions.
It's a lesson every other team will take to heart when the state swimming and diving championships get rolling Friday afternoon. The 5A state meet takes place at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton, with finals scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday. The 4A state meet is at the Air Force Academy, with finals set for the same time.
Here is a quick look at the two classifications headed into Friday's preliminary round:State swim psych sheets
// State schedule
While no all-classification records fell last year, Fossil Ridge made it interesting. The SaberCats' 200-yard medley relay team finished just .16 seconds off the record time set by Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
Coming into the state meet, no 2018 times are an immediate threat to those Colorado prep records – but that doesn't mean swimmers won't make a run at those top times.
Fossil Ridge enters state seeded first in the 400 free relay by nearly 5 seconds over Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
. The SaberCats are second to the Raiders in the 200 medley by .20 seconds, and just behind Cherry Creek in the 200 free relay. Senior Danny Kovac
has a nearly 3-second edge for the top time in the 200 individual medley (1:50.67) and is also the top seed in the 100 butterfly (48.65). Teammate Matt Geraghty
is seeded first in the 100 free (47.12) and third in the 50 free.
Regis Jesuit is seeded first in the 200 medley relay, second in the 400 free relay and fifth in the 200. Senior Elijah Warren
, who had an automatic All-American time in the 100 breaststroke as a junior – finishing just .22 seconds out of first – enters state with the top time in the breaststroke (57.55) and is second to Lane Austin
of Mountain Range (Westminster)
in the 50 free (21.40). Junior William Goodwin
is seeded second in the 200 IM behind Kovac and is second to Warren in the breaststroke.
The only returning champions are Boulder's Quinton Pierce
in the 500 free and Gavin Olson
of Columbine (Littleton)
in the 100 breaststroke. Olson enters state with the top time in the event, less than a second ahead of Austin. Pierce is currently third in the 500 free, trailing Broomfield's Harrison Lierz
and Lakewood's Isaac Garcia
.Bear Creek (Lakewood)
diver Octavio Lucero
is the two-time defending champion in that event.
In addition to being the top seed in the 500 free, Lierz also owns the top time in the 200 free by more than a second. He has a nearly five-second cushion in the 500 free at 4:38.60. He finished second in that event as a freshman and was also the runner-up in the 200 IM.Class 4A
Whereas no records were broken in 5A last May, the same couldn't be said for the 4A field. Liam Gately of Thompson Valley (Loveland)
set 4A state records in winning the 100 free and 200 free, and Cheyenne Mountain's 400 free relay team also set a state record. Indians junior Kyle Leach
just missed the 4A record in the 100 butterfly by .04 seconds.
Cheyenne Mountain is seeded first in the 200 medley relay coming into the 4A state meet, but is eighth in the other two relays. Leach is the program's top hope for an individual title, as the senior is seeded first in the 50 free (20.77) and 100 free (45.46).
Last year's runner-up, Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
, is seeded second in the 200 medley and 200 free relays. Junior Caleb Kim
is more than a second off Leach's time in the 50 free.
A few names to watch this weekend include Montrose
junior Ryan King
, who is first in the 200 free (1:44.38) and has a more than 6-second cushion in the 500 free (4:37.79).Mullen (Denver)
senior Blayze Jessen
comes into state seeded first in the 200 IM (1:53.14) and second in the 100 breaststroke. Jack Moranetz
of D'Evelyn (Denver)
is first in the 100 breaststroke (57.02) and second to King in the 200 free; Pine Creek (Colorado Springs)
senior Nicholas Sherman
is seeded first in the 100 backstroke (52.16) and second in the 200 IM.Discovery Canyon (Colorado Springs)
teammates Robert Clayton
and Tommy Rauchut
have the top two times in the 100 butterfly. Golden
is seeded first in the 200 free relay, third in the 400 free relay and fifth in the 200 medley. Junior Cory Leidich
is seeded second in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 IM, and Tyler Cohan
is top four in the 100 free and 200 free.Wheat Ridge's Ryan Peterson
, who won the 200 IM as a sophomore, is second in the 100 free and fourth in the 200 free.