Franklin doesn’t disappoint in final high school meet

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Craig Harper
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Missy Franklin agonized over whether or not to swim her senior season for Regis Jesuit, but in the end the Olympic multi-gold medalist went with her heart and swam in two dual meets and last weekend’s Class 5A championships.

“If I had to do it a hundred times over, I’d do it again,’’ Franklin said. “I’m so, so happy that I made that decision.’’

So are her Regis teammates. Franklin notched lopsided individual wins in “off’’ events for her - a national high school record the 200-yard individual medley and a state record in the 500 freestyle - and anchored two winning relay teams to lead the Raiders to their second state title in three years.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to end my high school career,’’ said Franklin, hoarse from cheering on and the title celebration with her teammates. “Just being able to swim with a Regis cap on my head, that’s what I’m going to remember the most.’’

Franklin finished her career with eight individual titles (three in the 100 backstroke, two in the 50 and one in the 200 in addition to the IM and 500) and state records in the backstroke, IM and 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyles. She capped her career by breaking records set last year by Cherry Creek’s Bonnie Brandon in the IM and 500, but insisted swimming those two events “was never about the records.’’

Franklin began her final prep meet by winning the IM in 1:56.85 (she set a state record of 1:58.22 in the prelims), besting runner-up Brooke Hansen of Loveland by almost 5 ½ seconds.

She then broke Brandon’s 500 record with a time of 4:41.72, her 13.26-second victory over Boulder’s Amanda Richey sending Regis into first place past defending team champion Fossil Ridge, a lead it never relinquished.

Franklin anchored Regis’ victorious 200 freestyle relay, then held off Fossil Ridge senior Rhianna Williams, who had repeated in the 50 (23.02) and 100 (49.90) freestyles, on the final leg of the 400 freestyle relay.

The Raiders, who were third in 2012, won with 287 points to Fossil Ridge’s 243.

Fairview was third with 181, and Arapahoe and Cherry Creek tied for fourth with 167.

Rock Canyon’s freshman duo of Abigail Kochever and Madeline Lacy both reached finals – Kochevar taking third in the 50 (24.14) and sixth in the 100 (52.08), and Lacy fifth in the 100 butterfly (57.03). Jaguars senior Nicole Cassou was 16th in the IM in 2:11.91.

“I’m so proud of Abby and Maddy,’’ said Rock Canyon coach Nicole Vanderpoel. “”Their first state meet is a big experience for them, and they handled themselves beautifully and swam their best times.’’

Mountain Vista’s Ashley Peterson was third in diving with 449.40 points. She led a Continental League foursome that finished 3-4-5-6, followed by Austin Mckensi of Regis (447.45), Kaitlin Costello of Castle View (444.75) and Cat Badillo of Legend (441.85). Loveland’s Michal Bower won her fourth straight title with 486.15 points. Badillo won the Continential League meet a week earlier, but has been battling back from injuries that have limited her training.

Chaparral seniors Makenna Wilson and Megan Grier made finals, Wilson taking fourth in the backstroke (57.47) and Grier seventh in the 50 (24.57). They both swam in the 100 consolation finals, Grier getting 10th in 53.30 and Wilson 11th in 53.49.

Freshman Hannah Paris placed ninth in the 50 (24.68) and tied for 12th in the 100 (53.93) for the Wolverines, while senior Annie Graves was 13th in the backstroke (59.45).

Heritage’s Mary Hinton was fifth in the 500 in 5:05.65 and ninth in the 200 in 1:55.34.

Castle View had two swimmers place, led by senior Morgan Stepp, who was seventh in the IM (2:10.97) and 15th in the butterfly (58.85). Senior Kristin Alfano was 16th in the breaststroke (1:10.84).

Legend senior Allison Arnold was sixth in the 500 (5:09.65) and sophomore Lauren Moden was 12th in the 50 (25.04).

Highlands Ranch had two placers: junior Gabrielly Liedy, 14th in the 50 in 25.13, and sophomore Jenny Penneck, 16th in the butterfly in 59.36.