Metzger-Seymour’s double-play delight

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Craig Harper
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Ralston Valley’s Erin Metzger-Seymour admitted she “kind of freaked’’ when she learned she wouldn’t have to swim against Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin in the 200-yard freestyle at this year’s Class 5A state meet.

As a sophomore in 2012, Metzger-Seymour faced Franklin in the final, where Franklin set a state record and scorched the field by more than nine seconds, with Metzger-Seymour finishing fourth behind the Arapahoe duo of Emily Mayo and Ella Moynihan.

While Franklin opted for other events, Metzger-Seymour couldn’t avoid Mayo and Moynihan, who flanked her in Saturday’s final at the Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins. No problem this time, as Metzger-Seymour, who posted the top qualifying, held off Moynihan for the first of her two state titles for the meet.

Metzger-Seymour won the 200 in 1:49.92, then capped her day by taking the 100 butterfly over defending champion Bailey Nero of Fossil Ridge with a time of 54.91. Metzger-Seymour, who was third in the fly in 2012, had the top time coming into the meet.

“It’s really nice; it makes me happy,’’ Metzger-Smith said of her sweep. “All my training paid off.

Metzger-Seymour said relaxation was a big difference this year. “I told (coach Annie Brown) at the hotel, `No matter what, let’s not talk about the races and just have fun.’’

Metzger-Seymour beat Moynihan by .38 second in the 200 and Bailey by .73 second. She bettered her 2012 state-meet times in the 200 by 3.85 seconds but couldn’t match her 54.74 in the fly.

“I worked a lot on the fly in practice and it paid off,’’ she said. “The fly has been my better event in previous years, but I was bad at the beginning of the season. I’m proud of both races. I got under 1:50 in the free for the first time, and it’s a Junior National time. I finally broke 55 (for the season) in the fly.’’

Ralston Valley teammate Madeline Myers, a junior, took third in the 500 freestyle (won by Franklin) in 4:57.63 and fifth in the 200 (1:52.57), and sophomores Mackenzie Atencio and Caylee Addison also placed in the top eight. Atencio was fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.33 and Addison was eighth in the 500 in 5:16.13.

The foursome led the Mustangs to ninth place as a team, the highest finish for the Jefferson County League contingent.

Lakewood senior Victoria Papke finished eighth in the 200 individual medley in 2:12.62 after qualifying for the final heat in 2:09.81. Two other Tigers placed: sophomore Meghan Lahr, 13th in the 50 freestyle (24.95), and Allison Murphy, 16th in diving (348.85 points). The Tigers finished 18th.

Arvada West junior Morgan McCormick took ninth in the backstroke (53.64) and 11th in the IM (2:09.89), but was seeded seventh in both events entering the meet. She finished seventh in the backstroke in 2012.

Pomona freshman Zarena Brown was 15th in the 500 in 5:20.78.

Franklin capped her high school career by adding two more state individual titles and setting a national and two state marks along the way in leading Regis Jesuit to its second team championship in three years. She

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 in 2013) and state records in the backstroke, IM and 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyles. In her final meet, she broke 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), then broke Brandon’s 500 record with a time of 4:41.72, her victory sending Regis into first place past defending team champion Fossil Ridge, a lead it never relinquished.

She 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.

Despite Franklin’s dominance, the Raiders were far from a one-girl show. They placed seven swimmers in both the finals and consolation finals, with freshman Lindsay Painton going third in the backstroke (57.13) and fifth in the 100 (52.06). Sophomore Taylor Wilson was fourth in the 50 (24.24) and ninth in the 100 (53.01) and swam on both winning relays. Marielle Renehan took fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.44) and Delaney Lanker was eighth in the butterfly (57.42), and divers Austin Mckensi (447.45 points) and Kellyn Toole (417.55) placed fourth and eighth. The 200 medley relay (without Franklin) team was second to Fossil Ridge.

“The entire team swam well,’’ said Regis coach Nick Frasiersmith. “I’m a true believer that championships are made by what you do in the prelims. We did that, and our relays really stepped up. From third to first is a wonderful turnaround.’’

Cherry Creek, which last won the team title in 2010 - its last in a streak of six straight and 13 of 16 - qualified for five individual finals but did not place higher than sixth. Senior Elaine Powell was sixth in the 50 (24.47) and eighth in the 100 (53.4). Colleen Wixted, another senior, was seventh in the 200 (1:53.67) and butterfly (57.10). The Bruins’ best relay finish was fourth in the 400 freestyle.

The meet’s other repeat winner was Loveland diver Micah Bower, who made it four straight, though her score of 486.15 points was short of last year’s 515.10. Bower won by almost 32 points.

Other winners were Lewis-Palmer freshman Andie Turner in the backstroke (56.28) and Loveland sophomore Brooke Hansen in the breaststroke (1:03.35).

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