Heritage girls coach Tom Byorick called his swimmers phenomenal after the Eagles won the Class 4A state swimming and diving championships at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.
It was the second straight 4A state title for the Eagles, who dominated the two days of competition that ended Feb. 11.
Heritage racked up 636 points, 329 points ahead of second-place Windsor. Pine Creek was third with 299.5 points. Highlands Ranch finished seventh, Littleton was 18th and Ponderosa finished in 29th place.
Despite the Eagles’ lopsided runaway with the 4A state title, there is hope for other 4A teams since Heritage will move up to Class 5A next season.
Heritage won three individual state championships and all three relay events to capture half of the gold medals in this season’s 12 state meet events.
“We had such an amazing group of kids and on paper we all knew we were heavy favorites,” said Byorick. “We wanted to win all three relays. That was a big goal and we did it.
“We had a magical season last year. We have another great freshman class and they brought this incredible energy, the sophomores are amazing, the juniors are unbelievable and the senior divers were rock stars.
“So it was important that we swam well. We rallied around each other.”
Junior Mary Macaulay won the state title in the 100 butterfly with a time of 54.71 and in the 100 backstroke in 54.86. She also swam on the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
“I cool down in between races and I never get out of the pool because otherwise I will sit and stress about it,” said Macaulay. “It felt great. I’m really happy with my performance.”
Sophomore Kenzie Myco captured the 100 freestyle in 51.58 and swam a leg on the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
The Eagles’ 200 yard medley relay team of Macaulay, Aislyn Barnett, Inge Ehm and Amaia Sherman won with a time of 1:44.27.
Sophia Capp, Myco, Elise Ramsden and Sherman won the 200 freestyle relay by three hundreds of a second over Niwot thanks to a great anchor leg by Sherman. Heritage finished in 1:35.43 compared to 1:35.46 for Niwot.
Heritage’s 400 relay team of Macaulay, Ramsden, Myco and Capp were first in the final event of the meet with a 3:27.95 clocking.
Heritage diver Morgan Divita finished second and was the only senior among those in a scoring position who was not an underclassman.
“That bodes well for the future but we jump up to 5A next year,” said Byorick. “That’s one of the hidden things we talked about was using this year to be great and as a springboard to next year and we get new challenges next year. We will be well prepared.”
Macaulay is looking forward to next season.
“It feels good to win the state title,” she said. “I’m happy about it. I also feel we should be in 5A.
“On all of our relays, we’re all going to be there next year. Hopefully we’re all going to get faster and I’m really excited.”
One other swimmer from a South Metro team did well. Sophomore Renee Burton of Highlands Ranch was the runner-up in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.99.