Cherry Creek High School has set a standard in Colorado girls swimming and the Bruins enhanced that tradition on Feb. 16 at the Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center in Thornton.
The Bruins won their second straight state title at the Class 5A girls state swimming and diving championships. Since the sport was sanctioned in 1974, the Lady Bruins have won 28 state swimming titles in 48 years.
Cherry Creek used its depth to amass 502 points, with Fairview coming in second with 397 markers. Regis Jesuit, sparked by Emma Weber’s individual win in the 100 breaststroke, was third with 349 points.
Arapahoe led the way for other south metro schools. The Warriors were seventh. Rock Canyon finished eighth, Chaparral 14th, Valor Christian 16th, Douglas County 17th, Legend 21st, ThunderRidge 22nd and Mountain Vista 23rd.
Creek won two relay events and set a state record in the 200 freestyle relay. The Bruins also won their first individual state championship since 2012 when junior Alexis Greenhawt captured the 100 backstroke title with a winning time of 54.03. Greenhawt was also on the 200 medley relay team and was third in the 100 butterfly.
Creek had a first-year coach in Karin Olmstead Dinsdale, who was a former Bruins swimmer. She took over from Eric Craven, who retired after 30 years.
“I’m lucky to coach a lot of talent and we got better this year,” said Dinsdale. “We tried to keep the best behind us. I got very good advice from another coach and he said pressure is good. Coming in and defending the title as a new coach and just because I had to deal with my team and deal with the alumni, bringing the trophy home was something really special.
“We had a lot of fast swimmers on the top and some of them did their best. We’re lucky to have that. We had a lot of people that swam up. I’m super proud of the tradition at Cherry Creek and this group of girls.”
The 200 medley foursome of sophomore Charlotte Wilson, junior Katie Cohen, Greenhawt and junior Lawson Ficken won the first event of the finals session in 1:40.35.
Senior Ella Turken, Ficken, freshman Ana Loverridge and senior Elizabeth Brock were on the 200 freestyle relay team, which set a state and 5A record with a time of 1:33.00. The previous record was 1:33.80, set last season by Fairview.
Ficken had one of the fastest times in school history of 22.1 in her leg of the relay.
“It is amazing we set a state record,” said Ficken, who was also the runner-up in the 50 and 100 freestyle indivdual events. “I’m so proud of the girls. I was super nervous before the race. Honestly I didn’t even look at the time, I just tried to touch the wall.”
Wilson was another Creek swimmer who placed high as she was second in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke.
“We trained so hard, so I think we knew we could win the state championship,” added Ficken.
Sophomore Mila Nikanorov of the Douglas County/Castle View co-op team was third in the 200 freestyle and captured the 500 freestyle individual title in 4:55.86.
Nikanorov’s state title was somewhat of a surprise since her best time in the regular season of 5:12.81 was the 11th fastest among 5A swimmers. She also was third in the 200 freestyle finals to highlight performances by other south metro swimmers.