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Cherry Creek boys swimming coach Chris Loftis was not happy with his team during the morning preliminaries of the Dick Rush Memorial Coaches Invitational meet on March 19 at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.

His team changed the mind of their coach in the meet finals and Creek won the team title in the season’s first big boys meet with 592.5 points.

Regis Jesuit was second with 539 points. Arapahoe finished fifth with 194 points. Heritage was eighth, Highlands Ranch ninth, Ponderosa 11th and Douglas County 18th.

“We had an average performance in the prelims that we needed to address and we did,” Loftis explained. “We challenged are guys and we had a great final session. We came together as a team and found some weaknesses that we can address.”

Senior Cade Martin paced the Bruins by winning the 100 backstroke in 51.76 and placing third in the 100 butterfly. He also swam a leg on the 200 medley relay team that was a runner-up.

Creek’s Thomas Sutherland, another senior, was second in the 200 freestyle and was on the 200 freestyle relay team that came in third.

Freshman Trevor Boodt added to the Bruins’ point total with a second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke.

Other individual winners from south metro schools included Ponderosa’s Tanner Braunton, who racked up 571.10 points to win the diving by edging out Collier Dyer of Arapahoe.

Luke Dinges of Regis won the 100 butterfly and swam a leg on the Raiders winning 200 medley relay foursome. Teammate Gio Aguirre captured the 100 freestyle and was on the winning 400 freestyle relay team.

Arapahoe’s senior captain Luke Brill was the winner of the Hoyt Brawner award based on academics, citizenship and athletic achievement.

Cherry Creek is the defending state champion team, which makes the Bruins a target for other swimming teams.

“That is definitely a perspective for us this year and an attitude we try to share as a program,” said Loftis. “Anything counts and we can’t be complacent.

“Our youth today shined. We have a lot of freshmen, sophomores and underclassmen and they’re brand new. And because of COVID, we’ve never experienced anything like this meet and they are stepping up which is good. This meet kicks off a good season of dual meets into a fun invitational season and then the championship season.”