Area swimmers stand out at state

Heritage, Regis Jesuit athletes won individual championships


Anna Shaw of Heritage and Sophia Bradac of Regis Jesuit won individual events, while Cherry Creek finished second in the team standings to highlight the performances of south metro athletes at the Class 5A state high school swimming and diving championships.

The competition was held Feb. 13 and 14 at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.

Shaw, who won a state 4A title in the 50 yard freestyle as a freshman in 2018 and was third last season in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles when Heritage moved up a classification, returned to the top of the podium as she won the 5A title in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.99. The junior was second in the 100-yard freestyle and swam legs on two relay teams for the Eagles, who were sixth in the final team standings.

“Looking back on this high school season, I’m really excited how I did,” Shaw said. “It feels good to be a state champion again. I ended on a high note.”

Heritage coach Tom Byorick said Shaw “can do it all.”

“She has found out a lot about herself in her versatility over the past year,” Byorick said. “I don’t know that she expected it. It is not a surprise for anybody that works with her. But if Anna makes up her mind to do something, she is pretty good at getting it done.”

Bradac, a senior who was the 2019 runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke, was first in the event this year with a time of 1:02.22 and helped the Raiders wind up third in the team standings.

Some of the other notable performances by south metro athletes included: Douglas County junior Margaret Kroening, who was second in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 100 butterfly; Megan Bergstrom, of Arapahoe, was second in the 500-yard freestyle; and Heritage freshman Aislyn Barnett, who was second in the 100 breaststroke.

Lyndsey Wehr, of Arapahoe, was third in the 50 freestyle, and Jada Surrell-Norwood of Regis Jesuit was third in the 100 freestyle.

Cherry Creek, paced by individual finishes from Jenna Smith and Elizabeth Brock, was in contention to win the state title until the final few races.

Creek coach Eric Craven kept track of the team scoring, which included B finals, and it was before the 100 backstroke, in which Fairview had three scoring swimmers against one for Creek, that the Bruins realized the Knights would win the championship.

Fairview wound up with 50 points, compared to five for the Bruins, in the backstroke and went on to win its second state title in a row. Fairview ended with 382.5 points while Creek had 348.

Creek held a slim four-point lead after nine events before the 100 yard backstroke when the Knights grabbed the team lead.

“The backstroke got us,” Craven said. “But we are extremely happy with second. Last year we were fourth, the year before that we were eighth and the year before that we were seventh. I’m very, very happy. We are a fairly young team, so we are coming up in the right direction.”


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