Boys Swimming: Phillips, Burkhardt shine at Smoky Hill Invitational

Smoky Hill junior Tylen Phillips takes a breath as he nears the wall during the championship final of the 100 yard backstroke at the 2017 Smoky Hill Invitational boys swim meet on April 15, 2017, at Smoky Hill High School. Phillips won the event in a time of 52.30 seconds that topped a school record that stood since the early 1990s. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | Scott Cohen has some work to do on the record boards at the Smoky Hill pool after Saturday’s Smoky Hill Invitational.

Come Monday, the record boards above the diving well on the east end of the swimming pool area will need to change in the wake of some fantastic swims at the Buffaloes’ annual signature event.

In all, three meet records, two Smoky Hill team records and a pool record fell in a very competitive meet that saw Cohen’s Buffaloes — who got event wins from junior Tylen Phillips and sophomore Alex Burkhardt — finish third behind Highlands Ranch and Ponderosa. With a late kick, Cherokee Trail surged into fourth place in a 14-team field, moving way up from ninth last season.

Highlands Ranch (a co-op team) started the day by setting a meet record of 1 minute, 38.31 seconds in the 200 yard medley relay, taking down the previous time of 1:39.06 clocked by Discovery Canyon in 2014, which put a fast start to a meet that saw it score 541 points to finish 50 in front of Ponderosa.

The Mustangs got the big performance of the meet from sophomore Blake Wilton, who took down the 100 butterfly meet record of former Heritage star Mark Dylla, one of the most decorated boys swimming in Colorado history. Wilton bettered Dylla’s 2007 mark of 50.45 seconds with a 50.30 in Saturday morning’s prelims, then topped himself with a time of 49.64 seconds in the final that also usurped Jake Markham’s 2014 mark of 50.90 as the Smoky Hill pool record.

Phillips, an Eaglecrest student swimming for Smoky Hill, couldn’t quite keep pace with Wilton in the butterfly, but he made some history of his own with his runner-up time of 51.55. Phillips bettered the 51.64 of Jeff Parkinson set in the early 2000s.

A short time later, Phillips on the championship in the 100 backstroke and set another team record in the process. His time of 52.30 seconds put him first by nearly 2.5 seconds and eclipsed the former mark of 52.71 owned by Adam Kerstein, a late 1990s graduate of Smoky Hill.

Burkhardt didn’t set any records, but he did win the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:57.41, more than four seconds faster than he swam in the morning prelims. He also added a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle in an eight-place improvement from his result in the same event at last season’s Smoky Hill Invitational.

Smoky Hill junior Tim Domashevich battled in the diving competition, but couldn’t quite keep up with Denver East’s Quinn Poppert and finished second with a score of 483.20 points. Junior Jordan Scott also scored big for the Buffaloes with a pair of top-four individual finishes and Smoky Hill took third in both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.

Coach Kipp Meeks’ Cherokee Trail team had no champions, but junior Trevor Holman was its top individual performer with a fifth-place result in the 100 freestyle.

Holman also swam on the Cougars’ 400 and 200 freestyle relay teams, which placed fourth and sixth, respectively.

Denver South finished eight points behind Cherokee Trail in fifth place, paced by senior star Keegan Bundy, who came away with the other meet record.

Bundy sprinted to a time of 20.97 seconds in the 50 freestyle to get past the 21.02 of Douglas County grad JP Beach.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel


April 15 at Smoky Hill High School

Team scores: 1. Highlands Ranch 541 points; 2. Ponderosa 491; 3. SMOKY HILL 429; 4. CHEROKEE TRAIL 241; 5. Denver South 233; 6. Heritage 193; 7. Liberty 180; 8. Denver East 171; 9. George Washington 158; 10. Chatfield 104; 11. Douglas County 95; 12. Mullen 77; 13. SMOKY HILL RED 76; 14. SMOKY HILL GREEN 44

Full 2017 Smoky Hill Invitational results, here