Boys Swimming: Raiders at all-time strength going into 5A state meet

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When you coach a swim team that’s dominated the state for the past two decades, it’s hard to compare strong teams against each other.

Regis Jesuit boys swim coach Mike Doherty has had scores of All-Americans and Division I swimmers on his roster during a stretch that’s seen the Raiders win 17 of the past 18 state championships, but his 2013 group might be the most complete he’s ever had.

With University of Texas-bound senior star Clark Smith and junior standout Hennessey Stuart leading the way, Regis Jesuit goes into the May 17-18 5A state meet at the El Pomar Natatorium in Grand Junction loaded for bear.

Doherty stopped a little short of saying this team was his absolute best, but the group could very well seal the deal by the time the weekend is over. Prelims begin at 4 p.m. May 17, with finals slated for 2 p.m. May 18.

“You have to say this team is up there; they’ve broken almost every team record on our board and our board is fast,” Doherty said.

“A lot of those times are right off state records. I feel confident in this group, but we still have to do the work Friday and Saturday.”

The Raiders — who cruised to the Continental “A” League championship May 11 without many of their big guns — have plenty of swimmers and divers in the pool to spread the work around.

Twenty-four state qualifiers — four of them divers — are set to compete at state and seven others with state qualifying times won’t get to swim. Teams can enter only four swimmers in each event and Regis Jesuit is full up.

Leading the way is Smith, the state champion in the 100-yard butterfly for three straight seasons and the overwhelming favorite for a fourth. His top time of 48.46 seconds is nearly two seconds faster than the No. 2 seed.

“Even for Clark, he looks like a man among boys right now,” Doherty said of Smith, who is also seeded first in the 200 freestyle.

Smith qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer in Omaha, Neb., as did Stuart, who is still in search of his first individual state championship.

He’s the top seed in both the 200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke. Stuart finished 8th in the IM and fourth in the backstroke last season, an event he’ll get a serious challenge in from Cherry Creek star Darryl Turner.

Seniors Erik Biernat and Tim Smith, juniors Chris Dawson and Austin Phillips and sophomore Quinlan Stuart also take top 10 seeds into at least one state event.

Diving should yield major points for Regis Jesuit as well, as coach Taylor Roberts —a former state diver champion at Smoky Hill — has back three placers from a season ago.

Sophomore Kyle Goodwin — the state champion — runner-up Matt Mauser and placer Christopher Clayton all return, in addition to improved senior Charlie Marks, making the diving board a potentially lucrative source of points.

Aurora’s next-best team is Smoky Hill, which has hopes to finish in the top five. Coach Scott Cohen’s group has just three seniors among a school-record 16 state qualifiers and Cohen has high hopes for his young talent.

The Buffaloes finished second at the Centennial “A” League Championships in their home pool on May 11, finishing ahead of Arapahoe for the first time since 2006.

Junior Juhan Hong won two Centennial League titles and is hoping he is on the path to bettering some disappointing past state performances. He’s seeded third in the 500 freestyle, his specialty, and 10th in the 200 freestyle.

Senior Mason Markle and junior diver Chris Hartman are returning state scorers for the Buffs.

“This is a huge group of kids for us, so they are going to get a lot of good experience and our energy level on deck should be high,” Cohen said. “Hopefully it will be a good meet for everybody.”

Cherokee Trail’s breakout season includes 10 state qualifiers, headed by two juniors: Centennial “A” League 100 breaststroke champion Josh Bedford and T.J. Konde, a placer in the 100 backstroke last season.

Bedford is the Cougars’ highest seed, going into state at No. 2 in the breaststroke after setting a Centennial League record with a time of 59.32 seconds May 11.

Hinkley has a pair of state qualifiers in junior Tim Martin and senior Sam Buchholz.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555

2013 AURORA CLASS 5A BOYS STATE SWIMMING QUALIFIERS

AURORA | Individual and relay qualifiers from Aurora schools for the May 17-18 Class 5A boys state swim meet at the El Pomar Natatorium on the campus of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction:

CHEROKEE TRAIL — Individuals (10): Josh Bedford (50 yard freestyle, 20th/100 yard breaststroke, 2nd); Eric Daugherty (100 yard backstroke, 32nd); Brady Garvin (diving); Korbin Green (200 yard individual medley, 41st); Seung Kim (100 yard butterfly, 51st/100 yard breaststroke, 18th); TJ Konde (200 yard freestyle, 19th/100 yard backstroke, 4th); Eric Lammon (diving); Tristan Nation (diving); Jacob Salinas (500 yard freestyle, 51st); Mitchell Stieg (200 yard freestyle, 39th/100 yard butterfly, 23rd); Relays (3): 200 yard medley relay, 6th; 200 yard freestyle relay, 18th; 400 yard freestyle relay, 16th

GRANDVIEW — Individuals (6): James Boone (200 yard freestyle, 15th/500 yard freestyle, 14th); Joe Flynn (100 yard butterfly, 49th); Robin Kuebler (500 yard freestyle, 41st); Dillon Moore (100 yard backstroke, 31st); Triston Mosby (200 yard freestyle, 18th/100 yard freestyle, 9th); Alex Turner (200 yard individual medley, 34th/100 yard breaststroke, 47th); Relays (3): 200 yard medley relay, 26th; 200 yard freestyle relay, 17th; 400 yard freestyle relay, 18th

HINKLEY — Individuals (2): Sam Buchholz (100 yard freestyle, 43rd); Tim Martin (200 yard individual medley, 28th/100 yard breaststroke, 27th); Relays (2): 200 yard medley relay, 34th; 200 yard freestyle relay, 32nd

REGIS JESUIT — Individuals (24): Cristian Adams (100 yard backstroke, 19th); Simon Barshay (100 yard butterfly, 39th); Erik Biernat (50 yard freestyle, 3rd); Nicolas Birney (100 yard breaststroke, 14th); Mitchell Bruckman (200 yard freestyle, 14th/100 yard butterfly, 12th); Christopher Clayton (diving); Christopher Dawson (200 yard freestyle, 12th/500 yard freestyle, 5th); Kyle Goodwin (diving); Christopher Kannawin (50 yard freestyle, 28th/500 yard freestyle, 25th); Theodore Koerner (100 yard breaststroke, 16th); Charlie Marks (diving); Matt Mauser (diving); Frank Morton (500 yard freestyle, 27th); Bruce Nerheim (200 yard individual medley, 13th/500 yard freestyle, 29th); Austin Phillips (200 yard freestyle, 16th/100 yard backstroke, 8th); William Pieseski (50 yard freestyle, 15th/100 yard freestyle, 28th); Clark Smith (200 yard freestyle, 1st/100 yard butterfly, 1st); Tim Smith (200 yard individual medley, 3rd/100 yard butterfly, 11th); Ethan Stanley (100 yard breaststroke, 14th); Hennessey Stuart (200 yard individual medley, 1st/100 yard backstroke, 1st); Quinlan Stuart (200 yard individual medley, 8th/100 yard breaststroke, 9th); Jesse Suchomel (50 yard freestyle, 22nd/100 yard freestyle, 21st); Garrett Suter (100 yard freestyle, 26th/100 yard backstroke, 11th); Zach Suter (100 yard freestyle, 11th); Relays (3): 200 yard medley relay, 1st; 200 yard freestyle relay, 1st; 400 yard freestyle relay, 1st

SMOKY HILL — Individuals (16): Daniel Antunez (200 yard individual medley, 35th/500 yard freestyle, 43rd); Devin Bellamy (diving); Evan Dorrough (50 yard freestyle, 37th); Ethan Evans (200 yard individual medley, 39th/500 yard freestyle, 45th); Chris Hartman (diving); Juhan Hong (200 yard freestyle, 10th/500 yard freestyle, 3rd); Nathan Hoskins (100 yard butterfly, 46th); Alex Kohlman (100 yard freestyle, 13th); Chris Langlett (100 yard breaststroke, 40th); Derek Liu (200 yard freestyle, 36th/500 yard freestyle, 33rd); Mason Markle (50 yard freestyle, 33rd/100 yard breaststroke, 19th); Artur Meletyan (100 yard freestyle, 38th); Aidan Mercer (100 yard butterfly, 14th/100 yard breaststroke, 8th); Ryan Mitchell (diving); Adithya Mohan (100 yard backstroke, 30th); Alex Moulton (100 yard breaststroke, 50th); Relays (3): 200 yard medley relay, 9th; 200 yard freestyle relay, 13th; 400 yard freestyle, 12th