THORNTON | While Fossil Ridge has cemented itself as the most elite program in Class 5A boys swimming right now, the program that held that moniker for a long, long time hasn’t gone far.
Regis Jesuit has seen the SaberCats win the last three 5A state titles by increasingly larger margins — the past one by 105 points — but the Raiders have remained their closest competition the entire time.
Projected to finish fifth based on pre-meet psyche sheets, coach Nick Frasersmith’s Raiders again claimed the runner-up trophy with a 253-point performance Saturday at the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center, site of the program’s last state championship in 2014, its 21st all-time.
One thing that was different for the Raiders was a lack of a state championship, as it is unknown how long it has been since they didn’t have at least one swimmer, diver or relay team make it to the top of the medal podium. Regis Jesuit had at least one winner in the past 16 years at minimum.
The Sabercats were in part responsible for breaking that title-winning streak as they swept the relays, including a win by 0.66 of a second over the Raiders in their bread and butter, the 200 yard medley relay.
Regis Jesuit juniors Elijah Warren, Ty Coen and senior Alex Strepman — three-fourths of the team that won last season’s medley relay title — plus sophomore Will Goodwin fell just short.
Liberty’s Joshua Lenzmeier denied the Raiders’ next-best chance for a title as he unseated Warren as the 100 yard breaststroke state champion by touching the wall a mere 0.22 of a second ahead of Warren, who had a look of disbelief on his face when he looked up at the scoreboard.
Despite the lack of a championship, Regis Jesuit piled up points with depth and season-best performances despite the lack of titles with at least one championship finalists in nine of 12 events and high podium finishes from Coen — third place in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke — Warren, who was also fourth in the 50 free to go with his breaststroke second and Goodwin, who was third in the 200 individual medley and sixth in the breaststroke.
Senior Cameron Weese and juniors Sam Jones and Elliot Steinberg also made championship finals for the Raiders, who had nine different individual swimmers qualify for at least one championship or consolation final. Steinberg rose from 31st in the 200 freestyle to place 10th and Jones moved from the 28th seeded all the way to sixth in the 100 free.
Junior Connor McCabe also scored in a pair of consolation finals for Regis Jesuit.
Next up among Aurora teams in the standings came Smoky Hill, which rode a strong meet from juniors Tylen Phillips and Timothy Domashevich to 15th place.
Phillips (an Eaglecrest student who swims for coach Scott Cohen’s Buffaloes) came in one spot out of the championship finals after the prelims of the 100 butterfly, but the disqualification of a swimmer who finished in front of him bumped him into the top eight. He held the eighth spot and also scored with a 12th-place showing in the 200 freestyle, while also accounting for a leg on the Buffaloes’ 15th-place 200 medley relay.
Domashevich posted a career-best sixth place finish on the diving board with a total of 459.20 points, a two-place and nearly 25-point improvement from his total from last season’s state meet.
The Hinkley co-op team — assembled from swimmers from across the Aurora Public Schools district — had an outstanding showing with all three of its divers making it into the finals (top 16) in Isaiah Cheeks and brothers Byron and Jerald Mayo, in addition to a combined three extra swims for juniors David Griffith (Gateway) and Nathan Leigh (Vista PEAK).
Griffith made it into the championship finals of the 50 freestyle by beating Regis Jesuit’s Strepman in a swim-off for the last spot and he used that opportunity to claim seventh place, while he was 10th in the 100 freestyle.
Leigh placed 16th in the 200 individual medley, while Cheeks, Byron Mayo and Jerald Mayo finished 11th, 13th and 16th, respectively, in a highly-competitive field of divers.
Coach Beth Himes’ team took 17th place as a team and far exceeded last season’s showing in which it scored one point with 31 this time.
The consolation finalist performances of seniors Darius Dinkins (11th in the 100 breaststroke) and Daniel Schweitzberger (14th in the 100 backstroke) provided the nine points that put Grandview in the No. 25 spot in the team standings.
The Wolves also made it back to consolation finals in the 200 medley relay, but were disqualified after the race.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE SWIM MEET
May 20 at Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center
Team scores — 1. Fossil Ridge 358; 2. REGIS JESUIT 253; 3. Cherry Creek 217; 4. Fairview 191.5; 5. Highlands Ranch 135.5; 6. Boulder 133.5; 7. Arapahoe 129; 8. Lewis-Palmer 119.5; 9. Fort Collins 105; 10. Ponderosa 100; 11. Broomfield 98; 12. Legacy 71; 13. Denver South 51; 14. Ralston Valley 44; 15. SMOKY HILL 43; 16. Rocky Mountain 40; 17. HINKLEY 31; 18. Columbine 29; 19. Palmer 26; 20. Palisade/GJ/Fruita 24; 21. Bear Creek 23; 22. Greeley West 22; 23. Liberty 20; 24. Denver East 11; 25. GRANDVIEW 9; 26. Heritage 7; T27. Fountain-Fort Carson 6; T27. Mountain Range 6; T29. Arvada West 5; T29. Thornton 5; T31. Monarch 4; T31. Chatfield 4; 33. Lakewood 2
Full 5A boys state swim meet results, here
GRANDVIEW: Darius Dinkins, sr. (11th, 100 yard breaststroke); Daniel Schweitzberger, sr. (14th, 100 yard backstroke)
HINKLEY: Isaiah Cheeks, jr., (13th, diving); David Griffith, jr. (7th, 50 yard freestyle/10th, 100 yard freestyle); Nathan Leigh, jr. (16th, 200 yard indiv. medley); Byron Mayo, jr. (11th, diving); Jerald Mayo, sr. (16th, diving)
REGIS JESUIT: Jack Clouatre, soph. (12th, 100 yard backstroke); Ty Coen, jr. (3rd, 100 yard butterfly/3rd, 100 yard backstroke); Will Goodwin, soph. (3rd, 200 yard indiv. medley/6th, 100 yard breaststroke); Sam Jones, jr. (6th, 100 yard freestyle/11th, 200 yard freestyle); Connor McCabe, jr. (14th, 500 yard freestyle/15th, 200 yard indiv. medley); Elliot Steinberg, jr. (7th, 500 yard freestyle/10th, 200 yard freestyle); Alex Strepman, sr. (13th, 50 yard freestyle); Elijah Warren, jr. (2nd, 100 yard breaststroke/4th, 50 yard freestyle); Cameron Weese, sr. (8th, 100 yard breaststroke/10th, 200 yard indiv. medley); Relays — Will Goodwin, Elijah Warren, Ty Coen, Alex Strepman (2nd, 200 yard medley relay); Sam Jones, Alex Baldwin, TJ Miller, Alex Strepman (7th, 200 yard freestyle); Ty Coen, TJ Miller, Sam Jones, Elijah Warren (3rd, 400 yard freestyle relay)
SMOKY HILL: Timothy Domashevich, jr. (6th, diving); Tylen Phillips, jr. (8th, 100 yard butterfly/12th, 200 yard freestyle); Relays — Tylen Phillips, Aleks Volkov, Tam Nguyen, Jordan Scott (15th, 200 yard medley relay)