Cherokee Trail senior Kadin Denner talks with friends at family before Colorado Stars swim practice on Nov. 11, 2020, at The Hills at Piney Creek swimming pool. Denner signed his National Letter of Intent to swim at the Division I level with California State, Bakersfield. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | The coronavirus pandemic kept Kadin Denner from creating swimming memories during his junior season at Cherokee Trail in the spring, but it didn’t keep him from achieving a big milestone Wednesday.

Denner was one of thousands of boys prep swimmers in Colorado that lost last season after the sudden arrival of COVID-19 and holds out hope that he will be able to swim for his school in the summer.

But more swimming is on the horizon for Denner, who signed his National Letter of Intent with Division I California State, Bakersfield and celebrated with a small ceremony at The Hills at Piney Creek pool with family and friends from his club team, the Colorado Stars.

With last season’s Class 5A state meet wiped out, Denner’s last state appearance came as a sophomore in 2019, when he finished ninth in the 500 yard freestyle and 12th in the 200 yard individual medley while contributing to Cherokee Trail’s 14th-place 400 freestyle relay team. Denner also swam multiple events at the state meet as a freshman, but just missed out on making it back to consolation finals.

“Kadin has the potential to really thrive in college,” CSUB Director of Swimming Chris Hansen said in a press release detailing his program’s six signees. “His events are spread out across a number of disciplines and once we find out where he should truly focus his potential is unlimited.”

Denner said he is really drawn to the family atmosphere he found at CSUB as he got to now the team and coaching staff in person and through virtual meetings.

Denner hopes boys swimming season begins as currently scheduled by the Colorado High School Activities Association, which has slated the sport to open on April 26, 2021.

Wednesday was the opening day of the first National Letter of Intent signing period and a large number of prep athletes from Aurora schools took advantage by signing scholarship offers in a wide variety of sports (list of signees/honorees by school, here).

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