Girls Swimming: New venue, approach for Aurora’s state swimmers

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Regis Jesuit's Samantha Smith
Regis Jesuit freshman Samantha Smith takes a breath during the championship final of the 100 yard butterfly at the Continental “A” League girls swim meet on Feb. 8 at Heritage High School. Smith is one of 21 individual state qualifiers for the Raiders. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

A new chapter of Aurora girls swimming is set to unfold Feb. 14-15 at the Class 5A state meet.

Not only will the meet move from the venue it’s called home for roughly the last two decades — the Edora Pool & Ice Center in Fort Collins — to the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton, but at least one familiar face won’t be there.

For Regis Jesuit coach Nick Frasersmith, it means the first state meet for his team since the 2008-09 season without one Missy Franklin, the Olympic star who graduated after leading the Raiders to their second 5A state championship last season.

“We miss Missy in all aspects, as far as being in the water and on the deck, so it will be different scenery than the last four years,” Frasersmith said of the absence of Franklin, an eight-time 5A individual champion who is now starting at th University of California-Berkeley.

“Because of that, we may be more under the radar and a little bit more of an underdog this year, but to win a state championship, it’s truly a team effort and everybody has to step up,” he added.

Based on pre-meet psyche sheets, Regis Jesuit is projected to finish third behind Fairview and Cherry Creek, but Frasersmith sees plenty of opportunity to move up with his group of 21 individual swimmers and divers, two more than last season.

The diving board could be the wild card for the Raiders, who had three of the top five finishers in the event at the Continental “A” League championships Feb. 8.

Sophomore McKensi Austin won the league title, while junior Kellyn Toole placed fourth and senior Danielle Clayton fifth. Senior Shayla Frederich is also qualified to compete at state for Regis Jesuit.

Austin hit her hand on the board during the finals, but she feels ready to go. She’ll get another chance to compete at VMAC, where she posted 5A’s top score of the season (484.5) in winning the Coaches Invitational on Dec. 21.

“I think all of Regis is in a really good place; I feel we’re really strong and we’re working really hard,” Austin said. “I’m just going to go out there and do my best and try to get as many points for the team as I can.”

Frasersmith hopes all three of his relays can improve from their current seedings: fifth in 200 freestyle, seventh in 400 freestyle and 10th in 200 medley.

Junior Taylor Wilson is in position to score big points in the sprint freestyles, while the sophomore class of Lindsay Painton, Amy Lenderink, Kaylie Breslin and Emily Protz and a handful of impactful freshmen hold the key to the Raiders’ finish.

Grandview takes 12 individual qualifiers into the meet, coming off a strong showing at the Centennial “A” League meet Feb. 8 in which sophomore Mia Wood claimed an individual league title in the 200 individual medley.

In contrast to past seasons, coach Karen Ammon’s been able to design her team’s taper toward state instead of the league meet, which she hopes pays off.

“Now we get to taper and see how well we do next week (at state),” Ammon said.

Smoky Hill junior Julia Song had a fantastic Centennial “A” League meet and along with three potential-rich relay teams should get coach Scott Cohen’s Buffaloes on the scoreboard, which didn’t happen last time for the first time in Cohen’s 17-season tenure.

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

AURORA 2014 CLASS 5A STATE SWIM MEET QUALIFIERS BY SCHOOL

CHEROKEE TRAIL (2): Aunyx Ashby, 50-yard freestyle (17); Grace Grigereit, 200 individual medley (48), 100 butterfly (49); Relays: 200 yard medley (30), 200 freestyle (20) and 400 freestyle (36)

EAGLECREST: Indiya Williams, diving

GRANDVIEW (12): Mackenzie Ammon, 200 yard freestyle (37) & 500 freestyle (29); Morgan Ammon, 50 freestyle (24) & 100 freestyle (22); Mattie Cassaday, 100 breaststroke (36); Sami Daniels, 200 indiv. medley (40) & 500 freestyle (20); Madison Dirks, 200 freestyle (17) & 100 butterfly (8); Taylor Dirks, 100 butterfly (30) & 100 backstroke (35); Maddy Griffin, 100 breaststroke (38); Amanda Matheson, 50 freestyle (28) & 100 butterfly (31); Hannah Meehan, 200 freestyle (22) & 100 backstroke (20); Breanne Thompson, 200 freestyle (54) & 100 butterfly (46); April Wood, 200 indiv. medley (42) & 500 freestyle (43); Mia Wood, 200 indiv. medley (12) & 500 freestyle (21); Relays: 200 yard medley (13), 200 freestyle (6th) & 400 freestyle (9)

REGIS JESUIT (21): McKensi Austin, diving; Haley Baldwin, 50 freestyle (38) & 100 backstroke (50); Jessie Bixler, 200 indiv. medley (47) & 100 butterfly (42); Kaylie Breslin, 200 freestyle (42) & 100 butterfly (6); Meggie Chase, 100 freestyle (49); Danielle Clayton, diving; Sydney Cutler, 200 indiv. medley (43) & 100 breaststroke (16); Shayla Frederich, diving; Jennae Frederick, 200 indiv. medley (17) & 100 butterfly (11); Amy Lenderink, 50 freestyle (19) & 100 butterfly (7); Claire Middlemist, 100 breaststroke (45); Lindsay Painton, 100 freestyle (9) & 100 backstroke (12); Emily Protz, 200 freestyle (26) & 500 freestyle (26); Katherine Roth, 100 backstroke (44); Isabella Schultze, 200 indiv. medley (28) & 100 breaststroke (50); Samantha Smith, 200 freestyle (16) & 100 freestyle (12); Kellyn Toole, diving; Tori Vale, 50 freestyle (61) & 100 backstroke (47);  Sierra Viereck, 100 breaststroke (33); Erin Whitaker, 200 freestyle (51); Taylor Wilson, 50 freestyle (7) & 100 freestyle (8); Relays: 200 yard medley (10), 200 freestyle (5) & 400 freestyle (7)

SMOKY HILL (7): Gaby Antunez, 50 freestyle (25) & 100 freestyle (35); Kelsey Gaul, 50 freestyle (59); Madison Munns, 100 breaststroke (41); Jordyn Richey, 200 indiv. medley (20) & 100 breaststroke (30); Julia Song, 50 freestyle (10) & 100 freestyle (14); Melanie Vasina, 50 freestyle (52); Lizzy Wiley, 100 freestyle (46); Relays: 200 yard medley (25), 200 freestyle (10) and 400 freestyle (18)