Girls Swimming: League championship meets arrive

Grandview's Madison Dirks
Grandview junior Madison Dirks won the 500-yard freestyle and was on the victorious 200 freestyle relay team at last season’s Centennial “A” League girls swimming championships. This season’s meet runs Feb. 1-2 at Arapahoe High School. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Just one week remains before the Class 5A girls state swim meet and Aurora athletes get their last chances to qualify at a variety of league championship meets Feb. 1-2.

The Centennial “A” League meet is scheduled for Arapahoe High School and Grandview is hoping to continue its strong season by challenging Cherry Creek and Arapahoe for the league title. The Wolves finished third last season and have a real chance to improve on that behind versatile junior Madison Dirks and some very strong relay teams.

Dirks won the league championship in the 500-yard freestyle last season, and combined with senior Kianna Lee, junior Amanda Matheson and sophomore Morgan Ammon to win the 200 freestyle relay as well.

Smoky Hill and its trio of individual state qualifiers — freshman Gaby Antunez, sophomore Julia Song and junior Lizzie Wiley — could finish fourth again, while Cherokee Trail — which is just off qualifying for the state meet in the 200-yard medley and 200 freestyle relays —  hopes to make a run at improving on its fifth-place showing last season.

Swimming prelims are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday, while diving prelims are slated for 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Finals for all events is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The Continental “A’” League meet is set for Heritage, with Regis Jesuit will aim for a fifth consecutive league championship.

Regis Jesuit's Marielle Renehan
Regis Jesuit and senior Marielle Renehan will aim for a fifth straight Continental “A” League girls swimming championship when they swim at Heritage High School Feb. 1-2. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

The Raiders won’t have star Missy Franklin with them this time like they did last season — which should make things tighter than the 141-point margin they had in 2012 — but they are still loaded behind Marielle Renehan and Delaney Lanker and a strong group of seniors, plus youngsters such as sophomores Taylor Wilson and Sydney Cutler and freshmen Lindsay Painton and Kaylie Breslin and diver McKensi Austin.

Swimming prelims are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday, with finals at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The four Aurora Public Schools teams get together once more at the EMAC Championships at Hinkley.

Rangeview finished just 15 points behind second-place Northglenn last season, while Gateway was fourth and Hinkley fifth.

Gateway senior Barbara Barocio. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Gateway seniors state qualifier Barbara Barocio is looking forward to going against friend and Brighton star Hailey Spratte, who beat her in the 200 freestyle at the league meet in 2012. Barocio was the EMAC champion in the 100 butterfly, however.

Rangeview junior Mariah Franklin was a top-eight finisher in two events last season.

EMAC swimming prelims begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Diving prelims open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and finals for all events are slated for 2 p.m.

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