Regis Jesuit junior Charlotte Burnham, right, reacts after she finished just in front of Grandview’s Paige Dailey, left, to win the championship of the 100 yard breaststroke at the Class 5A girls state swim meet on Feb. 11, 2023, at the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

Long after Charlotte Burnham got out of the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center pool after the 100 yard breaststroke Feb. 11, her face remained wet.

Tears of joy, sadness and a lot in between came plentifully for the Regis Jesuit junior in the time that followed her Class 5A state championship victory for a very good reason.

Burnham’s good friend — who died last October — had told her she believed she would win the state title in the event. In the moment after she actually made it come to fruition, it touched Burnham very deeply.

“She just loved high school swimming and her favorite event was the 100 breaststroke, so winning it for her just means that much more to me,” Burnham explained, referring to Sydney Meegan, a 2022 graduate of Chatfield High School who died during her freshman year at Colorado State.

“It’s really powerful and I really feel her in it. The emotion is overwhelming.”

Meegan loved lightning bolts and so Burnham honored her by getting a tattoo of one, while she also went into the championship meet adorned with lightning earrings as well as a necklace that had to be repaired at the last minute after a mishap in prelims.

Regis Jesuit junior Charlotte Burnham, center, and Grandview’s Paige Dailey, second from left, stand on the medal podium after they took first and second, respectively, in the 5A 100 yard breaststroke. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

In the water, Burnham — who transferred from Mullen to Regis Jesuit and was what Raiders coach Nick Frasersmith called a “breath of fresh air” to the program — came into the final as the top seed out of prelims after she entered the meet seeded eighth.

After a race in which she said she wanted to improve on her turns, Burnham had the lead as she headed to the final wall, but had to hold off a huge push by Grandview senior Paige Dailey in the lane next to her.

Burnham touched out Dailey by just .06 of a second.

“I couldn’t really see her (Dailey), but I could tell by the noise getting louder that it was getting closer,” said Burnham, who finished in 1 minute, 2.40 seconds to Dailey’s 1:02.46. “It was great to race Paige, she really gave me a boost. And she was so graceful and sweet. She’s always a great competitor.”

Afterwards, the emotion washed over Burnham, who said her late friend’s prediction of her championship victory gave her the boost she needed, even if it had come with a modicum of internal pressure.

“I only see pressure as support and that was just a little extra support, in a supernatural way,” she said. “And of course, I have my amazing teammates to support me. I just felt the energy and I felt everyone with me.”

Regis Jesuit senior Sophia Frei was thrilled for her teammate.

“I’m so proud of her, she deserves every single bit of it,” Frei said. “I know the whole team was behind her and it made me so happy to see the smile on her face. She deserves it.”

Burnham extended Regis Jesuit’s reign of the event at state to four years as now-graduated Emma Weber won it the past two seasons and Sophia Bradac took the event in 2020.

In addition, Burnham also took third in the 200 individual medley and swam on two runner-up relays (200 medley and 400 freestyle) to help the Raiders finish behind Cherry Creek for its highest team finish since 2016.

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

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments