Heritage reaches new heights in swimming competition

Eagles swim team takes 4A state championship

By Jim Benton
jbenton@ColoradoCommunityMedia.com
Posted 3/14/21

Heritage made a statement about the future while Cherry Creek relived the past during the Colorado state girls swim and dive championships held at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton. …

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Heritage reaches new heights in swimming competition

Eagles swim team takes 4A state championship

Posted

Heritage made a statement about the future while Cherry Creek relived the past during the Colorado state girls swim and dive championships held at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.

The Eagles, sparked by the record-setting performances of Anna Shaw, won the Class 4A state championship in the March 12 state finals.

Heritage, which had about 14 underclass swimmers at the state meet, earned its first state title with 495.5 points after opting this season to drop from Class 5A to 4A. Mullen was second with 322 points, and Niwot third with 307 points.

“We are pretty well-balanced and obviously have a pretty strong sophomore and freshman class,” said Heritage coach Tom Byorick. “The whole team really jelled together.”

Cherry Creek, spurred by last season’s runner-up finish, captured the Class 5A title on March 11 with 430 points. Defending champ Fairview was second (392) and Regis Jesuit third (298).

It was the 27th girls state swimming and diving title trophy for the Bruins but the first since 2010.

“It feels great,” said Creek coach Eric Craven. “This was a real special one. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve been in this position. It was the attitude of the girls. They were just determined to win it this year. I was just happy to go for the ride.”

In the 4A meet, Shaw was on two winning relay teams and won the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events with record times.

The Stanford-bound senior led off the winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:42.86) in the first event and was the anchor on the meet’s final event, the state champion 400-yard freestyle relay team (3:27.50).

Shaw won the 50 freestyle at last season’s 5A meet and broke the 50 state standard of Missy Franklin, the former Regis and Olympic swimmer, with a time of :22.22. Franklin set the previous mark of :22.41 in 2011.

In the 100 freestyle, Shaw established a new low of :48.24 and bettered Franklin’s time of :48.45 set in 2012.

“I swam those two races for the time but it felt like a conclusion of all my hard work,” said Shaw, who will be going to the U.S. Olympic trials in June. “I’ve looked up to Missy since I was nine. I had the opportunity to meet her once.

“There is something magical for a Colorado swimmer just about the name of Missy Franklin. It makes it even more special to get those records.”

Heritage had another individual state champion in sophomore Aislyn Barnett, whose strong finish resulted in winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.44.

Cherry Creek did not have an individual state champion. Sophomore Lawson Ficken was the runner-up in the 50 freestyle and junior Elizabeth Brock was second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 200 freestyle.

“We kind of wanted to redeem what we did last year because we were so close,” said senior Hannah Eckerman. “This whole season we were so hungry for this win. To finally get it feels absolutely amazing.”

Arapahoe senior Lyndsey Wehr won the 50 freestyle in Class 5A with a time of :23.46 and was second in the 100 freestyle.

“I am more of a person that likes to chase people rather than the one being chased,” said Wehr. “I was nervous about that. I was seeded first going in and I put a lot of pressure on myself.”

Emma Weber, a junior at Regis Jesuit, won the 200 IM (2:01.72) and set a set record of :59,93 in capturing the 100 breaststroke.

“I’m real excited,” said Weber. “I was so tired. It (breaststroke) was my last race of the day. When I finished I was super happy with my time.”

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