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Chatfield lady swimmers win their own meet

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By Alissa Noe

LITTLETON — The swim and dive season may still be young, but the southwest Jeffco-area teams sure have a lot to look forward to this year.

At the Ridge Rec Center during Friday’s league meet, the Chatfield swimmers won with 585 team points, followed by Dakota Ridge (452), Columbine (437) and D’Evelyn (311).

The Chargers achieved that feat without their top performer, sophomore Kathryn Shanley, who was in Texas for a national competition.

“We’re just getting started, obviously, and we’re still seeing what the kids can do,” Chatfield head coach Ron Johns said. “But I’m seeing one, good practicing efforts and then I’m seeing good technique here in the pool for the competition, which is what we stress. I think right now, back on the second week, they’re looking really good.”

The Chargers won the 50 free, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 100-yard breaststroke with standout performances from sophomore Avery Turney.

“I think the season has been going really well, and it’s so fun to see all the new freshmen come in and enjoy the team atmosphere,” sophomore Hannah Bettmann said.

Chatfield may be young this year, but Johns still said he’s looking forward to seeing what the Chargers are made of. He believes Turney, Abigail Storm, Meghan Mulvihill and Shanley will lead the team throughout the season.

“I think we can probably make it to state again, definitely,” sophomore Ainsley Smallwood said. “We did really well last year and as a team, we worked really well together. I think the coaches push us hard and they’ll bring us far.”

Dakota Ridge

The Eagles are looking forward to “big things” this year.

After dropping from 5A to 4A, the competition got slightly easier for Dakota Ridge. Although the times seem to be moving faster this year, the girls have been able to keep up and thrive in competitions.

“I think we’re more mature,” head coach Paul LeFever said. “We had some good freshmen that came in, so that’s always helpful. We didn’t lose that many seniors — a couple big ones left — but we have a good solid core of people. It’s been good.”

The Eagles won the 100-yard backstroke, the 100 free and the 200 free with standout performances from Elsa Huebsch, Greta Gurdikian and Sophia Hemingway — all of whom LeFever expects to be team leaders, along with Kira Hobbs.

“We’re getting connected as a team, which is super awesome, and we’re doing good races,” Eagle junior Emma Cowan said. “I think we have a super strong team, and we do a lot of activities as a team, which really brings us closer together.”

Columbine

The swim times may be speeding up, and the dives may be getting more complex, but the Rebels are ready to take on the challenge.

Out of 54 girls, 25 are freshmen. But head coach Kristi Marosy said she has a solid group of seniors she can lean on to lead the way.

“I’ll be very sad when we lose them, but luckily we’ll have some girls that will be able to fill those shoes,” she said.

Two of those girls have already signed to swim in college: Erin Harnum (Washington State University) and Taylor Juran (University of Idaho).

“This season’s been going pretty well with club and high school both,” Harnum said. “We’re kind of in a state of heavy training right now, which is hard, but it’s kind of worth it. Coming to meets like this is just another practice, just another training regimen.”

Those two stood out on Friday as Columbine won the 400 free relay, the 200-yard medley relay, the 200-yard IM, the 500 free, the 100-yard butterfly and the 1-meter dive.

“Truly, I think the sky’s the limit for this team,” Juran said. “We’re all a very young team, so there’s a lot of new swimmers. We’ll see where the season takes us.”

D’Evelyn

This year, the Jaguars are in a bit of uncharted waters.

Under first-year head coach Toby Mullarkey, D’Evelyn is also working with a young team, replacing last year’s seniors with freshmen.

That’s not to say that new blood isn’t talented.

“We had a lot of good swimmers last year that graduated,” senior Isabelle Currat said. “They all were state champions, and they all graduated. There’s a lot of really fast freshmen that are doing so good.”

Mullarkey believes his top performers will be Sophia Hoffman, Stella Simmering and Megan Smith.

“I’ve been excited by the growth and the progress the girls have been showing,” he said. “We have a lot of new swimmers this year that have been learning the ins and outs of meets and how to step up and get going at meets, so it’s been a fun process seeing that.”