Evergreen wins third-straight state championship
THORNTON — Evergreen overcame many obstacles to claim its third-straight Class 3A girls swimming and diving state championship Tuesday at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.
The Cougars took second place in each of the last two races en route to 360 points. Aspen finished in second place (273), followed by Glenwood Springs (254) and Holy Family (219.5).
“It has been a crazy season, but it has been incredibly rewarding,” said Evergreen head coach Liz Hudd, now in her 21st season. “We had a way smaller team. We had girls that came back from illness, came back from not being able to swim because they couldn’t get into the water … and they brought it in the end.
“The girls just did their job,” she explained. “Some of them had best swims, some of them didn’t. But they just were resilient, and consistent and they did an amazing job. I have to hand it to them. They really picked it up at the end, and that’s when we were able to pull away with it.”
It marked the fifth-ever girls swim and dive state championship for Evergreen, which also won 4A titles in 2014 and 2015.
“It’s my first! It’s super-exciting!” said freshman Finley Anderson, who finished second in the 100 backstroke and fourth in the 100 butterfly.
“It was different from anything else that I’ve done. But it was an experience that I will never forget. It was so fun being in here and racing and being a part of such an amazing team. There was definitely some pressure to win a third, but it made me go faster; it made us push each other.”
Evergreen wasn’t the only big winner Tuesday.
Berthoud’s Jamie Dellwardt captured a pair of state championships on the day.
She blazed to a title in the 200 freestyle. The senior recorded a time of 1:54.51 to finish ahead of Jolie Kim of Kent Denver (1:55.93), last year’s champion in the event, and Tuva Siegel of Denver North (1:58.28).
Dellwardt earned her second state championship with the top time in the 100 backstroke (56.91). Anderson finished second (57.31) while Holy Family’s Abigail Philipsen placed third (58.28).
Discovery Canyon junior Victoria Sanders began the day with a state championship in diving. Her score of 479.35 gave her the win over Holy Family’s Mary Kate Cavanaugh (432.30) and Libby Claassen of Glenwood Springs (420.70) and marked the third-straight diving state championship for Discovery Canyon. Rachel Alexander won the event in 2019 and 2020.
Aspen won the first relay event, the 200 medley. The Skiers (Lilly Huggard, Emily Kinney, Kayla Tehrani and Bennett Jones) swam to a mark of 1:49.76 to easily outpace Evergreen (1.51.76) and Glenwood Springs (1:51.92).
Caitlin Crysel of St. Mary’s Academy, cruised to an easy victory in the 200 Individual Medley. The freshman posted a time of 2:06.62 to finish ahead of Bennett Jones of Aspen (2:10.06) and Pueblo County’s Kandi Liberato (2:14.04).
Kalie Linden of St. Mary’s Academy was the top athlete in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.52. Discovery Canyon’s Eden Nolan finished second in 24.85, followed by Tehrani (25.01).
Tehrani then flew to a victory in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.37 to edge Crysel (57.46) and Caitlin Beery of Thomas Jefferson (58.18).
In the 100 freestyle, Siegel won the state championship with a time of 53.35. Linden finished second (54.42) and Gunnison’s Ashlynd Harris placed third (54.74).
Kim improved on her second-place finish in the 200 freestyle with a state championship in the 500 freestyle. Kim, a senior, posted a time of 5:08.76 to win the event for the second-consecutive year. Beery finished second with a time of 5:09.46, while Amelie Ogilby of Glenwood Springs finished third (5:09.47).
In one of the most exciting races of the day, St. Mary’s Academy edged Aspen in the 200 freestyle relay. The Pirates (Crysel, Ella Yearsley, Charlotte Gaudet and Linden) earned a time of 1:40.73 to win the state championship, while the Skiers touched in 1:40.79
Isabella Kuzbek of Manitou Springs was the top-seed in the 100 breaststroke heading into the meet, and she did not disappoint. The senior captured her first state championship with a time of 1:07.36. Alyssa Cook of Evergreen finished second in 1:07.95, followed by Jillian Carlson of Delta (1:08.10), last year’s champion in the event.
D’Evelyn capped the evening with a stunning win in the 400 freestyle relay. Sammy Skrzekut, Kati Livingood, Ayla Pierce and Ava Anderson teamed up to post a time of 3:42.91. Evergreen’s Anderson, Kileigh Ackerman, Cook and Taylor Jacobson finished second in 3:43.06, followed by Glenwood Springs (Amy Madsen, Ogilby, Ellie MacPherson and Kylee Smith) in 3:44.21.
2021 3A Girls Swimming and Diving State Champions
- Diving: Victoria Sanders, Discovery Canyon
- 200 Medley Relay: Aspen
- 200 Freestyle: Jamie Dellwardt, Berthoud
- 200 Individual Medley: Caitlin Crysel, St. Mary’s Academy
- 50 Freestyle: Kalie Linden, St. Mary’s Academy
- 100 Butterfly: Kayla Tehrani, Aspen
- 100 Freestyle: Tuva Siegel, Denver North
- 500 Freestyle: Jolie Kim, Kent Denver
- 200 Freestyle Relay: St. Mary’s Academy
- 100 Backstroke: Jamie Dellwardt, Berthoud
- 100 Breaststroke: Isabella Kuzbek, Manitou Springs
- 400 Freestyle Relay: D’Evelyn
- Team: Evergreen