THORNTON | Maggie Robben knew the turnaround would be tough, but really had no idea until she got into the water to swim the final leg of the 400 yard freestyle at Saturday’s Coaches Invitational.
The Smoky Hill sophomore hurt in a good way, though, as she had qualified for the championship final of the 100 yard breaststroke, which preceded the Buffaloes’ appearance in the consolation final by mere minutes.
Robben placed eighth in the breaststroke and helped Smoky Hill to 16th in the 400 free relay to cap a day in which just about every swimmer from a variety of Aurora programs left the pool at the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center in rough shape.
“I was kindof expecting it, but I didn’t know how much it was going to hurt,” Robben said of her quick turnaround, which helped boost the Buffs to 12th among 20 Class 5A programs at the multi-classification meet.
“Then I got in and I was like ‘oh boy, this hurts really bad,'” she added. “But I’ll take it any day, being able to swim in a championship final with people so much faster than me. It’s always a great experience.”
Regis Jesuit led the way among four Aurora teams that got on the scoreboard with a seventh-place total of 159 points, followed by Grandview in 10th with 101.5 and Cherokee Trail in 19th with 16.
The Raiders — fifth at the Coaches Invitational last season — had three relays place in the top 11 and had eight individual placers led by sophomore Jada Surrell-Norwood, who finished fourth in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100 freestyle.
Surrell-Norwood turned in time of 23.99 seconds in the 50 freestyle that easily eclipsed her seed time of 25.48 coming into the meet — which was 37th — while her 100 freestyle finals time of 53.49 was slightly behind her seed time of 53.20 that had her seeded 10th coming in. She was the 5A runner-up in the 100 freestyle last season.
Regis Jesuit coach Nick Frasersmith had 31 swimmers and a diver at the meet and came away with 15 new state-qualifying performances, so he considered the meet a success despite the team standing.
“We’d prefer to be a little higher, but they are tired and we’ll see at the end,” said Frasersmith, who also noted that his state qualifiers didn’t wear the faster tech suits in the finals.
“It was an eye-opener and now the girls see what we need to do and what we need to work for,” he added.
Besides Surrell-Norwood, Regis Jesuit had only two other championship finalists in the sixth-place 200 yard freestyle relay (Surrell-Norwood anchored a team that included juniors Rachel Hubka and Meriel Upton and sophomore Ariana Mitsuoka) and seventh-place 400 freestyle relay (which also included Surrell-Norwood and Upton along with sophomores Parker Biley and Sophia Bradac).
Senior Dani Carr, juniors Izzie Capra and Summer Edwards and sophomores Biley and Bradac qualified for consolation finals for the Raiders, who also got a 17th-place finish from senior Anne Marie Kenny on the diving board.
Every placing individual and relay team for Grandview improved on its pre-meet seeding, with the largest rises coming from junior Lyssa Wood, who made championship finals in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.
Wood was seeded 25th in the 500 freestyle and 17th in the 200 IM and finished sixth in both.
The Wolves also put both freestyle relays in the championship finals and both finished ninth.
Senior Simone Cade and freshman Jadyn Phillips swam on both relays, with junior Molly Nankey and sophomore Lily Williams joining them on the 200 free team and senior Sam Hufford and Wood swimming with them on the 400 free.
Cade, Nankey and Phillips also placed individually in consolation finals for coach Karen Ammon’s Wolves.
With Robben and senior Natalie Rotondo leading the way, coach Scott Cohen’s Smoky Hill team finished in the same No. 12 position it had the previous year despite scoring 13 fewer points.
The Buffaloes had eight swims in the consolation and championship finals and seven of the placers improved on their pre-meet seeding.
Robben added a 16th place in the 200 IM to go with her finals showing in the breaststroke and Rotondo was a consolation finalist in the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle.
Senior Brieyana Walton — who made a 5A state cut in the 50 freestyle during the meet — also placed individually with an 18th-place result in the 100 breaststroke, an event she was seeded 44th in coming into the meet.
“We had a good day and it was a good test for us around the middle of the season,” Cohen said. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year, but kids are stepping up and swimming pretty well.”
Cherokee Trail has had a fantastic start to the season, which wasn’t quite reflected on the scoreboard at the Coaches Invitational where coach Kevin Chatham’s team came away with just three more points than last season.
Senior diver Christie Yee placed for a second in a row with a 16th-place finish that came on the heels of a 10th last season, while junior Caitlyn Agee-Keys also placed for the Cougars and combined with senior Kaity Brookes and sophomores Sarah Torline and Madison Houtkooper on a placing 200 freestyle relay.
Swimmers, relay teams and divers from Eaglecrest, Overland and Rangeview competed in prelims, but none were able to advance to the consolation or championship finals.
Most Aurora teams have a dual meet remaining in the upcoming week before winter break.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 COACHES INVITATIONAL GIRLS SWIM MEET
Dec. 16 at Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center — (full meet results)
Class 5A team scores: 1. Fairview 381 points; 2. Fossil Ridge 303; 3. Cherry Creek 218; 4. Arapahoe 212; 5. Lewis-Palmer 175; 6. Rocky Mountain 170.5; 7. REGIS JESUIT 159; 8. Rock Canyon 153.5; 9. Douglas County 106; 10. GRANDVIEW 101.5; 11. Chatfield 70; 12. SMOKY HILL 59; 13. Ralston Valley 51; 14. Horizon 46; 15. ThunderRidge 43; T16. Broomfield 38; T16. Columbine 38; T16. Dakota Ridge 38; 19. CHEROKEE TRAIL 16, 20. Legend 9
AURORA PLACERS BY SCHOOL
CHEROKEE TRAIL: Caitlyn Agee-Keys (18th, 100 yard butterfly); Christie Yee (16th, diving); Relays: Sarah Torline, Madison Houtkooper, Kaity Brookes, Caitlyn Agee Keys (17th, 200 freestyle)
GRANDVIEW: Simone Cade (15th, 100 freestyle); Molly Nankey (19th, 500 freestyle); Jadyn Phillips (T19, 100 freestyle); Lyssa Wood (6th, 200 individual medley/6th, 500 freestyle); Relays: Lily Williams, Jadyn Phillips, Molly Nankey, Simone Cade (9th, 200 freestyle); Sam Hufford, Jadyn Philips, Lyssa Wood, Simone Cade (9th, 400 freestyle); Lyssa Wood, Julia Matney, Molly Nankey, Lily Williams (20th, 200 medley)
REGIS JESUIT: Parker Biley (14th, 100 backstroke); Sophia Bradac (13th, 100 breaststroke); Izzie Capra (17th, 100 butterfly); Dani Carr (17th, 100 backstroke); Summer Edwards (17th, 100 breaststroke); Anne Marie Kenney (17th, diving); Jada Surrell-Norwood (4th, 50 freestyle/6th, 100 freestyle); Meriel Upton (18th, 200 freestyle/20th, 200 freestyle); Relays: Meriel Upton, Rachel Hubka, Adriana Mitsouka, Jada Surrell-Norwood (6th, 200 freestyle); Meriel Upton, Parker Biley, Sophia Bradac, Jada Surrell-Norwood (7th, 400 freestyle); Parker Biley, Sophia Bradac, Hayley Cook, Rachel Hubka (11th, 200 medley)
SMOKY HILL: Maggie Robben (8th, 100 breaststroke/16th, 200 individual medley); Natalie Rotondo (13th, 100 butterfly/19th, 200 freestyle); Brieyana Walton (18th, 100 breaststroke); Relays: Kristina Domashevich, Maggie Robben, Natalie Rotondo, Brieyana Walton (14th, 200 medley); Katie Power, Natalie Rotondo, Blythe Iverson, Maggie Robben (16th, 400 freestyle); Brieyana Walton, Katie Power, Kristina Domashevich, Blythe Iverson (20th, 200 freestyle)