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Silver Creek swimming dominates at Northern League Championships

 


After the first day of preliminary races for the Northern League Championships, Head Coach Debbie Stewart said she was a bit worried about her Silver Creek High School boys swimming team.

“In the prelims I was a little nervous,” Stewart said after the completion of the league championship. “We weren’t as shaved down as we could have been and you get a little nervous because everyone else is.”

Little did she know her swimmers were just conserving their energy for an all-out blitz in the finals, as the Raptors took home first place in their district by an enormous margin.

Silver Creek won first place in the league in six of the twelve events on the day, while finishing no lower than third in 10 of the 12.

“From the get-go today they swam awesome,” Stewart said of her team’s performance, “The guys just stepped up after the prelims.”

One of the Raptors leading the charge was senior Sam Willet, who won the 100 breast and 200 IM in the meet and was part of the winning 400 free and 200 free relay teams.

“Sam swam almost three events back to back to back,” Stewart said of her senior captain. “He was a little under the weather in the prelims, but he looked a lot stronger in the finals.”

Other winners on the day include senior Noah Jespson in the 50 free and senior Lucas Bergeson in the 200 free. Senior Blake Sterns finished second in the 200 free and also took third in the 500 free.

Sophomore Chris Wingfield didn’t win any events on the day but was an integral part of the relay teams, and finished second in the 100 free and third in the 50 free.

The 200 free relay team was the most impressive performance of the day, breaking the league record that had been in place for ten years by almost two seconds.

“It was an awesome day all the way around. The 200 free relay record has been up since 2006 and they hadn’t gotten close to breaking it all season but today they shattered it,” Stewart said. “That’s now a record that won’t be broken for a long time.”

Willet was within half a second of breaking the record in the 100 breaststroke and the 400 free relay team only missed breaking that record by less than two seconds.

Even with all the wins for the day the most impressive statistic is that with a team score of 527, the Raptors outscored the next closest team by 189 points. They completely dominated the field, a field that included two other top ten programs in the state in Estes Park and Thompson Valley.

Silver Creek now turns its eye to the state competition, where they will be bringing 18 swimmers and divers, a number that Stewart said is unprecedented for the program.

“This is by far the best representation for us that we have ever had,” Stewart said. “Even in 2008 when we won state we didn’t have this may swimmers go for us. The guys are pretty pumped up and I’m hoping we can have a strong finish at state.”

Sophomore diver Ben Willet, brother of Sam, summed up the mentality of the undefeated Raptors perfectly heading into state.

“I think we are going to destroy,” Willet said after the league championship. “Everyone on the team is so strong in what we do and we have a lot of confidence right now.”

Silver Creek puts that confidence to the test starting May 20 at the Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center in Thornton.

 

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