Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Niwot swimmers compete at Speedo Winter Junior Championships


December 28, 2018

Courtesy Photo

Junior Abbie Shaw (fourth from left) competed at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships in early December with other members of her swim club, Elevation Athletics. On Shaw’s right is former Niwot swimmer Payten Irwin, and on her left is Niwot freshman Mary Codevilla.

Niwot girls swim coach Sarah Stamp has lofty expectations for the Cougars this season, and Abbie Shaw is a big part of the reason why. Last year, the junior nabbed two top-10 individual finishes at the Class 4A state championships, including second overall in the 100-yard backstroke, and was a key to the team’s top-five finish in the final team standings.

Coming into the 2018-19 season, Shaw is faster than ever and seeing success at both the regional and national levels. Barring anything unforeseen, she will be right she back among the state title contenders, according to Stamp. “Nothing is keeping her from reaching her goals. She's a hard worker and a competitor.”

Shaw recently returned from a trip to the Speedo Winter Junior Championships in Austin, Texas, where she competed in three races, the 100-yard freestyle and 100- and 200-yard backstroke, after qualifying at the Colorado Pioneer Open on Nov. 28.

“It was just an amazing experience,” Shaw said of her first trip to the national level meet. “Just being around the best in the country was super fun and humbling.”

Shaw took 37th overall in the freestyle event, with a time of 53.14 seconds, and 72nd and 79th in the preliminary rounds of the backstroke races. Though not quite among the best in the country, her times in each event were at least two seconds faster than her last high school times, a result that has both Shaw and her coach optimistic about the rest of the upcoming season.

“That was awesome,” Shaw said. “I’m just really, really excited to compete at high school state this year and hopefully win it.”

As impressive as her improvements are so far, Shaw and Stamp believe the junior is capable of even faster times. She is taking special measures to prevent injuries and illness, a problem that plagued her last season.

“I’ve just been taking a lot better care of myself,” she said. “I’ve been in the weight room more and training more, and my metabolism is just building up.”

Joining Shaw in Austin were former Cougar swimmer Payten Irwin, who is swimming with the brand new high school team at Erie this season, and freshman Mary Codevilla, a freshman who will fill some of the hole left by Irwin’s departure. The ninth-grader had two top-20 finishes at the Speedo Championships, in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 400-yard individual medley.

“She is fast and a very diversified swimmer,” Stamp said of Codevilla, who has participated in one meet for the Cougars so far this season. Against Greeley West on Dec. 13, she took first in two individual events and two relays, and qualified for state in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:11.31.

Like her coach, Shaw has high expectations for the team as a whole. Though losing Irwin to Erie was a big blow, the addition of talented freshmen Codevilla and Shaw’s sister Grace Shaw should have Niwot back among the top-10 teams this season.

“I love having her there,” Shaw said of her younger sibling. “She doesn’t do the same events I do. She’s always been drawn to the distance events, but I’m more sprint-oriented.”

Shaw’s busy travel club meet schedule has kept her from competing in many of the Cougars’ early meets, but she was back in the pool for Niwot on Dec. 13 against Greeley West. Like Codevilla, she competed in two individual events (100-, 200-yard freestyle) and two relays, and picked up some state qualifying times along the way.

Shaw and the Cougars are taking time out of the pool for the holiday break, but start their march back to the Class 4A podium on Jan. 5 at the Mountain View Invite in Loveland.


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