Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Niwot makes waves at Class 4A swim championships


February 14, 2019

Freshman Mary Codevilla prepares to enter the pool for her leg of the 400 freestyle relay while sophomore Emiley Yie cheers her on at the Class 4A state swim championship finals on Feb. 8.

Codevilla and Shaw lead Cougars to 2nd overall

 The Niwot girls swim team kicked-off the final round of the 2019 Class 4A swim championships on Feb. 8 with a dramatic fourth-place finish in the 200-medley relay, and the surprises just kept coming. Over the next 11 events at the VMAC in Thornton, Cougar swimmers collected six top-three finishes and ended the night with what head coach Sarah Stamp called “the best surprise of all.”

“We’ve been fourth before, but never gotten the hardware for runner-up, and I’m just delighted,” she said after Niwot took second overall with 303.50 team points. “We knew we were going to have to swim out of our minds to even inch our way up there, and we did. We chipped away both days, and that’s all you can do.”

For the Niwot swimmers competing in the finals, “all you can do” included a slew of season and personal records, as well as their first individual state title since 2003. Freshman Mary Codevilla shaved nearly five seconds from her preliminary time to take first in the 200 individual medley, finishing in 2 minutes, 3.99 seconds, “the second best surprise of the day,” according to her coach. The ninth-grader later took six seconds off her seedtime in the 500 freestyle to capture a silver medal on the night.

“It’s just fun to go out there and race,” Codevilla said, though she admitted to being nervous before in her first-ever high school state meet. “My teammates helped get me excited for my races, and helped me get through it.”

Junior Abbie Shaw also came up big for Niwot in the state meet, with two top-three finishes of her own. She was runner-up in the 200 freestyle, with a time of 1:54.68, which was three seconds faster than her time in the same event last year. She then took third overall in the 100 backstroke (55.37), again with substantial improvement over her 2018 time.

Shaw also raced in the 400 freestyle relay, which outperformed its preliminary time by seven seconds to sneak into second place (3:31.81) in the finals. The 200 freestyle team relay also took second overall, which Stamp pointed to as the difference maker in the final team standings. “Our relays were seeded ok coming in and they swam out of their minds as a group in all three. That’s where that hardware comes from.”

It was also a good day for Niwot swimmers in their final high school meets, including Hanna Luo, who nabbed a pair of seventh-place finishes, in the 200 IM (2:11.20) and 100 butterfly (58.05). She was also on the second-place relays. Senior Kristi Vu raced with the 200 medley and freestyle teams, but missed qualifying for the finals in the 50 freestyle. Afterwards, both agreed that Niwot unexpectedly taking second at state was a “super nice” way to wrap up their careers.

“We worked so hard for this and it’s amazing that we pulled it off with just the nine of us,” Luo said. “All of us, we just came in here and decided to go for it. It’s the best way to go out.”

The senior teammates also agreed that Stamp was a most deserving recipient of Class 4A Coach of the Year honors, another of the day’s big surprises.

Freshman Mary Codevilla swims in the 200 individual medley at the Class 4A state swim championship finals on Feb. 8. She took first overall with a time of 2:03.99 to win Niwot’s first individual swim title since 2003.

“She put up with all the pool changes, schedule changes and the meet changes,” Vu said. Local high school teams were forced to scramble for local facilities this season after Longmont’s Centennial Pool closed indefinitely for emergency repairs last fall. “She also put up with all of us,” Vu added.

Elsewhere on the day, sophomore Emiley Yie was ninth in the 200 IM (1:58.78), 10th in the 100 freestyle (54.12), and swam in both freestyle relays. Freshman Grace Shaw finished eighth in the 200 freestyle (1:58.56) and 500 freestyle (5:16.60), both season-best marks. Senior Claire Jepson was 17th overall in the 100 backstroke (1:01.83), and sophomore Lucca Fulkerson swam with the 200 medley relay.

Stamp said she was “flattered” by the coaching award, but was even more excited for her swimmers. Though she stands to lose a big part of the state team to graduation, she said she looks forward to seeing what the future will bring.

“It was such a great two days of swimming by this group,” she said. “So we’ll keep building the ones remaining on the team and try to develop them and see who comes in. It should be exciting.”


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