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Niwot girls swim ready to reset for new season

Series: Niwot Girls Swim and Dive | Story 1

December 18, 2019

Jocelyn Rowley

The Niwot girls swim team is gearing up for top finish at the 2020 Class 4A state championships.

Coming off a Northern Conference championship and a 4A runner-up finish last season, the Niwot girl's swim team looks to continue its success with a fresh lineup of swimmers. Head coach Sarah Stamp leads a young 2019 squad that has already shown promise.

"We're in a unique spot because we graduated 16 seniors last year," said Stamp, who is in her eleventh season at the helm. "I think our seniors this year are finding their voice after having such a powerful and present senior class (last year). This year is very different than last year. Not in a bad way, it's just different."

Niwot's first official meet of the season was the six-team Valley Viking Invite on Dec. 6, culminating in a fourth-place finish for the Cougars. Stamp was pleased with the aptitude her team displayed in the first meet.

"It was a great meet," Stamp said. "It's a low-key, low intensity meet so even though the girls are super nervous for that first meet, it's a nice invite to kick things off and get things started."

Three days later on Dec. 9, the Cougars traveled to Loveland for their first dual meet against Thompson Valley High School. Niwot has struggled to find practice time due to facility issues at the Longmont YMCA and fell to the Eagles, 132-90. Stamp still remained optimistic with the challenge her team faced.

"We looked good, a little rough given the lack of practice time we've had so far, but everyone swam as good as can be expected," Stamp said. "...Lots of great swims (and) lots of close swims. A nice start to our dual meet season."

Niwot currently boasts 13 freshmen and just seven seniors on its roster of 42 girls. Stamp believes that bringing the freshmen into the fold of Niwot swimming will be a challenge, but while it's still early in the season, Stamp has been thrilled with her freshmen and their ability to step up.

"The biggest thing for this year is just the vast amount of potential," Stamp said. "Every time I turn around and put someone in the last two (meets), they rise to the occasion. They don't complain. They just swim it and are excited for the opportunity to swim it. There's a lot you can build on just from having the attitude to go do something for a team."

Among the seniors tasked with guiding the freshmen is Stacey Bui. Bui has impressed early on in her senior campaign with third-place finishes in the 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke against Thompson Valley.

"(Bui) definitely has been (someone) we've been turning (towards) to help show the way to the younger swimmers this year," Stamp said. "Just hoping for a great final season for her."

Bui admits that she is not alone when leading the youthful Cougars. The senior class has consistently embraced a mindset of "team first."

"It's all of us seniors working together," Bui said. "I think that's really useful for us and all the other girls on the team because it's not just one individual they have to go to if they need something, they can go to any one of us."

Finding that right team chemistry is another important part of the equation for a team looking to repeat as Northern Conference champions. Bui already admires this year's squad for working hard to create a positive atmosphere.

"The environment on the team is much better this year than it was last year," Bui said. "I think that a big part of having a successful swim team is having mutual respect between all of the grades and I think we are all a little bit closer this year."

Sophomore Mary Codevilla is highly regarded as Stamp said she was the best talent she had ever seen at Niwot as a freshman. Codevilla was a National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) All-American last year and recently competed in the Speedo Junior National Championships alongside the nation's best swimmers.

"Mary (Codevilla) is back and an ever-present force on our team," Stamp said. "(It's) really exciting that she's still participating in the high school arena because at her skill set, (it's) certainly not a given. Just a fabulous member of our team and has really been a champion of our team."

Alongside Stamp will be assistant coach Rob Johnson. The duo has coached together for eight years now with a "yin and yang" coaching relationship as Stamp puts it.

"Rob brings an awesome calm to my storm, and I bring an awesome calm to his storm," Stamp said.

"We just have a natural ebb and flow when it comes to coaching."

Johnson has been equally impressed with the team's freshmen and their performance thus far.

"I think the new freshmen are doing a great job," Johnson said. "They're motivated. ...Everybody seems positive and the new (swimmers) are coming in and working hard and I'm excited to see how they do as the year goes on."

"I think our expectations when our top swimmers have come together and we talked is, 'Let's give it the best fight we can,'" Stamp said. "It might not be second (in state), but we still are a strong team. We have to just bring these younger girls up and bring them to the point where they're helping us on that state level come February."


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