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Niwot swim claims second straight conference championship

Codevilla and Yie dominate at final meet before Class 4A championships

Series: Niwot Girls Swim and Dive | Story 4

February 12, 2020

Jocelyn Rowley

Sophia Gaspar, Lexy Bullen, Emiley Yie, and Mary Codevilla make their way to the start of the 400-yard freestyle finals at the Northern Conference championships on Feb. 8.

The drive to the Mountain View Aquatic Center in Loveland may have been a little frightful, but that didn't keep the Niwot girls swim and dive team from turning in a delightful performance at the Northern Conference championships on Feb. 7-8. With wins in six of the 12 events and a slew of personal-best swims, the Cougars easily captured a second straight team crown, and picked up another state qualifier to boot. Now head coach Sarah Stamp and her repeat league champions are looking ahead to next week's Class 4A state meet with another repeat in mind.

"It's so exciting," Stamp said. "We kind of moved some stuff around, that girls didn't normally swim, just to help fill the void, so we could get four back in each event, in as many events as we could. We were quite successful in doing that, and it's just nice to have a team that's willing to maybe not swim their best event, but maybe their third best event, to help the team get the overall win."

That has been Emiley Yie's specialty this season, and her flexibility once again proved especially helpful to Stamp and the Cougars. The junior took first overall in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2 minutes, 11.53 seconds, nearly 10 seconds faster than second-place finisher Kaitlyn Yee (2:21.73). She then swam her first 100 freestyle race for Niwot this season, taking first (54.11) with more than a second to spare, and setting a new personal best for high school in the process.

"The 100 free was definitely good," Yie said afterwards. "It was pretty up there for me."

Yie will be making her third trip to the Class 4A championships for Niwot, with qualifying times in all nine individual swim events. Like Stamp, she is excited about the team's chances for another top showing on the sport's biggest stage.

"I think we're really solid," she said. "We had some really good swims today. We have a lot of energy going into state."

Yie also swam for Niwot's winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays, as did sophomore All-American Mary Codevilla, Niwot's other dominant swimmer on the day. Codevilla easily beat the field in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, winning by 10 and 7 seconds, respectively. In fact, her 1:50.32 in the freestyle race was not just a season-best time for the 10th grader, it was also just four-tenths of a second off the Northern conference record (1:49.92), and faster than the winning time at the 2019 state meet (1:52.15). According to Stamp, that puts this year's 200-freestyle title "definitely within reach" for the second-year standout.

Veterans Yie and Codevilla were joined by a strong supporting cast, notably junior Sophia Gaspar, who took third overall in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races; and junior Lucca Fulkerson, who was third in the 100-yard butterfly (1:04.23) and sixth in the 100-yard backstroke. The team also got a boost from its trio of divers (Halie Ostrom, Liliana Moritz, and Katie Carroll), who all ended the day on the podium. Though they fell short of qualifying for state this season, Stamp said the strong showing at conference by the junior and two freshman is a good omen for the future.

"I couldn't have asked more from them than what they did today," she said. "Halie improved on what she did last year, and then the two newcomers hit 11 dives basically less than a month ago."

Niwot's new swimmers were also impressive at Mountain View, especially freshmen Steph Mow and Lexy Bullen, who each collected top-three individual finishes on the day, and also swam on the relays. The team also got a boost when freshman Julia Strope earned a state bid in the meet's penultimate event, the 100-yard breaststroke. The ninth-graders have been a pleasant surprise for Stamp this season, and she expects them to shore up the state-bound team as it tries for another top finish at next week's championships.

"They've been a great addition to the team, and certainly help fill our void from last year's seniors," she said.

The Cougars have 10 days to rest and recover before the Class 4A state meet at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton on Feb. 18-19. Stamp is putting the finishing touches on the lineup and, like Yie, senses some momentum behind her youthful squad. Though she stopped short of predicting another state runner-up title, she is confident her swimmers can compete with the top swimmers in the state.

"It's certainly not quite the depth of last year, but nonetheless, it's a strong team, with strong relays. We just have to piece things together, figure out where we're going to put everyone, and just do our best next week."

2/8 - Northern Conference Championships, Mtn View Aquatic Center, Loveland

Team scores - Niwot 479, Centaurus 389, Thompson Valley 357, Longmont 348, Mountain View 232

200 medley relay - 1. Longmont, 1:54.92; 2. Niwot (Mow, Lavigne, Bridenbaugh, Bullen), 1:58.73; 3. Centaurus, 1:59.0

200 freestyle - 1. Mary Codevilla,1:50.32; 2. Emma McKalko, Thompson Valley, 2:00.94; 3. Sophia Gaspar, 2:03.66.

200 IM - 1. Emiley Yie, 2:11.53; 1. Kaitlyn Yee, Longmont, 2:21.73; 3. Isabella Brakhage, Centaurus 2:24.14.

50 freestyle - 1. Libby Himes, Mountain View, 25.38; 2. Stephanie Mow, 25.58; 3. Arden McCauley, Thompson Valley, 25.64; 4. Lexy Bullen, 25.83

Diving - Anna-Marie Karr, Centaurus, 351.45; 2. Sydney Fuller, Longmont, 340.20; 3. Laurene Powell, Mountain View, 327.75; 4. Silje Haehre, Mountain View, 327.20; 5. Madilenn Baca, Thompson Valley, 321.40; 6. Halie Ostrom, 305.30; 7. Lilia Moritz, 278.70; 8. Kathryn Carroll, 275.90

100 butterfly - 1. Emma Svedsen, Longmont, 58.94; 2. Arden McCauley, Thompson Valley, 1:03.76; 3. Lucca Fulkerson, 1:04.23

100 freestyle - 1. Emiley Yie, 54.11; 2. Libby Himes, Mountain View, 55.99; 3. Stephanie Mow, 56.02.

Jocelyn Rowley

Freshman Lexy Bullen competes for Niwot in the 100 breaststroke.

500 freestyle - 1. Emma Svedsen, Longmont, 5:16.25; 2. Emma McKalko, Thompson Valley, 5:22.51; 3. Kathleen Welch, Centaurus, 5:55.97; 4. Olivia Bridenbaugh, 6:00.02

200 freestyle relay - 1. Niwot (Codevilla, Mow, Gaspar, Yie),1:41.49; 2. Thompson Valley, 1:45.05; 3. Centaurus 1:45.27.

100 backstroke - 1. Mary Codevilla, 57.76; 2. Madison Lin, Centaurus, 1:04.66; 3. Paige Phelps, Thompson Valley, 1:05.79

100 breaststroke - 1. Lara Franco, Centaurus, 1:09.33; 2. Lexy Bullen, 1:10.75; Kaitlyn Yee, Longmont, 1:12.48

400 freestyle relay - 1. Niwot (Gaspar, Bullen, Yie, Codevilla), 3:44.77; t2. Longmont, 3:52.28; t2. Thompson Valley, 3:52.28


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