FORT COLLINS – For the first time in the illustrious high school career of Lewis-Palmer’s Ryan Arata, he left the state meet without a title.
He’d won three his freshman year in 4A, four more in 4A as a sophomore and grabbed the 5A 100-yard backstroke title last season. But while he was shut out individually, Arata did contribute an inspired final leg for a sixth-place relay finish that left him, his team and his father/coach in sixth place overall and satisfied after a difficult 5A state meet.
Just before the 400 freestyle relay Saturday, Alan Arata called his team together to say one last thing before the meet's final event.
“’Look guys, I want to take sixth (place),” he said. “I know that may not sound great to you, but it kind of means a heck of a lot to me.
"We need to beat (Fairview) in this race if we want to do that.’”
As anchor, Arata jumped into the water in last place. Halfway through the leg he caught up and passed Littleton’s anchor, but still trailed Fairview’s Connor Corrigan. Arata inched closer and closer down the stretch before the two slapped the wall simultaneously -- just so happens, Lewis-Palmer edged Fairview 3:13.17 to 3:13.20 in the race and finished sixth in the final standings (122 to Fairview’s 118).
“The 400 relay has always been my favorite race,” said Ryan who's split broke the school record. “I love trying to catch up. It is just fun.”
Arata and Rampart’s Ian Clarke finished their careers with a combined three top-five individual finishes. Arata took second in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, while Clarke took fourth in the 200 IM (and a seventh-place finish in the 500 freestyle).
Lewis-Palmer’s Hunter Bains (200 freestyle) and its two relays (200 medley and 400 freestyle) were the only other area top-eight finishes.
In team scores, the Rangers led the way followed by Rampart (19th), Liberty (26th) and Pine Creek (28th). Regis Jesuit ran away with the meet with 381 points while Cherry Creek trailed in second with 240.
For Clarke, he said it was just an OK day in the pool. The senior finished the 200 IM in 1:53.92 and the 500 freestyle in 4:43.47.
“I wasn’t rested all the way,” Clarke said. “In the 200 I knew (Pomona’s) Nolan (Tesone) would be leading so I tried to stay with him as long as I could.”
This summer Clarke will continue to race until mid-August when he’ll join his University of Utah team.
“Since I got serious I’ve improved a lot,” said Clarke, who just started training regularly two years ago. “It’s been great, made a lot of friends and it is just fun.”
Then there was Arata.
When all was said and done it took a state record and a defending champ to keep him from atop the podium. In the 100 butterfly, Regis Jesuit’s Clark Smith defended his title as he clipped Arata 48.73 to 49.68. Then, Cherry Creek’s Daryl Turner, who is one of the best swimmers in the nation, broke his state backstroke record (48.18) to hold off Arata (50.89) and the rest of the field.
“I just told (Turner) great job after that,” Arata said. “That, and he’s insane.”
Arata will be headed to Stanford in the fall to study aerospace engineering. Academically he is No. 1 in his graduating class and scored a perfect 800 in the math section of the SAT and a 790 in English to go along with being a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. As for his accomplishments in the pool this season, none was greater than qualifying in all 12 events for 5A state – something that has not been done in 5A in recent memory.
At day’s end his father and each of his 400 freestyle relay teammates surrounded him, exchanging hugs and high-fives.
They know next season Lewis-Palmer will have some pool’s worth of commitment and dedication to fill.
“I hope I’ve inspired some guys here,” he said.
5A State Swim Championships
Lists top eight plus other area finishers
200 Medley Relay – Cherry Creek 1:32.07; Regis Jesuit 1:33.08; Loveland 1:35.09; Highlands Ranch 1:37.38; Fossil Ridge 1:37.55; Chatfield 1:37.68; Lewis-Palmer 1:38.55 (Ryan Arata, Adam Fiala, Conor Cox, Mike Carlson); Fairview 1:38.88.
Other area teams – Liberty (14th) (Wyatt Larsen, Tom Foster, Clayton Tuck, David Silver) 1:41.45.
200 Freestyle – Carter Griffin, Ponderosa 1:40.92; Tyler Hicks, Poudre 1:41.11; Nathan Mueller, Highlands Ranch 1:41.79; Andrew Torres, Ralston Valley 1:42.00; Kyle Hentschel, Arapahoe 1:43.13; Jack Jenner, Castle View 1:43.20; Cooper Bowen, Loveland 1:44.84; Hunter Bains, Lewis-Palmer 1:46.88.
200 IM – Nolan Tesone, Pomona 1:49.84; Alex Tooley, Fossil Ridge 1:53.33; Pat Jones, Loveland 1:53.59; Ian Clarke, Rampart 1:53.92; Nick Hatanaka, Loveland 1:54.02; Tim Smith, Regis Jesuit 1:54.20; Reed Matthews, Denver East 1:54.88; Stuart Hennessey, Regis Jesuit 1:57.15.
50 Freestyle – Ben Fry, Regis Jesuit 21.17; Joey Hinton, Heritage 21.31; Bryce Carter, Chatfield 21.40; Logan Lagesse, Arapahoe 21.41; Andrew Behrend, Cherry Creek 21.72; Erik Biernat, Regis Jesuit 21.73; Miles MacKenzie, Fairview 21.79; Phil Mathys, Littleton 22.03.
Diving – Kyle Goodwin, Regis Jesuit 533.25; Matt Mauser, Regis Jesuit 486.60; Alan LeBlang, Arapahoe 478.55; Trent Kindvall, Standley Lake 419.50; Andrew Hull, Denver East 415.20; Deon Ayala, Fort Collins 402.95; Jamie Corona, Overland 395.85; Christopher Clayton, Regis Jesuit 393.75.
Other area divers – Markus Perry, Lewis-Palmer 391.45, Jordan Purdham, Lewis-Palmer 361.10; Shane Guerin, Pine Creek 345.30.
100 Butterfly – Clark Smith, Regis Jesuit 48.73; Ryan Arata, Lewis-Palmer 49.68; David Fraser, Highlands Ranch 50.31; Reed Matthews, Denver East 50.86; Erik Biernat, Regis Jesuit 50.94; Max Holter, Fort Collins 52.08; Austin Layman, Chatfield 52.64; Wyatt Oerman, Cherry Creek 53.27.
Other area swimmers – John Frank, Pine Creek (12th) 53.89; Conor Cox, Lewis Palmer (15th) 54.88.
100 Freestyle -- Daryl Turner, Cherry Creek 44.33; Ben Fry, Regis Jesuit 46.02; Tyler Hicks, Poudre 46.50; Bryce Carter, Chatfield 46.68; Joey Hinton, Heritage 47.05; Kyle Hentschel, Arapahoe 47.08; Miles MacKenzie, Fairview 47.56; Zach Suter, Regis Jesuit 48.51.
Other area swimmers – Hunter Bains, Lewis-Palmer (16th) 48.81.
500 Freestyle – Carter Griffin, Ponderosa 4:34.43; Nathan Mueller, Highlands Ranch 4:34.47; Andrew Parker, Highlands Ranch 4:38.26; Andrew Torres, Ralston Valley 4:38.58; Chris Dawson, Regis Jesuit 4:39.04; Ryan Ball, Loveland 4:41.00; Ian Clarke, Rampart 4:43.47; Hayden Berg, Pomona 4:49.93.
Other area swimmers – Michael Havenar, Lewis Palmer (16th) 4:51.00.
200 Freestyle Relay – Regis Jesuit 1:25.53; Cherry Creek 1:26.14; Arapahoe 1:26.37; Fairview 1:27.51; Loveland 1:28.11; Littleton 1:28.14; Castle View 1:28.60; Chatfield 1:28.99.
Other area teams – Lewis-Palmer (11th) (Mike Carlson, Michael Havenar, Shane Mobley, Hunter Bains) 1:30.70; Rampart (13th) (Alex Garcia, Bryant Hiraki, Jonathan Allen, Ian Clarke) 1:30.89; Liberty (15th) (David Silver, Steve Moulton, Clayton Tuck, Philip Shimel) 1:30.94.
100 Backstroke – Daryl Turner, Cherry Creek 48.18 (state record); Ryan Arata, Lewis Palmer 50.89; Nolan Tesone, Pomona 50.99; Stuart Hennessey, Regis Jesuit 51.31; Andrew Parker, Highlands Ranch 51.35; Ryan Ball, Loveland 51.90; Austin Layman, Chatfield 52.46; Jake Thelen, Fossil Ridge 53.44.
100 Breaststroke – Nick Hatanaka, Loveland 56.62 (5A state record); Zach Ballon, Cherry Creek 58.95; Steven Holiday, Smoky Hill 59.03; Alex Tooley, Fossil Ridge 59.08; John Mattern, Cherry Creek 59.54; ; Jesse Ireland, Heritage 1:00.03; Tim Smith, Regis Jesuit 1:00.08; Eric Ung, Standley Lake 1:01.24.
400 Freestyle Relay – Regis Jesuit 3:04.91; Cherry Creek 3:05.93; Arapahoe 3:09.00; Highlands Ranch 3:09.19; Loveland 3:12.69; Lewis-Palmer (Ryan Arata, Michael Havenar, Mike Carlson, Hunter Bains) 3:13.17; Fairview 3:13.20; Littleton 3:15.20.