At two pools separated by 16 miles, swimmers and divers gave it their all, onlookers cheered at the top of their lungs and the atmosphere at each had the feel of an intense, end-of-season meet.
Except one thing was missing. Several, actually.
All area schools weren’t in the same place.
As a result of last year’s breakup of the 16-member 4A Pikes Peak Metro League into two eight-school leagues, Saturday’s contests were split; the six 5A Metro League schools swam at Rampart, while nine 4A schools got together at Cheyenne Mountain for the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference meet.
In previous years, all schools swam in the Metro League meet, regardless of class, vying for separate 4A and 5A championships.
“If everyone would have been together for Metros, I think it would have been an even faster meet,” said Coronado senior Allie Jacobs, who won the PPAC title in the 200 individual medley. “More competition brings out the best in everyone.”
Both home teams defended their turf, with Rampart claiming the 5A CSML crown, outdistancing Pine Creek 385-263 behind three relay wins and two individual winners. Cheyenne Mountain rolled up 526 points, also touching first in all three relays and also getting four event champions. Lewis-Palmer was second with 464 points.
But the tantalizing head-to-head battles that would have materialized in years past left plenty of questions Saturday. For example, in the 100 backstroke, would Lewis-Palmer freshman Andie Turner (57.80 seconds at Cheyenne Mountain) have beaten four-time state 5A qualifier Sarah James of Doherty (59.20 at Rampart) in the same pool?
“I haven’t competed against Sarah in a high school meet yet, and I think having the entire city here would have been a lot of fun,” Turner said. “The more the merrier. We’ve been friends for two and a half years, and I’m finally thinking maybe I can beat her after years of conceding because she’s so good.”
Coronado, despite competing in the 4A Metro League in every other sport, joined fellow 4A Metro schools Wasson, Mesa Ridge/Widefield and Sierra with the PPAC at Cheyenne Mountain. The result left some wondering if a true city championship couldn’t be revisited.
“The discussion will be had again,” Cougars coach Katie Baker said. “As a coach, I’d rather have my girl get second and drop time than first and not having been pushed. Let’s get all the teams together and fight it out in the pool.”
And up north, similar discussions left coaches wondering about what might have been.
“It is sad,” longtime Rampart coach Pat Burch said. “Some coaches thought it was wonderful with just six teams, while some wanted it the way it was. It was a split decision. It would be interesting to compare the two leagues, and the powerhouses of swimming were certainly down at Cheyenne.”