Lewis-Palmer swimmer Rachel Kriete hoped to have a stress-free Saturday afternoon while cheering on her teammates in the finals of the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference championships at Cheyenne Mountain.
But after failing to record a state-qualifying time in the 500 freestyle during Friday's preliminaries, the senior focused on what might be her last 20-lap race as a high school swimmer.
That is, if she didn't finish in the required time of 5 minutes, 33.50 seconds.
"Words can't describe when you see that time on the scoreboard," said an elated Kriete, who saw her name next to a 5:32.57, good for a third-place finish and fast enough to punch a ticket to next weekend's 5A meet in Thornton. "I wanted to make it in prelims and get it over, but that didn't go as planned. I had one last chance, and I told myself 'I'm going to do it.'"
Kriete's performance helped the Rangers win the PPAC team title with 513 points, with host Cheyenne Mountain second with 457.
Lewis-Palmer had just one individual champion after Julie Day won the 200 individual medley, but rolled up the points about every other way, highlighted by a pair of second-place finishes by sophomore Andie Turner in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
"I don't think we brought a lot of energy into the meet," Rangers coach Alan Arata said. "Why, I don't know. If that means we'll have energy next weekend, then I'm OK with that. You don't want to bring too much where you don't have it next week, when it really counts."
Cheyenne Mountain captured titles in the 200 medley and 400 free relays, to go with two individual titles each from Rhyann Lowrey (200 and 500 free) and Sydney Buckley (100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke).
Indians freshman Maggie York turned in a pair of strong performances as she hopes to peak at next week's 4A state meet in Fort Collins, touching second in the 50 free and third in the 100 free.
"I wanted to at least swim as best as I could, but save some energy for state," York said. "Through all of it, I just wanted to keep getting better state times and be more prepared. It would have been great to win my races and as a team, but I feel good since I tried my hardest and didn't take a step back."
Valor Christian, which recorded a pool and meet record in the 200 freestyle relay (1:38.54), placed third with 293 points, while Air Academy (233) and Discovery Canyon (214) rounded out the top five.
Discovery Canyon's Emma Plentl highlighted her team effort by winning the diving competition with 401.75 points, easily outdistancing the 326.25 accumulated by Lewis-Palmer's Becca Hetrick.