MONUMENT - When Lewis-Palmer has needed a lift this season, whether it be at one of its crack-of-dawn practices, or at just another afternoon meet, coach Alan Arata has more often than not looked for the name 'Bains' on the side of a swimming cap to lead the way.
Thursday was more of the same.
In the tapering weeks before the league and state meets, senior Hunter Bains and junior brother Cade Bains had hands in six event wins at Monument Hill Country Club, as the Rangers kept the program's all-time dual-meet record without a loss, beating Cheyenne Mountain 120-66.
The brothers led off the meet by giving the Rangers a sizeable lead after the first two legs of the 200-yard freestyle relay, which coasted in at a winning time of 1 minute, 41 seconds. After that, Hunter won the 100 butterfly (53.70), the 100 backstroke (56.48) and anchored the 400 freestyle relay to a victory, while Cade won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.70) and 500 freestyle (5:08.44) for Lewis-Palmer -- which won all but one event.
And it's no wonder why the Rangers, 69-0-1 in dual meets in the program's 10-season history, are feeling confident heading down the stretch.
"We have one of the best teams we've had here, and I think (the Bain brothers) really have been the leaders out there for us," Arata said. "Cade has such a tremendous work ethic and is a great leader everywhere for us. Hunter is just a terrific racer. I feel bad for anyone Hunter jumps behind of in a relay. He's going to catch them more times than not."
Lewis-Palmer, ranked third in 5A in Rob Nasser's boys' rankings, repeatedly edged out 4A's fifth-ranked team by the smallest of margins.
Indians freshman Westin Stieglitz, for one, felt it. He was beaten by an arm's stroke in the 50 freestyle to Lewis-Palmer's Matt Kalish (22.31-22.69) and then was passed late by Riley Delahoyde in the 100 free (48.83-49.88).
And by the end, sophomore Harry Buckley, brother the three-time 4A girls' 100 butterfly champion Sydney Buckley, grabbed the lone win for the Indians after he caught Billy Wells in the 200 free to win by.18 seconds at 1:51.83.
"I felt OK today," said Buckley, also who also had second- and third-place finishes. "In the 200, I felt pretty good, but we're all trying to find ways to get better for the state meet."
Before the PPAC League Championships on May 9, Lewis-Palmer will face 4A's second-ranked team, Discovery Canyon, while Cheyenne Mountain will square off against 5A Rampart.
And while the Rangers, as well as every other team in the state, mostly likely will fall well behind Regis for the team title in 5A, the Bains duo hopes it can bring home a title in perhaps their last year swimming together.
"We've been swimming together for most of our lives and getting a title in the 200 (free relay) together would be pretty special before I graduate," Hunter said.