THORNTON – Cherry Creek had to give fans a little bit of drama. At least early in the night. Despite a win in the 200-yard medley relay, it took some time for the Bruins take the No. 1 spot in the team standings.

But once they jumped to No. 1, they never looked back as they claimed the Class 5A girls swimming and diving championship for the third year in a row. It’s the 29th girls swim title for the program overall.

Following the win in the 200 medley relay, Regis Jesuit held the team lead for the next two events. But after Lawson Ficken and Alexis Greenhawt finished one-two in the 50 freestyle. That gave the Bruins 163 points with Heritage sitting in second at 106.

The meet never got closer than 57 points from that point on.

“I love winning,” Cherry Creek coach Karin Olmsted Dinsdale said. “I hate to lose, but also I swam at Creek and there are expectations. And we know that pressure is a privilege.

Greenhawt added to the lead with a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly and Ficken got her second win of the night when she claimed the 100 freestyle. She also gave a 13-year-old Missy Franklin record a scare in that event, touching in 48.77. Franklin set the record at 48.45 in 2012.

(Dan Mohrmann/

That wasn’t the only scare that the Bruins dished out. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Greenhawt, Ficken, Ana Loveridge, Charlotte Wilson won the race in 1:30.81, breaking the state record that they set in Thursday’s prelims. It was also just nine-hundredths of a second off the national record that was set by a team from Carmel, Ind. in 2015.

“It definitely makes it sweeter,” Ficken said. “For me it’s about how do we keep going from here. It makes me more excited for the next time I get a race and get to compete.

That win gave the Bruins a 325-256 lead over Regis Jesuit, effectively ending the competition for the team title. But the energy of this championship was fueled by the scaring of a few records, one of which would come at the expense of a Colorado swimming legend and the other would give them nationwide recognition.

Everything else through the course of the night was academic. Wilson added a win in the 100 backstroke and the 400 freestyle relay team slammed the door with a win to give the Bruins a clean sweep in the relays.

Unlike last year where Creek had just one individual claim gold (Greenhawt in the backstroke), several swimmers came away with gold medals. On top of the three relays, Creek came away with three individual wins, completing yet another dominant state meet. The Bruins scored 448 total points. Regis Jesuit finished second at 367.5.

“We have a lot of depth on the team, there’s no way any one of us could do this on our own,” Greenhawt said. “These girls are so talented and I’m so proud to be a part of something like that.”

The 29 team championships are by far the most in state history. Mullen is second in that category with seven, but the Mustangs haven’t won a title since 2005. In 50 years of girls swimming and diving in Colorado, Cherry Creek more than one championship every other year.

And judging from their performance in 2023, the Bruins don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Individual Champions

  • Diving: Morgan Manley (Denver East) 467.85
  • 200 medley relay: Cherry Creek (Charlotte Wilson, Katie Cohen, Maren McDonald, Alana Maxey) 1:41.77
  • 200 freestyle: Zara Zallen (Boulder) 1:48.58
  • 200 individual medley: Mary Macaulay (Heritage) 2:00.67
  • 50 freestyle: Lawson Ficken (Cherry Creek) 22.64
  • 100 butterfly: Edith Simecek (Fairview) 54.57
  • 100 freestyle: Lawson Ficken (Cherry Creek) 48.77
  • 500 freestyle: Sabrina Rachjaibun (Legacy) 4:55.89
  • 200 freestyle relay: Cherry Creek (Alexis Greenhawt, Lawson Ficken, Ana Loveridge, Charlotte Wilson) 1:30.81*
  • 100 backstroke: Charlotte Wilson (Cherry Creek) 52.95
  • 100 breaststroke: Charlotte Burnham (Regis Jesuit) 1:02.40
  • 400 freestyle relay: Cherry Creek (Alexis Greenhawt, Lawson Ficken, Ana Loveridge, Teagan Steinmetz) 3:23.66

* – 5A state record