THORNTON – Unlike last year, Cherry Creek decided to wait for the last minute before securing yet another Class 5A girls swimming championship.

The Bruins had been in control of team standings for most of the night, but with Charlotte Burnham’s win in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1 minute, 1.91 seconds, it was Regis Jesuit, not Cherry Creek sitting in first place heading into the 400 freestyle relay.

So the Bruins had to swim the race of their year and hope for a little help from around them. They did just that, getting their final touch at 3:24.99, about 11 seconds faster than anyone else and three spots better than the Raiders.

The final standings had Cherry Creek at 362, Regis Jesuit at 359.

That’s four team titles in a row for the Bruins.

“Each one is sweeter and each one gets harder,” Cherry Creek coach Karin Olmsted Dinsdale said. “We knew the whole way that Regis was going to be hard to beat. They had a really great breaststroke event and had some great divers that set them up well for the meet.”

Creek wasn’t exactly lacking in horses, however.

After winning the 200 medley relay to kick finals off, Charlotte Wilson claimed the 200 individual medley two events later. She added another win in the 100 backstroke but knew the big work for the Bruins had to come in the relays.

(Dan Mohrmann/

“The relays were the most important part of the entire meet,” Wilson said. “It really did come down to the relays and what place we got there. I felt a lot more focused in the relays and made sure I gave it my all in those.”

The Bruins swept all three relays, with the 400 freestyle containing the bulk of the drama for the night. Although Regis had taken a seven-point edge heading into the race, Cherry Creek had known from the start that things needed to go their way.

The key was trying to keep the details as vague as possible. Go out and win and take care of business. That was the message for the girls.

“I’m not sure if our team really knew where they had to place,” Olmsted Dinsdale said. “I didn’t share that with them because I didn’t want to stress them out. But everyone was paying attention.”

More than their coach knew.

By the time Jenna Fernstrom had finished the second leg of the race, the lead for the Bruins seemed all but insurmountable. Madison Williams and Alana Maxey (who had actually been held out of the preliminary relay) only added to it.

Standing on the bulkhead, Wilson was able to do the quick math and figure out that as long as the Raiders didn’t finish second, the Bruins were hoisting another championship trophy.

“It was probably the last 25 [yards] that I knew,” Wilson said. “By the second leg, I knew we had first place. We knew Regis couldn’t catch back up and finish second [or we’d lose]. It was the last 50 or 25 that I thought we were going to get it.”

They did and team erupted from poolside.

This is the 30th team title in Cherry Creek history, far and away more than any other team in state history. This is the second time since 2005 that the Bruins have claimed four straight titles. They won six straight from 2005-10 and are currently showing sides that they can at least match that feat and potentially soar to even greater heights.

Class 5A girls swim champions

  • 200 Medley Relay: Cherry Creek 1:41.23
  • 200 Freestyle: Marissa Inouye (Mountain Range) 1:49.16
  • 200 Individual Medley: Charlotte Wilson (Cherry Creek) 2:00.13
  • 50 Freestyle: Ella Gaca Thiele (Fossil Ridge) 22.98
  • Diving: Sydney Ovesen (Fossil Ridge) 506.45
  • 100 Butterfly: Isabella Forsman (Legacy) 54.81
  • 100 Freestyle: Ella Gaca Thiele (Fossil Ridge) 50.02
  • 500 Freestyle: Mila Nikanorov (Douglas County) 4:42.49
  • 200 Freestyle Relay: Cherry Creek 1:34.66
  • 100 Backstroke: Charlotte Wilson (Cherry Creek) 52.90
  • 100 Breaststroke: Charlotte Burnham (Regis Jesuit) 1:01.91
  • 400 Freestyle Relay: Cherry Creek 3:24.99