THORNTON – Evergreen’s run of dominance in Class 3A girls swimming continues. The Cougars cruised to their fifth state title in a row, scoring 443 points as a team. It’s their highest point total of their current championship run.

With few words to truly describe Evergreen’s status as a team, the only fitting one is “dynasty.”

“There’s a lot of pressure with the number of state titles we have,” coach Steve Schneiter said. “I knew we had a great team to build upon and try to take it to the next level.”

When 3A swimming started in 2017, Aspen claimed the first title and Longmont won a year later. But since then, it’s been all Evergreen.

The Cougars started the day with a win in the 200-yard medley relay, touching the wall in 1 minute, 48.79 seconds to just missing out on breaking the 3A state record they set a year ago. The medley was anything but a runaway however as the St. Mary’s Academy team of Blair Fraciscus, Caitlin Crysel, Riley Mills and Madison Cryesel were just over a 10th of a second behind the Cougars.

Two events later, Caitlin Crysel set the 3A record in the 200 IM, going in 2:04.38, breaking her record time of 2:05.34 from last year.

Through the 50 freestyle, there was plenty of work to be done. The Cougars were sitting in fourth place with 107 points, 20 behind St. Mary’s Academy.

No one in the Evergreen camp, however, even had an idea where the panic button was located in the event it needed to be pressed.

(Dan Mohrmann/

“Every year, we’re always behind until after the 15-minute break [following the 50 freestyle],” junior Finley Anderson. “When that break is over we always make up for the points that are lost. We always come back.”

With four finishers in the top six of the 100 butterfly, the Cougars leapt into first place. Anderson finished first at 55.35 while Riley Rains (59.41) took third and Maya Patel (1:00.90) took sixth.

It was sheer depth that allowed the Cougars to put distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Anderson put an exclamation point on her performance by setting a 3A record in the 100 backstroke, finishing the race in 54.10.

It’s those moments and really the sheer atmosphere of the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center that helps the Cougars get amped up year after year and leave the building with state championship hardware to add to the trophy case.

“The energy is so much different than any of the dual meets,” junior Riley Rains said. “It pushes you to go a lot faster.”

The meet had its fair share of memorable moments with Crysel setting the 3A record in the individual medley and Discovery Canyon’s Julia Thomas putting on a show by winning the 50 and 100 freestyle races and anchoring the 200 freestyle relay in which she turned on the jets and led the Thunder to a win in the event.

But the team glory once again went to the Cougars. While their winning state championships is an event that seems repetitive year after year, the emotion of it never gets old.

Individual Champions

  • Diving: Laura Zupancic (Liberty Common) 447.35
  • 200 medley relay: Evergreen (Finley Anderson, Alyssa Cook, Riley Rains, Kileigh Ackerman) 1:48.79
  • 200 freestyle: Tuva Siegel (Denver North) 1:53.61
  • 200 individual medley: Caitlin Crysel (St. Mary’s Academy) 2:04.38*
  • 50 freestyle: Julia Thomas (Discovery Canyon) 23.70
  • 100 butterfly: Finley Anderson (Evergreen) 55.35
  • 100 freestyle: Julia Thomas (Discovery Canyon) 52.09
  • 500 freestyle: Amelie Ogilby (Glenwood Springs) 5:03.80
  • 200 freestyle relay: Discovery Canyon (Anna Clayton, Reyna Halleen, Zoe Suhajda, Julia Thomas) 1:42.75
  • 100 backstroke: Finley Anderson (Evergreen) 54.10*
  • 100 breaststroke: Caitlin Crysel (St. Mary’s Academy) 1:05.53
  • 400 freestyle relay: St. Mary’s Academy (Riley Mills, Madison Crysel, Blair Franciscus, Caitlin Crysel) 3:36.59

* – Indicates 3A record