THORNTON – As Pine Creek and Cheyenne Mountain emersed themselves in a battle for the Class 4A girls swimming title, swimmers from each team had no issue knocking down records along the way.

In the events followed the 200-yard medley relay race that kicked off finals, Pine Creek’s Madison Mintenko and Cheyenne Mountain’s Caroline Bricker knocked down the records attached to the respective events where they claimed gold.

Mintenko, a sophomore with the Eagles clocked a time of 1 minute, 45.93 seconds in the 200 freestyle to knock former Thompson Valley standout Eryn Eddy out of the record book. Bricker’s name was already in the record book for the 200 individual medley, she has a new time associated with it as she went for 1:58.49. She ends her high school career with four state titles in the IM and she’ll take those gold medals with her when she swims for Stanford next year. She later added another state record in the 100 breaststroke.

“[High school swimming] has really changed me as a person, I believe,” Bricker said. “I don’t know how to put it in words, I just think it makes you a better person to be able to work with different people and because swimming is such an individual sport, having this [team atmosphere] is so impactful.”

(Dan Mohrmann/

Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was the bridge in generations that got to occur with the Red-Tailed Hawks. As a celebration of 50 years of CHSAA girls swimming, honorary podium presenters handed out medals in the events where they shined as student-athletes. The presenter of the 200 IM was Anna Trinidad, the last swimmer at Cheyenne Mountain to claim four titles in the event.

“It was awesome to be here and see the people that were coaching when I was swimming in high school and being able to see these kids swim,” Trinidad said. “The whole night was awesome.”

As was handing Bricker her fourth state title in the IM.

“Caroline is a stud,” Trinidad said. “An absolute stud. She knows how to get it done.”

She took swimmer of the year honors at the end of the night, a well-deserved honor for the senior.

At the other end of the pool when the night was over, there was plenty to celebrate for the Eagles. Mintenko shattered the state record in the 500 freestyle, finishing the race in 4:47.7 which is just about six seconds behind the overall state record held by Regis Jesuit legend Missy Franklin. Mintenko can’t help but put that number in her mind knowing she has two years to break it.

“That’s the plan,” she said with a smile.

It was an overwhelming night for her and for her team. They ran away from the field to claim the 4A team championship, the first in program history. And it came on a night where she accomplished something special individually. This is an experience she won’t soon forget.

“This was really special to share with my team,” Mintenko said. “It was amazing.”

This state championship will certainly put a target on the Eagles in coming years, but it’s not something they’re concerned about now. They started thinking about setting history earlier in the week, but now the focus is on growing as a team which is something that is easy to do with a standout like Mintenko on the roster.

“When you have somebody like her who has seen high-level competition, national and international competition, they learn a lot at those events about teamwork,” coach Kent Nelson said. “They bring that to the team. We have a huge [group of] underclassmen this year and Maddie is one of them but she helps settle everybody down.”

If she can maintain that skill for the next two years, this won’t be the first state championship to go up in the halls of Pine Creek.

(Dan Mohrmann/

Individual Champions:

  • Diving: Ashley Van Milligan (Liberty) 508.35
  • 200 medley relay: Monarch (Gwenyth Christensen, Audrey Shambo, Mia Prater, Eliza Lennox) 1:47.35
  • 200 freestyle: Madison Mintenko (Pine Creek) 1:45.93*
  • 200 individual medley: Caroline Bricker (Cheyenne Mountain) 1:58.49*
  • 50 freestyle: Renee Burton (Highlands Ranch) 23.48
  • 100 butterfly: Jamieson Legh (Niwot) 54.28
  • 100 freestyle: Jordan Bindseil (Longmont) 51.57
  • 500 freestyle: Madison Mintenko (Pine Creek) 4:47.70*
  • 200 freestyle relay: Pine Creek (Jacquelyn Erickson, Lily Kemmerer, Tera Schultz, Madison Mintenko) 1:36.81
  • 100 backstroke: Lamieson Legh (Niwot) 54.65
  • 100 breaststroke: Caroline Bricker (Cheyenne Mountain) 1:00.20*
  • 400 freestyle relay: Pine Creek (Isabella Burton, Lily Kemmerer, Jacquelyn Erickson, Madison Mintenko) 3:30.12

* – 4A state record