Gucker leads the way as Evergreen wins 3A girls state swimming championship

Evergreen girls swimming

(Photo courtesy of Sara Hertwig)

FORT COLLINS — As Davy Brown strolled to the podium with a smile, she slapped hands with all the other championship finalists. It was her way of celebrating another state crown.

A title-winner both individually (100-yard backstroke) and as a team (Aspen) during the first-ever 3A state finals in 2017, Brown has been a force for years. She added to that status Saturday in her prep finale while clinching victories in the 200 individual medley (2 minutes, 08.65 seconds) and the 100 backstroke (57.58).

“I had a really big plateau for awhile,” Brown admitted. “It’s incredible to have overcome all that and to actually be back on my game.”

With a backstroke crown in her grasp as a sophomore, Brown seemed destined to claim further golds. Instead, she was eclipsed by Sydney Silver (St. Mary’s) in the 2018 final. That result led to some soul-searching, especially as Aspen dealt with adversity as a group.

“We’ve had a lot of unfortunate circumstances to bring us down, but it seems that we really know how to overcome things, especially with having relationships with each other and being able to hold each other up when falling,” she said.

On Saturday, emotion spilled out of Brown and why wouldn’t it? She was even part of a 3A record-setting relay group in the 200 freestyle (1:40.46) as the Skiers inched past a Pueblo County (1:40.60) team that also blew away their previous school and classification record of 1:41.06 from 2017.

“I think it’s a symbol of how far we have come as a team and I think it’s a symbol to me to show how far I can go,” Brown said. “I can succeed, I can overcome.”

Brown, Emily Kinney, Laila Khan Farooqi, and Kayla Tehrani broke new ground in Class 3A for Aspen.

Even so, Evergreen was able to secure the 3A team championship as Remi Gucker clinched both the 200 and 500 freestyle titles. Christina Crane snagged her share of points as well with runner-up finishes of her own (100 breaststroke, 100 free). Gucker, Crane, Maggie McDonald, and Hope Atkins also won the 400 free relay (3:39.31).

The Cougars, who piled up 428 points, topped the 4A state fields in 2014 and 2015. Pueblo County tallied 297 and matched their 2018 runner-up showing. The Hornets also claimed the win in the 200 medley relay.

As for the diving competition, a bit of magic happened when Rachel Alexander made a late charge to win her first state championship. The Discovery Canyon junior was in fourth after the prelims and third after the semifinals, but her 424.90 points surpassed Campbell Patteson’s (Kent Denver) 419.50.

“I had a few rough rounds this morning so I didn’t know if there was still a chance,” Alexander said. “Going into finals I was just going to give it my all and see how it went.”

She finished fourth at the state meet as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore, but shattered her own school record Saturday.

La Junta senior Emily Moreland made history for her school as well in winning the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:06.05.

“It means everything to me,” she said. “There’s only been two girls that have ever gotten state championships for swimming, so I just really like that I get to represent our community in a great way.”