THORNTON — Chatfield junior Kathryn Shanley entered the Class 5A girls state swimming and diving meet looking to defend a championship from last year.
She's also looking at claiming another individual title and is a prime position to do so when finals begin on Friday.
Shanley will start in the coveted fifth lane in the 200-yard freestyle after a preliminary time of one minute, 50.69 seconds. She finished second in the event in 2019 and that was just before she hit the pool to claim gold in the 500 freestyle.
She's aiming to keep her crown in that event as she swam 4:59.28 in prelims to firmly put herself in the A final.
Her position as anchor in the 200 freestyle relay also helped the Chargers claim the top overall seed in that race.
Fossil Ridge's Lucy Bell is another swimmer who put herself in a position for multiple championships as she took top preliminary times in the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle.
She also watched as teammate Renee Gillilan beat the field in the 100 butterfly at 53.99. The two standouts for the Sabercats are hoping to guide their team to a four title in six years. It was Fairview edging out Fossil Ridge in 2016 and 2019.
The Knights started prelims out by taking the top seed in the 200 medley relay. Fairview certainly has the bodies to claim its second straight title but a win in the medley relay on Friday would definitely boost confidence for the rest of the night.
They got their first individual leader of the meet when Jenna Reznicek took the top time in the 100 backstroke at 1:02.24. She'll have to fend off Gillilan - last year's runner-up - in Friday's final.
Heritage junior Anna Shaw leads the field in the 50 freestyle and was the only swimmer in the event to break 23 seconds. Shaw came into prelims with the second-best time in the state, but put together a masterful performance to take the top spot in the final.
Capping off the night, Cherry Creek edged Chatfield by 0.04 seconds in 400 freestyle relay to take the top spot in finals.
Earlier in the day, Ralston Valley's Isabel Gregersen made her way through diving semifinals and heads into Friday as the leader.
Things will get interesting on Friday as finals are slated to begin at 5 p.m. The team race looks competitive as Fairview, Fossil Ridge and Cherry Creek all have the numbers to bring home team hardware.