THORNTON — After escaping the cold of Colorado Springs, Rampart couldn't wait to feel the warmth of the heated pool of the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center. After all, it's got a championship feel for the Rams. It's the same venue where they claimed the last two Class 4A state swimming titles and everything about the building feels comfortable.
So when snow dumped on their hometown, the Rams were thrilled to jump on the bus and head north to defend their title. And their results during 4A prelims indicated they are ready, willing and able to do just that.
They took the top time in the 200-yard medley relay, the first event of the day. The last two years, the Rams have set the 4A record in the event and then gone on to win the team championship, so getting that time of one minute, 45.09 seconds was a big step in their quest for a repeat.
Laelle Brovold followed that performance up with a top-three time in the 200 freestyle. Shortly after, Lindsey Immel's 23.67 was good enough to put her in lane five for Wednesday's finals. That time also feels like striking distance of Brooke Stenstrom's 4A state record. Immel later grabbed the top time in the 100 freestyle at 51.56.
The Rams will be pushed by another strong swimming program in Cheyenne Mountain. After claiming the title in 2017, Cheyenne wants to find the top of that podium again. The team took third in the 200 medley and then Caroline Bricker grabbed the top spot in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:05.02.
Both Brovold and Harper Lehman are seeded in the top five for the 100 butterfly which could end up being a crucial race when it comes to the team championship.
Niwot's Mary Codevilla put on one of the more memorable preliminary performances of late as she dropped 11 seconds off her qualifying time in the 500 freestyle. She finished the race in 4:55.01, more than 14 seconds faster than the next closest swimmer, Cheyenne Mountain's Frances Hayward.
Mullen squeaked out the top time in the 200 freestyle relay, beating Rampart by just two-tenths of a second.
Monarch standout Katey Lewicki has the top seed in the 100 backstroke and her time of 54.58 could be a preview of her going after a record in finals. The 4A state record is 54.22 and was set by Fort Collins' Audrey Reimer.
Mullen's Chase Davidson dropped nearly five seconds off her qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke and heads into Wednesday as the top seed. Her 1:03.03 was just one-hundredth of a second faster than Bricker.
Dakota Ridge capped the night with the best time in the 400 freestyle relay at 3:38.82. Grand Junction took first in the last heat of the night with a time of 3:39.82 which was just two-hundredths of a second faster than Mullen.
Dive prelims for 4A will take place Wednesday morning at the VMAC with swim and dive finals scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.