In one of the most thrilling finishes in recent memory, Rampart came up just shy of claiming a third straight Class 4A girls swimming championship last winter.
It was a tough experience but a well-learned lesson for the Rams, who have every intention reaching that championship level for the 2021 season.
And there is plenty of reason to think they can do it. For starters, they have the returning 4A swimmer of the year in Lindsey Immel back and in a mindset to help the Rams achieve their championship dreams.
On top of performing at a peak level at last year's state meet, Immel also learned that even if it a team gives its all, it may not come away with a championship. That's not deterring her or the Rams, only making them want to work for it that much more.
"With the shortened season, it's going to make everyone want to work harder," Immel said. "We don't have that time to warm up, we just have to get straight into it. For a lot of us, we're going in looking to have fun."
Immel grabbed wins in the 200-yard medley relay, the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle to earn swimmer of the year honors last year. She also won the medley, 100 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay in 2019 which also led to her receiving first-team all-state honors.
This year, she's looking to cap of a stellar high school swimming career and even as soon as the first day of official practice, she made her presence known as an established veteran of the team.
"She showed up ready to go," coach Dan Greene said. "She took charge of the pool right away when she came in."
She's been competing in the sport long enough to understand that the focus cannot be on just her. The effort the Rams put together three years ago was good enough to clinch its first 4A girls swim title in program history.
It's a team component in high school swimming that is uniquely valued with coaches and athletes. And while the swimmers can only control their own performances, they still know how crucial it is to bond and compete as a team when shooting for a common goal, such as a team swim title.
"Swimming is such an individual sport when you really look at it," Immel said. "But your team is really the most important thing when you're at state. I individually swam the best that I could and everyone on the team individually swam the best that they could that day. It's all about supporting one another."
Having been a recipient of two state championships and also a very close runner-up, Immel knows the feeling of that final day and knows how much effort is required through the course of the season to fulfill that goal.
That's why the team is in such good hands as competition starts next week.
"She's in a good position to be a leader on the team," Greene said. "She's already been a leader in the past, but as a senior I'd like to see how she steps up and does it"