Boulder Aquatic Masters Wrestles Colorado State Title Back From University of Denver Masters

By Rob Nasser

BOULDER, Colo, April 17. AT this year's Colorado State Masters Short Course Championships, the Boulder Aquatic Masters (BAM) set out with a mission: to take back the title upon which it once had a stranglehold upon in the late 90's.

Ever since the meet was moved in 2000 to the new El Pomar Natatorium on the University of Denver campus, the DU Masters had dominated the meet. This year: same meet, same location, different outcome. BAM scored 1,332 points to DU's 1,228. Boulder was second fiddle no longer. That role was happily turned over to DU.

Coming up in third in the large team category, and with a large infusion of new swimmers, was the Inverness Masters at 926 points, followed by the Durango Masters with 737 points.

Winning the Medium team trophy, and also rising from previous year's defeats was the Green Mountain Dawgs, who accumulated 631 points. Aurora Masters and Team Vortex tied for second, each with 543 points. They were followed by the Thornton Masters and the Squid teams, with 339 and 277 points, respectively.

In the Small Team division, South Suburban took home the hardware by scoring 251 points. It was followed by Jeffco Aquatic Masters (234), Evergreen Masters (213), and Highlands Ranch (191).

Each team had some major contributors, with individual points leaders for the meet looking like this..

Heather Hagadorn 37 DU 94
Lydia Young 53 DAWG 82
Willie Gatza 77 UNAT 81
Carolyn Roche 50 BAM 81
Quincy Ellis 53 DUR 79
Ruth Hertzberg 69 SC 77
John Wrenn 81 BAM 74
Dennis O'Brien 66 DUR 72
Peggy Buchannan 69 EV 72
James Graham 60 DUR 70

There were hordes of fast swims at the fast facility that sits a mile above sea level.

Some of these include Jeff Commings, 26, from SQUID who had the meet's fastest times in the 100 Breast (58.20), 100 IM (53.41), 200 IM (58.20), 400 IM (4:21.93), 50 Back (24.92), and 100 Back (52.97). Jeff came back to Colorado just for the meet after moving to New Mexico in late 2001. Many of his competitors are probably wishing that he stayed in the Aztec State.

Another set of hasty swims came from Heather Hagadorn in the deadly distance double on Friday night with the 1000 and 1650 free that she swam and won with times of 11:31.44 and 19:18.28. She followed this up by swimming 10 more individual events and 3 more relays. No other competitor had this much on their plate.. not even close. Mike Wise also racked up a couple of impressive distance swims in the 1000 (10:27.30) and 500 Free (5:00.99).

In other events, John C. Smith made it known that his 40th birthday was not a reason for everyone else to celebrate. He beat out a very fast 100 free field with a 47.96. There were five swimmers in the event under 49 seconds and eight under 51 seconds. The field also included American and World record holder in the 40-44 age group, Paul Smith from Vail Swimming. Since both Smiths are going to Hawaii, we may see a rematch of the Colorado championships in our fiftieth state.

American and World Record holder Rich Abrahams was also in classic form, taking his 55-59 age group in every event he swam and placing as high as second overall in the 100 fly with a 55.26. This was a very close second to Rob Nasser's 54.89.

Collette Sappy, 37, of Green Mountain, was showing off a great deal of muscle posting the meets fastest swims in the Women's 100 Free (54.28), 50 Fly (27.36). Becky Bicknell also returned to the state from Seattle to take back her 50 free title with a blazing 24.81 as well as the 100 fly at 1:02.58.

Sarah Lee, 35, of Boulder was also impressive in taking 3 events. Her 50 and 100 Breast and 100 IM were untouchable at 32.63, 1:10.90, and 1:03.27. Laura Smith also of Vail Swimming, made the 200 Back look easy, winning the event overall in 2:20.20.

Everyone at the meet seemed to be in agreement that there has never been a faster Masters meet held on Colorado's high altitude soil. It was also the best-attended meet with 365 swimmers. This does not bode well for non-Coloradans at the National Championships in May on the University of Hawaii campus.

Complete Meet Results