Editor's note: The story has been updated to reflect the correct winner of the 400-yard freestyle event. It is Mullen.
It came down to the final race.
And all Discovery Canyon could do was watch.
Without a team in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Thunder fell just short of the Class 4A boys’ swimming and diving title on Saturday at Air Force Academy. Despite boasting just one individual winner, Discovery Canyon finished as the runner-up with 194 points, behind first-time state winner Windsor's 202.
Discovery Canyon led 194-174 over Windsor before the final event, but the Thunder did not compete. A swimmer wore a tech suit that violated the National Federation of High School Association's rule on the size of swimsuit logos, said Thunder coach Dave Burgess.
Mullen won the event.
"We had high expectations coming this week, and that was a very unfortunate event that occurred," Burgess said. "We got together before the first event and said, 'Everyone has to swim harder and take advantage and move up where we can.' And the guys swam lights out."
Cheyenne Mountain — which had won the three previous titles — fell out of contention late in the meet, eventually finishing fourth with 168 points. The Indians entered this season with hopes of a top-five showing after losing at least a dozen state placers to graduation.
"Fourth is awesome," Indians coach Kate Doane said. "We gave everybody some great competition."
Cheyenne Mountain’s Kyle Leach set the 4A mark in the 100 freestyle, finishing in 44.33 seconds. He also captured the 50 freestyle in 20.32, followed by Air Academy’s Griffin Ayotte (20.91) and Discovery Canyon’s Tommy Rauchut (21.27).
"My best was about fourth-tenths off that, so I had confidence in myself that I'd get it," Leach, a Mizzou signee, said about the state record. "But it depended on how fast I'd go."
The Thunder's lone individual winner was senior Brendan Byrnes, who captured the diving title with 373.45 points – well ahead of his closest competitive, Longmont’s Cooper Welsh, who had 332.
Discovery Canyon had seven podium finishes. Sophomore Rauchut took second in the 100 butterfly (50.77) and third in the 50 freestyle (21.27), while junior teammate Braden Whitmarsh finished third in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events.
Other highlights include:
• Cheyenne Mountain’s Leach, Juwon Hong, Gabe Grauvogel and Christian Moden capturing the 200 medley relay in 1:34.20. Pine Creek finished third in 1:36.36;
• Pine Creek senior Nicholas Sherman winning the 200 medley in 1:50.81 and 100 breaststroke in 50.01, respectively.
At Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thorton: Lewis-Palmer had four podium finishes, highlighted by senior Nick Orie's third-place showing in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.15. Regis Jesuit's Elijah Warren won in 54.76 to help the Raiders to the team title.
Orie also took seventh in the 50 freestyle (21.67), while teammate Aric Althouse placed fourth in the diving finals.