St. Mary’s Academy Wins Their First Ever Colorado 3A Title in Girls’ Swimming & Diving

2024 Colorado High School Girls’ Swimming & Diving Championships – 3A

In Class 5A, Cherry Creek won their 4th-straight title. In Class 4A, Pine Creek won a 2nd-straight crown.

The stage was set for Evergreen, who based on psych sheet scoring were 21-point favorites, to win a 6th-straight title in Class 3A, but St. Mary’s Academy had other ideas.

The Wildcats held off Evergreen in the final 400 free relay, setting a Class 3A Record to win the event and seal the first team title in program history.

Final Scores (Top 5):

  1. St. Mary’s Academy – 384
  2. Evergreen – 373
  3. Glenwood Springs High School – 287.5
  4. Holy Family High School – 218
  5. Kent Denver High School – 214

This meet is at around 5,000 feet of altitude, which means that 200 yard races get 1.2 seconds of adjustment and 500 yard races get 5 seconds of adjustment.

Class 3A comprises the smallest of Colorado’s high schools.

“These girls are incredible,” St. Mary’s Academy coach Kelly Shipley said. “I teach at the school and these girls just swim with their hearts, they swim for each other and the team is just a solid family. They really are. They swam for each other, that was it.”

The relay of Riley Mills (52.52), Blair Franciscus (55.47), Kate Callender (54.55), and Caitlin Crysel (51.50) combined for a 3:34.04. That took a second off the old record of 3:35.05 set by Aspen High in 2017. Evergreen, who needed a win to take the meet, swam 3:38.05 for 2nd place, including a 52.38 anchor from senior Finley Anderson.

Crysel, one of two seniors on that St Mary’s relay (along with Blair Franciscus), had the best split of the field, and that was just the cherry on top of a spectacular senior season for her.

Crysel also won the 200 IM in 2:03.11, her fourth title in four years. That swim is a lifetime best and is a second better than she swam to win last year.

The win makes her just the sixth swimmer in state history to win four titles in the same event, and third to do so in the 200 IM. Another St. Mary’s Wildcat has pulled that off – Alexa Beckwith won four-straight diving titles from 2011-2014.

“It means a lot, honestly,” Crysel said. “It’s a confidence booster, but it’s also just a lot of fun. I love the 200 IM race. Every year, there’s someone new who I get to compete against and I get to meet and become friends with. I’ve just been so grateful for this opportunity and for every person I’ve raced with and raced against. It’s just been so nice.”

Crysel also won the 100 free in 51.06, making her the 10th swimmer in state history to win seven or more state championships. Only Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin from Regis Jesuit and Anna Trinidad from Cheyenne Mountain have done it better at any level of Colorado high school girls’ swimming with eight titles each.

“It means a lot, honestly,” Crysel said. “It’s a confidence booster, but it’s also just a lot of fun. I love the 200 IM race. Every year, there’s someone new who I get to compete against and I get to meet and become friends with. I’ve just been so grateful for this opportunity and for every person I’ve raced with and raced against. It’s just been so nice.”

Crysel is committed to join another winning team in the fall. The Emory women have won 24 consecutive UAA titles and won 10 straight NCAA Division III titles until 2022, but have been runner-up at the two meets since.

The title for St. Mary’s came with a sweep of the relays. In the opening 200 medley relay, Franciscus (back – 28.97), Caitlin Crysel (breast – 29.97), Riley Mills (fly – 24.56), and Madison Crysel (free – 24.89) combined to win in 1:48.39. They dominated that race and missed the State Record by only .07 seconds.

Mills, a junior who had the fastest fly split of the field, also came through big in her individual events. She won the 50 free in 23.74, beating out Holy Family sophomore Lorelai Frauenfelder (24.03). Later in the day, she won the 100 fly in 55.70, beating out last year’s winner Anderson for Evergreen (55.71) by .01 seconds in a win that was huge for the eventual champions both in points (6 point swing) and momentum.

Mills was 2nd in both races at last year’s state met.

She was part of an effort that saw St Mary’s win six out of 11 swimming events on Saturday. Even without their stars Mills or Caitlin Crysel, they won the 200 free relay in 1:43.40 – .16 seconds ahead of Glenwood Springs. St. Mary’s relay included Madison Crysel (24.87), Lauren Anderson (26.02), Annika Damon (27.69), and Kate Callender (24.82). All four swimmers on that relay are scheduled to come back next season, with Crysel, Damon, and Callender all being sophomores – giving the team some depth to build a dynasty.

The top five in that relay were all within six-tenths including Evergreen in 3rd in 1:43.70, just three-tenths behind the winners – another huge point swing (16).

While St. Mary’s took care of business and won the big races they needed to race, Evergreen had highlights too. Sophomore Tallaby Riddle won the 500 free in 5:00.91, which broke a 3A State Record that was set in 2017 by Abbey Selin of D’evelyn High.

Riddle’s altitude-adjusted time would be 4:55.91.

That time for Riddle was a best time by more than two seconds and was a whopping 17 seconds better than her runner-up swim from last year. Glenwood Springs senior Amelie Ogilby won in 2023, but was 2 seconds slower this year to finish 2nd.

Finley Anderson, the aforementioned runner-up in the 100 fly, fought back late to win the 100 back in 54.18, which was just shy of her own State Record of 54.00. That’s her third-straight state title in the event.

The other two winners also were notable for different reasons.

In the 200 freestyle, Cody Monajjem from Wellington High School in Fort Collins won her program’s first-ever state title with a 1:52.69. That’s a big leap from the 1:55.42 she swam for 2nd-place as a freshman last season. While the defending champion Tuva Siegel graduated, Monajjem’s time would have won last year’s meet too. That’s also true of the runner-up, junior Madison Wagner, who was 1:53.05. The top six finishers in this year’s race (including Emma Lindstrom from Glenwood Springs, who swam 1:53.83) are all underclassmen. In fact, only one senior (the aforementioned Franciscus from St. Mary’s) finished in the top 14.

Then in the final individual race of the meet, the first freshman championship of the meet, individual or relay, came from Liberty Commons’ Josie Stahl in the 100 breast. She swam 1:05.46. Her previous lifetime best of 1:06.98 was done in December; her best prior to this season was 1:07.60.

Gunnison’s Kailyn Japuntich won 1-meter diving with a score of 457.40, winning the 3A Diver of the Year honor. Her coach Meredith Clabaugh was named Dive Coach of the Year. Japuntich fought back after finishing runner-up by just 2.5 points last year – leaving nothing to chance, she won by 45.65 points this year.

Kent Denver’s Dea Mielenz was the runner-up this year after finishing 10th last year – a huge move up the standings.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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