Ogilby wins 500 freestyle title, Glenwood’s 200 free relay also golden at 3A state swimming championships | PostIndependent.com

Ogilby wins 500 freestyle title, Glenwood’s 200 free relay also golden at 3A state swimming championships

Madsen 2nd in 100 free, MacPherson 9th in 500 as Demons finish 6th in team competition

Glenwood Spring swimmer Amelie Ogilby swims in the girls 200 yard freestyle event Feb. 5 during the 2022 Southwest Conference Meet at the El Pomar Natatorium in the Colorado Mesa University campus.
Christopher Tomlinson/Grand Junction Sentinel Courtesy

No sooner was Amelie Ogilby out of the pool after winning a 3A state title in the 500 freestyle event Saturday than she was on the deck cheering her Glenwood Springs High School teammates to the school’s first-ever state relay title in the 200 freestyle relay.

The back-to-back events at the 3A State Swimming and Diving Championships proved golden for the Lady Demons at the Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center in Thornton, where several other top-10 event finishes over the two-day competition earned Glenwood a sixth-place overall team finish.

“It was a great day for the team, especially our senior swimmers who swam at finals,” longtime Demons head coach Steve Vanderhoof said.

In addition to Ogilby’s win — in a personal-best time of 5:05.61 — senior Ellie MacPherson took ninth in the 500 event with a personal best of her own, clocking out at 5:48.14.

Fellow senior Amy Madsen took second in the 100 freestyle and seventh in the 50 free, also with personal bests of 53.83 and 25.29, respectively; and MacPherson had a strong swim in the consolation finals of the 200 individual medley to place 18th in the event.

Ogilby added a fourth-place finish in the 200 free with another personal-best time of 1:58.96, and the Demons’ 400 freestyle relay team of Madsen, Ogilby, MacPherson and Sadie Hoiland was fifth (3:47.01).

“It feels really good, because last year I got out-touched (in the 500), so that just made me want it even more,” Ogilby said, comparing Saturday’s victory to her third-place finish in the 500 event as a freshman. “That was a goal of mine to not let that happen again.”

It was close, though, as she had to hold off Discovery Canyon’s Madison Wagner down the stretch. Wagner finished less than a fifth of a second back at 5:05.78 to take second.

“That gave me a scare, for sure,” said Ogilby, who was in the lane next to Wagner. “She came in after preliminaries with a faster time than me, so I knew I had my work cut out.”

Not only that, eventual third-place finisher Elsa Fullerton of Liberty Common was fresh off a win in the 200 free and hungry for another gold medal.

“My coach wanted me to get out fast and then make my move halfway through,” Ogilby said. She had a good lead coming off the final turn, which was a good thing because Wagner made up almost a full body length to close.

The biggest surprise of the day for the Demons came when Madsen, sophomores Hoiland and Adelyn Newton and junior Anna Thornton teamed up to win the 200 freestyle relay.

The win also came in a new school record time of 1:41.79, breaking the previous record of 1:42.45 set in 2016 by Hannah Peterson, Hannah Stinson, Jessica Tuttle and Kendall Vanderhoof.

After Madsen, Newton and Hoiland swam a full body length ahead of the rest of the field through 150 yards, Thornton held off some of the fastest sprinters in the state to give the Lady Demons their first-ever state relay championship.

“This relay win and record breaking swim was really unexpected,” Vanderhoof said. “This year, as in most years, due to the placement of the relays in the event list, we try to focus on the medley relay and the 400 free relay.”

However, with standout junior swimmer Bennett Jones not able to swim at the state meet due to Colorado High School Activities Association school transfer rules (she formerly swam for Aspen), the Demons were missing a strong butterfly leg in the medley.

“So, after much discussion, coach Becky Joslin and I decided to change course and move Madsen to the free relay lead-off position, and magic happened,” Vanderhoof said.

Ogilby’s win in the 500 free wasn’t unexpected since she entered state as the top qualifier in the event, but it was certainly extra icing on the cake, he said.

“She trains with a passion that you do not see that often,” Vanderhoof said. “Anticipating how the 500 race would transpire, we developed a race plan, and Amelie followed it to perfection, resulting in a state title.”

The 2021-22 version of the Lady Demons swim team was the most senior-laden in some time, with nine seniors set to graduate this year, including state qualifiers Madsen, MacPherson, Ella Lindenberg and Emma Price.

Glenwood’s depth has been helped by being able to draw from multiple schools that don’t have swimming programs, including Ogilby and Jones from Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, as well as a contingent of athletes from Roaring Fork High School and Eagle Valley schools.

Other top-20 finishes for the Demons at state included: 200 medley relay, 10th (MacPherson, Thornton, Ogilby, Adelyn Newton, Alexa Helms) Adelyn Newton, 9th 200 free, 12th 100 backstroke; Sophie Price, 16th 500 free; Anna Moon, 20th 500 free.

Evergreen repeated as 3A state champion in the team competition, followed by Discovery Canyon, St. Mary’s Academy, Liberty Common, Holy Family, Glenwood Springs, Pueblo County, Aspen, Salida and Thompson Valley to round out the top 10.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

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