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Mustangs impressive in pool, take 5th at Smoky Hill meet

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen finished fifth on Saturday at the 27th Smoky Hill Girls Swimming and Diving Meet in Aurora, a large improvement from past seasons.

Heritage won with 438 points. Next were Smoky Hill (410), Douglas County Co-Op (299), Cherokee Trail (288) and Mullen (286).

“Oh, my gosh, we did great!” a pleased Mustangs head coach Susan Stone said. “I probably had the smallest team there, just eight kids. It’s the quality. Coaches were complimenting me and saying it was unbelievable. ‘You did that with eight girls?’”

Mullen took just one first place, but was able to score through a series of placings to challenge.

The Mustangs’ 200-yard freestyle relay team of Gabrielle Zinis, Lindsey Sowitch, Claire Chahbandour, Sofia Zinis won in 1 minute, 40.64 seconds.

Sowitch, a freshman, also finished second in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 100 free in addition to helping the 200 medley relay team take fourth.

“She swam with fierceness and determination and wanted to win,” Stone said.

In addition, she said, “at the end of the meet, we don’t usually swim the last relay and I leave as soon as possible because we were always last or second-to-last in the team standings. But I stayed to the end and probably 30 minutes after the event because I was so excited about it. It was great.”

All told, the Mustangs have qualified 11 competitors for the state meet.

This week, they will have two dual meets, on Tuesday at Grandview, 5 p.m., and Thursday at Cherry Creek, 5 p.m.



Team scores: 1. Heritage 438 points; 2. Smoky Hill 410; 3. Douglas County Co-op 299; 4. Cherokee Trail 288;  5. Mullen 286; 6. Chatfield 274; 7. George Washington 268; 8. Legend 249; 9. Liberty 231; 10. Eaglecrest 99; 11. Chaparral 87; 12 Smoky Hill Red; 13. Ponderosa 46; 14. Denver South 38; 15. Smoky Hill Green 34.

200-yard medley relay: A Final — 1. Heritage, 1 minute, 47.81 seconds (meet record, previous 1:48.04 set by Heritage in 2017); 2. Douglas County, 1:49.72; 3. Smoky Hill; 4. Mullen (Micaela Clode, Claire Chahbandour, Lindsey Sowitch, Sofia Zinis), 1:53.17; 5. Cherokee Trail, 1:53.42; 6. Legend, 1:53.54.

200 freestyle: A Final — 1. Natalie Rotondo, Smoky Hill, 1:56.24; 2. M. Kroening (Douglas Co.), 1:56.64; Maddie Wilson (Cherokee Trail), 2:00.94; 4. CJ Mitchell (Heritage), 2:03.84; 5. T. Serocki (Heritage), 2:04.96; Blyhte Iverson (Smoky Hill), 2:05.05.

200 individual medley: A Final — 1. M. Robben (Smoky Hill), 2:10.33; 2. Lindsey Sowitch (Mullen), 2:11.96; 3. K. Shanley (Chatfield), 2:15.82; 4. E. Shumate (Douglas Co.), 2:15.84; 5. M. Mitchell (Heritage), 2:16.43; 6. S. Moden (Legend), 2:20.80.

50 freestyle: A Final — 1. A. Shaw (Heritage), 24.44; 2. C. Linton (Legend), 24.71; 3. E. Kahn (Geo. Wash.), 25.18; 4. M. Mulvihill (Chatfield), 25.29; 5. Sofia Zinis (Mullen), 25.37; 6. C. Neid (Geo. Wash.), 24.54.

1-meter diving: A Final — 1. L. Hammar (Denver South), 458.05 points; 2. Jaclyn Santiago (Smoky Hill), 437.20; 3. Christie Yee (Cherokee Trail), 386.80; 4. S. Brown (Ponderosa), 386.35; 5. Juliana Zinis (Mullen), 386.00; 6. N.  Quirk (Liberty), 374.55.

100 butterfly: A Final — 1. K. Andrews (Heritage), 56.60; 2. E. Litteken (Douglas Co.), 56.81; N. Rotondo (Smoky Hill), 59.28; 4. M. Kroening (Douglas Co.), 59.33; C. Agee-Keys (Cherokee Trail), 1:00.27; 6. P. Feeder (Legend), 1:01.96.

100 freestyle: A Final — 1. A. Shaw (Heritage), 52.81; 2. C. Linton (Legend), 55.19; 3. E. Kahn (Geo. Wash.), 55.25; 4. Lindsey Sowitch (Mullen), 55.55; 5. G. Roehr (Liberty), 56.22; 6. K. Power (Smoky Hill), 56.48.

500 freestyle: A Final — K. Shanley (Chatfield), 5:03.53 (meet record, previous 5:04.44 set by Shanley in prelims); 2. B. Iverson (Smoky Hill), 5:29.55; 3. B. Miller (Liberty), 5:36.68; 4. K. Graham (Geo. Wash.), 5:38.08; 5. V. Liu (Smoky Hill), 5:44.32; 6. M. Smith (Geo. Wash.), 5:48.24.

200 freestyle relay: A Final — 1. Mullen, 1:40.64 (Gabrielle Zinis, Lindsey Sowitch, Claire Chahbandour, Sofia Zinis), 2. Douglas Co., 1:40.80; 3. Chatfield, 1:42.70; 4. Heritage, 1:42.76; 5. George Washington, 1:43.39; 6. Smoky Hill, 1:44.48.

100 backstroke: A Final — 1. E. Litteken (Douglas Co.), 56.05 seconds; 2. K. Andrews (Heritage), 56.27; 3. L. Hunt (Heritage), 58.82; 4. Micaela Clode (Mullen), 1:01.96; 5. M. Mai (Cherokee Trail), 1:04.18; 6. K. Domashevich (Smoky Hill), 1”05.43.

100 breaststroke: A Final — 1. M. Robben (Smoky Hill), 1:06.91; 2. B. Walton (Smoky Hill), 1:08.08; 3. C. Chahbandour (Mullen), 1:08.83; 4. E. Shumate (Douglas Co.), 1:09.60; 5. M. Mitchell (Heritage), 1:09.98; 6. M. Deevy (Heritage), 1:10.83.

400 yard freestyle relay: A Final — 1. Heritage, 3:37.11 (meet record - previous 3:38.53 set by Heritage in 2017) (pool record - previous best Cherry Cerek 3:37.48 in 2011); 2. Chatfield, 3:42.35; 3. Smoky Hill, 3:44.11;  4. Legend, 3:45.48; 5. George Washington, 3:48.00; 6. Cherokee Trail, 3:49.24.

Swim and dive gaining lengths in the pool

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Having come a long way in four seasons, Mullen girls swimmers and divers took another step forward on Thursday.

On senior night held at Smoky Hill in Aurora – it’s how it is when the team doesn’t have its own pool – the Mustangs went down to the Buffaloes 108-74 in a dual meet as they continue to inch within some of the regular Class 5A powers.

“That’s really good for us,” Mustangs head coach Susan Stone said. “I mean, we’re getting closer to these good teams, 108-74, that’s really good and we’re getting closer to the best.”

Four years ago, Mullen had 13 competitors on the team. This season, Stone had to make cuts. With a roster full of underclassmen, Mullen has qualified 11 entrants for next month’s 4A state meet. It may be the Mustangs’ maximum number, Stone said, but their work continues.

On Thursday, Mullen had firsts in two relays and freshman Lindsay Sowitch won the 100-yard butterfly. She was clocked in 1 minute, 1.76 seconds. Behind Micaela Clode, Claire Chahbandour, Sowitch and Sofia Zinis, the Mustangs were first in the 200 medley relay (1:54.00). Chahbandour, Sowitch, Gabrielle Zinis and Sofia Zinia finished first in the 200 freestyle relay (1:44.46).

“They’re doing great,” Stone said.

Prior to the holiday break, she added, they provided a reasonable performance against Cherokee Trail. And they will be at the same pool on Saturday for the Smoky Hill Invitational, a 13-tschool outlay that also will include Chaparral, Chatfield, Cherokee Trail, Denver South, Douglas County, Eaglecrest, Heritage, Legend, Liberty, Ponderosa and George Washington.


Mullen shows well at Coaches Invitational swim

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

There were multiple state-qualifying efforts and an 11-year-old school record that fell against most of the best that Colorado has to offer.

So, yes, Mullen girls swimmers and divers enjoyed a big Saturday at the Colorado Coaches Invitational at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton both individually and as a team.

“They did great,” head coach Susan Stone said.

The Mustangs finished fifth in the Class 4A team portion. Rampart (194) led all 4A competitors. Valor Christian (174), Heritage (166.50) and Niwot (99) also were ahead of the Mustangs (83) in the mid-range.

Individually and in relays, the Mustangs had a lot to share. Gabriella Zinis, Grace Hicks, Taylor Nielson, Rachel Rowland, Anarose Schwamm and Emma Linn added to the Mustangs’ growing list of qualifiers for February’s state championships.

And the clear highlight was the Mustangs’ 200-yard freestyle relay team of Gabriella Zinis, Lindsay Sowitch, Claire Chahbandour and Sofa Zinis, who finished fourth, the highest spot for a 4A team. Better yet, they were clocked in 1 minute, 40.29 seconds to eclipse the 2006 mark of 1:40.35.

But there was more. Sofia Zinis turned in a 24.72 effort in the 50 free. Sowitch was 14th in the 200 individual medley in 2:13.26. And Chahbandour was 15th in the 100 breast, 1:09.71.

In the 5A team chase, it was again about the regular powers. At the top, Fairview (381) got past Fort Collins’ Fossil Ridge (303) as well as Centennial League foes Cherry Creek (218) and Arapahoe (212).

The Mustangs’ effort came a few days after they handled Eaglecrest 117-69 in a dual meet. Including junior varsity, Mullen won 19-of-24 races and took first in diving.

Next up is a dual meet on Thursday at Cherokee Trail in Aurora, 5 p.m. It will be Mullen’s final competition before heading into the holiday break.

Mustangs swim past Overland in dual meet

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen girls swimmers and divers recently cruised past Overland in a dual meet for girls swimming and diving.

The Mustangs won 109-52 and won 11 of the 12 races.

In relays, the Mustangs’ Micalea Clode, Claire Chahbandour, Lindsay Sowitch and Sofia Zinis  were tops in the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 59.49 seconds. Gabriella Zinis, Sowitch, Chahbandour and Sofia Zinis won the 200 free in 1:47.08. Those four also won the 400 free relay in 3:57.86.

Individually, Taylor Nielson won the 200 freestyle, 2:12.75; Gabriela Zinis, 50 free, 27.62; Juliana Zinis, diving, 204.65 points; Taylor Nielsen, 100 free, 1:00.83; ; Chahbandour, 100 breast, 1:12.92; Sofi Zinis, 100 back, 1:05.40; Rachel Rowland, 500 free, 5:50.25; and Sowitch, 100 fly, 1:03.70.

Anarose Schwamm was second in the 200 individual medley, 2:30.71.

It’s early, but Mustangs doing swimmingly well

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Girls swimmers and divers are emerging for Mullen at the outset of the winter season.

A couple of days after showing well in a loss in a dual meet at Arapahoe by qualifying nine competitors for the state meet, the Mustangs turned in another strong effort in a multi-team gathering.

At the Intra State 8 meet at Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village on Saturday, the Mustangs finished fifth of eight teams, compiling 58 points. Cherokee Trail was tops with 97. Next were: Rock Canyon 87.5, Highlands Ranch (76) and Cherry Creek (75). Legend (48) and Heritage (43.5) were behind the Mustangs.

“I’m happy with that, very happy with that,” Mustangs head coach Susan Stone said. “We even had a girl (turn) sick and we had to scratch two events, so we only swam in 10 of the 12 events.”

However, Mullen’s biggest news surrounds individuals. With Micaela Clode, Claire Chahbandour, Sofia Zinis and Gabriella Zinis, the Mustangs opened the meet by taking second in the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 57.19 seconds, and the four also finished third in the 200 freestyle relay (1:48.47). Both were state-qualifying efforts.

Gabriella Zinis was third in the 50 freestyle (26.75) and second in the 100 free (57.67), and Julianna Zinis fourth in diving (183.10 points).

Sofia Zinis was fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:04.65). Lindsay Sowitch managed third in the 500 free (5:34.19).

All told, Mullen had nine state-qualifying performances in the Thursday meet against Arapahoe and added a couple more on Saturday.

To date and by doing it in multiple events, Hicks, Gabriella Zinis, Chahbandour, Sowitch, Anarose Schwamm and Juliana Zinis have earned extra swimming and diving for February.

“The kids are doing great,” Stone said.

The Mustangs resume their meet schedule on Thursday, when they will take on Overland at Cherokee Trail.


Everyone’s in the pool: swim numbers up for Mustangs

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Into her third year heading Mullen girls swimming and diving, Susan Stone began as an assistant coach during the 2013-14 season.

And it was quite different.

Pickings were slim. According to Stone, the Mustangs had all of 13 girls on the team and advanced only one to the state meet 

However, times change and so did the fortunes of the Mustangs. Last season, Stone said she had 56 girls on the team and eight qualified for state.

Better yet, there were 70 hopefuls cleared to try out for 2017-18, so many that she said she had to make cuts.

As a result, Stone called her team’s outlook “very good.”

In fact, Stone said, “we have four freshmen who are, hopefully, all-state swimmers and that’s very exciting.”

The Mustangs’ top returnee is Sofia Zinis, a junior who surpassed the school mark of 24.76 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle last year by being clocked in 24.59.

Others to watch include: Rachel Rowland, a sophomore; Anarose Schwamm, another sophomore; junior Emma Linn; junior Micaela Clode; and senior Grace Hicks. Plus, there’s diver Julianna Zinis, a returning state qualifier.

As usual, Mullen will go up against a Class 5A schedule that includes some of the best in Colorado, notably perennial power Cherry Creek and Arapahoe, a regular challenger, in the always demanding Centennial League.

Of note, the Mustangs will open their season on Nov. 30 at Arapahoe, an away meet. It will be a common theme. Their home pool is the nearby Athmar Recreation Center on West Mexico Avenue and part of the reason Stone had to make cuts. Handling the new volume is key and all Mullen meets will continue to be on the road.

A meet with Cherry Creek will be on Dec. 2. The Coaches Invitational will be at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton on Dec. 16. The Smoky Hill Invitational will be Jan. 13 and the A League meet in early February.

Mullen will be in the 4A state meet from Feb. 9-10 at the VMAC and will double up the first day with the second day of the 3A meet.



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