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Individuals, relays shine in Aurora

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Chahbandour, Sowitch, G. Zinis help Mullen win 7 events at the smaller Smoky Hill Invitational. 

AURORA – Mullen won seven races on Saturday, one that set a meet record at an abbreviated Smoky Hill Invitational.

Cherry Creek, which has taken the most Colorado titles, finished first in the meet with 420 points, followed by Smoky Hill (292) and Mullen (240), but the Mustangs topped five individual events and two in relays.

In particular, Claire Chahbandour ruled the 100-yard breaststroke, winning in 1 minute, 4.10 seconds. The senior zipped past the previous meet mark, 1:04.98, set a year ago. Chahbandour, indicative of the Mustangs quality at the high end of their roster and a signee with TCU, also was a part of the 200 medley relay, along with Sahara Zurita, Lindsey Sowitch and Gabrielle Zinis, that took first in 1:50.08, and the 200 freestyle relay four (with Gabrielle Zinis, Zurita and Sowitch), tops in 1:42.27.

Chahbandour added another individual victory – in the 50 freestyle, setting the pace in 24.31.
Sowitch, too, shone individually. The senior won the 200 freestyle (1:55.60) and 100 butterfly (.58.69).

Sprinter and San Diego signee Gabrielle Zinis flew to first in the 100 freestyle (53.85) and runner-up in the 50 freestyle, right behind Chahbandour at 24.63.

Stella Zinia (seventh in 100 backstroke) and Jill Kulbacki (ninth in 200 IM) contributed individual placings and the 400 free relay (Kulbacki, Alyssa Terry, Grace Champagne and Stella Zinis) was fifth.

The cornavirus (COVID-19) and its resulting restrictions kept the meet to just three teams.

Next for Mullen is a Centennial league meet at Arapahoe on Thursday, Feb. 25, 5 p.m., the final dual before league championships (March 5-6), also at Arapahoe.
Team scores – Cherry Creek 420, Smoky Hill 292, Mullen 240.
Mustangs Race Results

200-yard Medley Relay – 1, Mullen (Sahara Zurita, Claire Chahbandour, Lindsey Sowitch, Gabrielle Zinis), 1 minute, 50.08 seconds.

200 Freestyle – 1, Lindsey Sowitch, 1:55.60.

200 Individual medley – 9, Jill Kulbacki, 2:37.53.

50 Freestyle – 1, Claire Chahbandour, 24.31; 2, Gabrielle Zinis, 24.63.

100 Butterfly – 1, Lindsey Sowitch, 58.69.

100 Freestyle – 1, Gabrielle Zinis, 53.85.

200 Freestyle Relay – 1, Mullen (Gabrielle Zinis, Claire Chahbandour, Sahara Zurita, Lindsey Sowitch),1:42.27.

100 Backstroke – 7, Stella Zinis, 1:05.86.

100 Breaststroke – 1, Claire Chahbandour, 1:04.10.

400 Freestyle Relay – 5, Mullen  (Jill Kulbacki, Alyssa Terry, Grace Champagne, Stella Zinis), 4:23.09.