Fair's heat win the highlight for District 51 at state swim meet
After Tyler Fair won his heat in the 100 breaststroke, District 51 boys swimming coach Jessica Haley nearly fell in the pool while cheering.
After one of her assistants hoisted her from the pool, soaked from the knees down in water, Haley couldn’t stop smiling.
To her, it was the ultimate underdog story. With three individual qualifiers, District 51 had fewer swimmers in the entire Class 5A State Swimming and Diving Championships than some teams had in a single event.
So, as seven overall state event records and nine total records were shattered Friday night at El Pomar Natatorium, it was the little wins that counted most for the Griffins.
Two relay teams won preliminary heats, and Fair clinched a second alternate spot in the 100 breaststroke consolation finals in what Haley said was the strongest showing for the District 51 squad at a state meet.
“It comes down to small victories,” Haley said. “It comes down to Western Slope (Championships), and I told them, that’s where we want to win our championships. But when we’re here, when they win their heat, it’s like they won the state championship. It’s huge.
“I gave them that quote from Yoda: ‘No more training do you require.’ It’s about having fun.”
Part of having fun for District 51 was marveling at record-breaking performances. Cherry Creek broke the 200 medley relay record, with Daryl Turner leading off. The University of Minnesota recruit and Olympic hopeful also set the state record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 20.11, and he broke the 100 freestyle state record while leading off a record-breaking 400 freestyle relay.
“Daryl is going to do phenomenal in the 100 backstroke,” Haley said. “That Cherry Creek 200 medley relay is going to be fun to watch, too. I’m a Daryl Turner fan, and I think he will also break 20 seconds in the 50 free.
“It’s crazy seeing all these guys breaking all these records. Most of them are just swimming to make the top 16, so it will be crazy to see how they swim tomorrow.”
Loveland’s Nick Hatanaka broke the state record in the 100 breaststroke, and Regis Jesuit’s Hennessey Stuart broke the 100 backstroke mark. The Raiders picked up another record when Clark Smith crushed the 100 butterfly record by almost two seconds with a time of 46.54.
Littleton High School broke the 200 freestyle relay record only to see Arapahoe High School top it by six-hundreths of second.
Despite finishing 48th in the 500 freestyle preliminaries, District 51 senior Logan Young said the opportunity to swim with and watch some of the top talent in the state was the best way to end his career.
“It’s great to see the caliber of swimming that is available to swim against,” Young said. “It’s so cool. To see that speed at our pool is phenomenal. It gives you something to strive for.”