When Texas coach Eddie Reese went out looking for his recruiting class of 2013, he had a pretty clear focus on butterfliers. That was obvious from number of butterfliers he signed (William Glass is a 47, Chris Scheaffer is a 48-low, Jack Conger was a 46.15 in USA Swimming competition.
But in prelims of the Colorado 5A High School Sate Championship meet on Friday, a real star emerged among them: Regis Jesuit’s Clark Smith. He swam a 46.54 in the 100 yard fly to take the top seed by three-and-a-half-seconds. That broke Mark Dylla’s State Record of 48.23 from 2007.
It also puts him within .04 shy of the record set by Bolles junior Joe Schooling earlier this season in Florida that is the overall and private school National High School Record.
Smith, who is swimming two individual events this year and just two relays, as compared to one and three last season, also took the top seed in the 200 free with a 1:40.27. He is followed very closely there by Cherry Creek sophomore Samuel Coffman (1:40.30) and Ponderosa senior Carter Griffin (1:40.67).
The Regis Jesuit boys, who own this Colorado large-school meet and have won 17 out of the last 18, had a lot of great swims in prelims. In the 200 IM, junior Hennessey Stuart took the top seed in 1:49.78, followed by a pair from Loveland Nick Hatanaka and Pat Jones. Jake Markham, brother of four-time SEC Champion Jared at Georgia, is the 4th seed.
Minnesota commit Daryl Turner took the top seed in the 50 free in 20.11, which also breaks a State Record. The old mark of 20.16 was held by his fellow Cherry Creek swimmer Josh Delcore from back in 1990.
Turner’s second entry was in the 100 backstroke, where he was the second seed behind Stuart. Both swimmers were under Turner’s old State Record, with Hennessey taking the top seed in 47.80 and Turner 2nd in 47.93.
Without the sprinter Turner, the top seed in the 100 free Miles MacKenzie from Fairfiew is the top seed in 46.06. Kyle Hentschel and Samuel Coffman were tied for the 2nd seed in 46.36, and Unter Bains and John Mattern were 4th and 5th, not far behind either.
The other top seeded individual is Hatanaka in the 100 breaststroke with a 54.68. Mattern took the 2nd seed in that race in 56.62.
They Cherry Creek men, led by Turner, Markham, and Mattern, hold the top seed in the 200 medley relay in 1:30.53, with a Smith-less Regis Jesuit relay 2nd in 1:32.13. Stuart did lead them off in a blazing 22.45 backstroke split, however. Arapahoe took the top seed in the 200 free relay in 1:24.58, with a 20.58 anchor from Hentschel, and Regis was again 2nd.
In the session-ending 400 free relay, Cherry Creek put up a stellar 3:04.55 for the top seed, including a 44.0 leadoff leg from Turner. They’ll be chased byhree teams tomorrow: Fairview and Arapahoe, who were 3:05.64 and 3:05.65, respectively.
Regis Jesuit is 4th in that relay, but the secret to Jesuit’s finals session is that they didn’t use their star Clark Smith in any of them. There may have been a small factor of “resting” him, but what this really allows them to do is choose which two relays he will be most valuable in. Knowing that they were the only team with the depth to final all three relays without using their best swimmer is a huge advantage.
It would seem, on paper, that the 400 free relay is a natural choice for Smith’s services. As far as which second relay, it’s a tough decision. If they add him to their 200 free relay, it would almost surely give them a win. If they added him to the 200 medley, it would still leave the win in jeopardy. In the 200 free relay, they could win it even without him, but they could also easily slide a spot or two (or three). This should be an interesting decision for Regis Jesuit coach Mike Doherty, though the team title shouldn’t be too heavily affected one way or the other.