Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. A National High School Record, set by one of the great high school swimmers of all time, stands firm for years, then all of a sudden is absolutely assaulted multiple times in a few years: by seniors, underclassmen, and everyone in between.
Rachel Bootsma of Eden Prarie High School in suburban Minneapolis became the second swimmer in as many seasons to break the overall National High School Record in the 100 backstroke, as well as the third swimmer in the same time period to break the public school mark.
Her mark of 51.5 from the Minnesota High School League Championships knocks off the 51.85 Cindy Tran, out of California’s Edison High School, set last May. Prior to that performance by Tran, Natalie Coughlin’s mark had withstood the techsuit era, advances in backstroke technique, and advances in training methodologies since 1998. Her previous mark of 52.86 now seems like a distant memory.
Bootsma’s time stands 8th on the all-time list, and to make things even more exciting she’s only a junior. This means she will likely lower this mark again next year, if sophomore Missy Franklin out of Colorado, who is quickly becoming a household name, doesn’t beat her to it. By the time these two are done with high school, don’t be surprised if this mark dips down into the vaunted 50-second range.
Bootsma also took a shot at Misty Hyman’s 100 fly record, which has stood even longer (since 1996), and is the only record on the books that still starts with a “199”. Bootsma did end up easily breaking the Minnesota all-time state record in a time of 52.73 (Hyman’s time is 52.41), and she could make a run at the all-time mark next season.
Bootsma also teamed up with her sister Katie, a senior, 8th grader Sarah Coolidge, and sophomore Ellie Suek to break the Minnesota All-Time mark in the 200 medley relay, with a time of 1:44.80. Though this was still miles off of the National record of 1:40.80 set in techsuits in 2009, with such a young group, they have an outside chance of rattling that mark next season. In that relay, the (Rachel) Bootsma actually deferred to her older sister and swam the breaststroke leg in a none-too shabby split of 27.94.