When watching a college meet, it’s fairly routine to see a men’s 400 free relay break the three minute barrier.
At high school meet’s, however, it’s less common. Much less common, in fact. It had never happened before until yesterday’s prelims of the Illinois High School State Championships, when Winnetka’s New Trier High School broke the National Mark with a 2:59.76.
The group of Sam Skinner, Reed Malone, Jack Mangan, and Max Grodecki broke through the barrier at Evanston High School. They also broke the State Record, previously set by the same program at the 2009 meet, by a relay that included Cal swimmer Sam Metz.
New Trier’s 200 free relay also approached the national record in the 200 free relay as well in prelims, with a 1:22.92. That’s eight-tenths short of the all-time high school mark in that event as well.
This state meet, where New Trier is trying to win back-to-back titles to mark the 100-year anniversary of their broader swimming organization, had an incredibly fast preliminary session on Friday. Aside from the relay, Stanford commit Danny Thomson crushed his State Record with a 4:19.28 to take the top seed. He barely held off Malone who was 2nd in 4:19.38. Malone is only a junior, and that time cuts 6 seconds off of his previous best – he could be the breakout star in the class of 2013.
A great battle is also brewing in the 200 free. Sean Lehane of Naperville Central swam a 1:38.96, and Thomson swam a 1:38.97 to take the top two seeds. That should set up a huge battle in finals.
More recaps after finals. Full prelims results available here.