RACE VIDEO: Spencer Nicholas Breaks 100 Fly Public HS Record Twice, Clocks 45.08 Title Win


Race video of UVA commit Spencer Nicholas‘ national public high school record in the 100-yard fly has been released. Nicholas first dropped 0.69s off his former 46.13 personal best to crack Aiden Hayes‘ former public HS record of 45.47 with 45.44 in prelims. He followed up in finals by resetting his own national record time at 45.08 to win his 3rd-consecutive event state title. The national private/indepedent and unofficial overall HS record stands at 44.97, set by Scotty Buff in February 2023.

In less than 24 hours, Nicholas shaved 1.05s off his previous PB to solidify the national public HS record to his name at 45.08. Back at the 2023 Winter Juniors East, Nicholas placed 3rd at 46.13, splitting 21.64/24.99. Fast forward two months, Nicholas found how to slice a whole second off his closing 50 (23.98), plus 0.18s change off his first 50 (21.46), to crack 46 seconds for the first time at 45.44 at TISCA prelims.

Into 2024 TISCA finals, Nicholas blasted out 20.99, a tenth faster than current overall HS record holder Buff’s 21.09 opener. While former public HS record holder Hayes opened in 21.08, he closed in 24.39, four-tenths slower than Nicholas’ second 50 (24.9). Nicholas was up 0.11s, though, on his closing 50 at 24.09. Buff closed in 23.88, 0.11s faster than Nicholas’ best closing 50 from TISCA prelims. That 0.11s is also same difference Nicholas’ 45.08 total time is off Buff’s 44.97 overall record.

Comparative 100 Fly Splits

Scotty Buff, Feb 2023 Overall HS Record Spencer Nicholas, Feb 2024 Public HS Record Spencer Nicholas, Feb 2024 Former Record Aiden Hayes, 2021 OK HS State
Spencer Nicholas, Dec 2023 Former PB
50 21.09 20.99 21.46 21.08 21.64
100 23.88 (44.97) 24.09 (45.08) 23.98 (45.44) 24.39 (45.47) 24.99 (46.13)

Race Video Analysis

As mentioned earlier, Nicholas dropped 1.05s off his 100 fly personal best in two months. While dominating the national public HS record time by four-tenths, there still is room to improve from the 0.08s off cracking 45 seconds, let alone the 0.11s that were shy of breaking Buff’s overall record. Luckily, there is race video not just of Nicholas’ 45.08 swim, but also his former 46.13 PB from December 2023, as well as Buff’s overall 44.97 HS record. Below are the video links, starting with Nicholas’ 45.08 public HS record for reference, followed by Nicholas’ 46.13 and Buff’s 44.97.

Rewind a year ago, Buff’s sub-45 100 fly overall national HS mark video immediately hit social media. One clear difference with Buff’s race, in comparison to Nicholas’ race a year later, is that Buff had established breathing by every other stroke. Just as Caeleb Dressel has notoriously performed, Buff pulled out an entire n0-breath last 25 to crack 45 seconds. Nicholas, despite cleaning up his breakouts from Dec 2023 to Feb 2024, still had not consistently executed strict no-breath breakouts in his TISCA finals effort.

Comparing how Nicholas improved in roughly two months, he took five less breaths in his faster race. At TISCA, Nicholas kept his head down off the first two breakouts, then popped up to breathe on the remaining two. Coincidentally, he did swim his last 25 at TISCA almost identically to his Winter Juniors swim, hitting seven strokes, breathing every stroke until putting his head down for the last three.

Contrastingly, Buff had taken eight less strokes and ten less breaths than Nicholas’ fastest 100 fly effort. Looking at underwaters, Nicholas was only streamlining to roughly halfway (12.5 yards) each 25 in both his race videos. Buff, on the other hand, routinely smacked 15-meter underwaters.

100 Fly Stroke/Breath Comparison

Strokes Breaths
Scotty Buff 44.97, Feb 2023 4/4/5/5 = 16 2/2/2/0 = 6
Spencer Nicholas 45.44, Dec 2023 6/6/6/7 = 25 5/6/6/4 = 21
Spencer Nicholas 45.08, Feb 2024 5/6/6/7 = 24 4/5/5/4 = 16

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12 days ago

BTW Georgia 10th grader William (Baylor) Stanton just swam 46.7 in the 100 back at the GA HS champs. He should be the first high schooler to go 44 in the 100 in the next year or two.

He’ll probably take down the 2 IM as well after swimming 1:44.

12 days ago

Swimming a 45 100 fly in high school is amazing.
Its fascinating how Spencer Nicholas has unbelievably quick under waters and a high distance per stroke.

13 days ago

Why u guys always got the lowest quality videos 😭

Reply to  LPT
12 days ago

watch the one deeper down the page and not at the top. The top one only gave me 240p but the lower one I could toggle to HD.

Swim Alchemist
13 days ago

Looks very similar to Zhang Yufei’s butterfly technique in my opinion, just with more breathing (maybe due to it being SCY vs LCM).

13 days ago

WOW! Scotty going 2/2/2/0 enroute to a 44.97 is likely one of the most outrageous HS stats I’ve ever seen.
Stoke count 4/4/5/5 is impressive.

13 days ago

The voices on the video are the best!

13 days ago

I can’t really tell where his strength is from this angle. He didn’t use all 15 m off the walls but his tempo was quite high and his in and out of walls was great.

13 days ago

Gonna be dirty in LCM

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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