Following in the footsteps of the Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan 20-yard pool throwdown last year, Kevin Murphy was inspired to try the same with his Southlake Carroll High School team.
He went on a quest for the most recent lists of high school records available, and with some help from Paul Torno at NISCA (the man behind the National Dual Meet rankings) came up with the 1972 College Swimming Guide as the best bet.
And so Murphy called up the coaches in the nearby Keller Independent School District, and proposed a battle of sorts. In a 20-yard pool, going after some unofficial records, his defending Texas 5A State Champions would face an all-star team from the four high schools in Keller ISD.
“I grew up in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a number of our meets, especially in Tulsa, were in 20 yard pools,” Murphy said of his own swimming history. ” We always added 1 second to our 100 times to ‘convert’ to the 25-yard pool. I even swam in a dual meet for Oklahoma State, in the old Nebraska 20 yard pool, around the Fall of 1974, before they built a new pool in 1975 or 1976.”
Editor’s Note: the Devaney Center Natatorium opened in 1976. RIP, Nebraska and Oklahoma State men’s teams.
“So, the 20 yard pool is a little nostalgic for me, personally,” Murphy continued. “When Michigan did their meet last year, I was up for the idea right away for our high school team to get a little variation and excitement for our kids.
“I hope our kids enjoy an extra turn and the excitement and challenge of going after some ‘old’ National HS records, from a time gone by. The actual meet, itself, should present some exciting races, between Carroll HS and all four Keller schools combined into an All-Star Team, to drive, even further, the establishment of some “new” old records.
“After all, a 400 free instead of a 500, a 60 free instead of a 50 free, 160 relays, with 40 yard splits, and of course, 5 lengths and four turns on the 100’s, should, in and of itself, be interesting and exciting and motivating to our swimmers.”
In 1972, girls’ national high school records weren’t kept, so the boys are the only ones that will have good benchmarks in their meet. Those benchmarks are pretty impressive at that: names like Don Schollander, who has the 200 free record in 1:44.3, are in the old book.
There’s a good lineup of swimmers who will be going after those marks, including Texas commit Jonathan Roberts. He’s already been 4:26.3 in a high school meet in the 500 this season (in a 25-yard pool).
Other All-Americans competing at this meet include Connor Dobbs, Rebecca Upton, and Emily Gibson for the Carroll Dragons, and Laura Norman of Keller High School (a Texas A&M commit).
As for the logistics, the Carroll Aquatic Center has movable bulkheads, and North Texas Nadadores Head Coach (and the school district’s Aquatics Director) Bill Christensen had new stainless steel threaded holes installed to ensure that this meet could happen.
The hosts will hook in 25 yard lane ropes and wrap the excess under the bulkhead. The backstroke flags at one end of the pool will be another 1970’s-style throwback: on poles in a concrete bucket. Murphy joked that he’s glad they “wont have to use the same ‘rope and buoy’ lane ropes,” or the “flat wooden starting blocks that we used ‘back in the day’ of the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Though the meet’s organizers will have little control over any sort of official national recognition, they do plan to certify them as official Carroll Aquatics Center pool records.
The distance probably won’t be certified, but Murphy says he’s confident that it will be accurate within a quarter-of-an-inch.
On more of a meta-scale, this is sort of a new turn for the wave of creativity in swimming led by people like Michigan coach Mike Bottom. High school meets are usually very structured, very rigorous, and quite unforgiving. To see these sorts of sparks coming up in high school competition means that the revolution is starting to really take hold and seep down to the roots and lifeblood of the sport: the junior ranks. Just as Bottom’s creativity and leadership led the Michigan men to the NCAA Championship last year, it should perhaps come as little surprise that Murphy’s Carroll teams have had such great success as well.
Meet Format, times, and logistics
four relays per Team (4 boys relays and 4 girls relays)
eight individual entries per Team (8 individual boys and 8 individual girls)
*only 4 entries per Team in 400 free
8 lane scoring Relays 10-5-3-0 (max two scoring relays per Team)
Warm-up will begin at 5:15 pm
Meet begins at 6:00 pm
Diving will run, concurrently, both warm-up and competition, with the swim portion of the meet.
The records, as they stood in 1972.
60 free 26.8 David Nelson, Jeff Jackman, Stephen Job
100 free 46.6 Steven Clark
200 free 1:44.3 Don Schollander
400 free 3:46.5 William Baird
100 breast 59.3 Stuart Issac
100 fly 52.8 Fred Schmidt
100 back 54.5 Roger Goettsche
160 IM 1:34.2 Mark Crogham
160 free relay 1:08.0 New Trier
400 free relay 3:17.2 New Trier
160 medley Relay 1:16.9 New Trier
400 medley relay 3:42.2 New Trier (not to be swam this meet)