Gillette senior Collin Baldacci put on quite a show at the Wyoming High School State Championships on Friday to end his high school career with a bang at the 4A (large school) championships.
This is a state that, while not excessively deep, has put out 1-2 really good swimmers in each high school class for the last few years, and the UNLV-Baldacci certainly fits that bill after his impressive performance in Gillette, following in the footsteps of swimmers like Cal swimmer Nick Dillinger.
Baldacci took a pair of individual wins in the meet, both of which were in State Record times. First went the 100 fly in 49.46, breaking a record set in 2011 by Rudi Hanekamp. Hanekamp swam at Indiana and is now returning to his home state to swim for Wyoming next season.
Then, he was a 49.24 in the 100 back to lower his own State Record for the second straight day. He was a 50.07 in prelims, and a 50.67 at last year’s state meet.
Baldacci’s ability to go under 50 seconds in both the 100 fly and the 100 back will give him a lot of possibilities for UNLV next season, where they’ve excelled with 100 meter strokers like All-American Cody Roberts. Best bet is that Baldacci will focus on the backstroke races in college primarily.
While the older Baldacci moves on, his younger brother Conner is excelling as a freshman. He was the highest-placing rookie in both the 200 free (1:52.16) and 500 free (5:05.69), showing bright potential for the future.
Connor Vasa won the 200 in 1:44.83, and sophomore Kayden Harbison won the 500 in 4:48.73 – the only swimmer under 5 minutes.
There’s another record breaker in Wyoming this season. Cheyenne Central’s Kyle White is destined to be the “it” guy in the Wyoming class of 2014, won the 100 free in 44.99. In prelims, though, he was a 44.76, making him the first swimmer in Wyoming high school history under 45 seconds. The old record belonged to the aforementioned Dillinger in 45.06. White also added a 2in in the 50 free with a 20.44.
Bouyed by White, Cheyenne Central were the meet champions over Baldacci’s Gillette team by score of 264.5-246, with Laramie placing 3rd. Former 6-time All-American Mark Miller is the head coach of Cheyenne Central.
- Laramie senior Clayton Larsen won the 200 IM in 1:58.13.
- Levi Jensen, a junior from Kelly Walsh high school, took the 100 breast in 57.64
- The Cheyenne Central team of White, Justin Hood, Brandon Troudt, and Justin Kovich took the 400 free relay in 3:14.38.
- Baldacci teamed with Noah Beaver, Andrew Apodaca, and Kory Knottnerus to win the 200 medley relay in 1:36.57.
- Baldacci and Beaver again, this time with David Bowersox and Brayden Ely took the 200 free relay in 1:27.11. White and Cheyenne Central were 2nd in 1:27.80.
Disclaimer: Baldacci has done some work, on a volunteer basis, with SwimSwam in the past.