THORNTON — The Kentucky Derby might be the fastest two minutes in sports, but it has nothing on swimming. If you blink you’ll miss the 50-yard freestyle, which lasts for only about 20 seconds.
During the boys’ 5A state swimming championships May 17 at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, Chatfield sophomore Santana Garcia swam a lightening 50 free with a time of 21.38, landing him in ninth place. Douglas County senior J.P. Beach took first with a time of 20.30. Just one second was the difference between first and ninth.
But the 50 free was only a precursor to Garcia’s true speed, which he dutifully showed in the 100 butterfly, clocking a time of 51.60, earning fifth place.
“Some days you wake up and you just have that feeling,” said Garcia. “And today I woke up and had the feeling that I was going to be fast.”
Quick off the blocks, Garcia kept pace through the first 25 yards, but then slightly disjointed turns allowed Fort Collins senior Maxwell Holter to take first with a time of 48.69. Garcia was proud to place fifth with a time that was nearly a full second faster than his time the day before in the preliminaries.
“Next year, I plan to be on the podium,” said Garcia through a mischievous smile.
“It’s tough because you have to push (yourself) really hard at prelims in order to get here today, but then it’s hard (to compete) because you’re exhausted,” said senior Kelly Huddleston.
Huddleston helped the 200 medley relay take 10th (1 minute, 39.06 seconds) and the 200 freestyle relay take eighth (1:28.05), as well as placing 12th in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:58.26.
Exhaustion, anxiety, and senioritis got to Chatfield senior diver Matt Jagiello, who took 12th with 391.70 points, the highest points he’s earned in the four years he’s competed at state.
Chatfield finished 13th with 74 points. Regis Jesuit ran away with the team title with 410 points. Cherry Creek was a distant second with 190.