BOULDER — There was a deep set of swimmers competing at the 2016 Class 5A boys swimming state championships but only one swimmer who won multiple state titles in individual events.
That swimmer was Fairview's Michael Zarian.
The Knights junior touched first in both the 500-yard freestyle for the second straight year and picked up his first state championship in the 200 individual medley to lead the Fairview boys to a fourth-place team finish. For his individual dominance and ability to help lift the Knights into the top five, Zarian is the BoCoPreps.com Boys Swimmer of the Year.
"We had a really great season," Zarian said. "We had a lot of different highlights. Everyone swam really great against Boulder and we ended up winning that one. We didn't have a BoCo swim meet this year so we focused on the Mustang Invite, which we won and we had a lot of new state qualifiers there. We were really pumped up to swim fast at state and we ended up finishing fourth, which was probably higher than any of us expected."
Both Zarian's times in the 500 freestyle (4:34.45) and the 200 IM (1:48.98) were automatic All-American marks. He also anchored the Knights 200 freestyle relay (1:25.88) that placed fifth and the 400 freestyle relay (3:07.39) that placed second. Both relay times were All-American consideration worthy.
Zarian now has the summer before his senior year to weigh his options as to where he might continue his swimming career collegiately. While the Olympic Trials in late June were potentially within reach for Zarian, who is mere seconds off the cut times in the 200 and 400 individual medleys, he has decided to focus on his summer club season with the Jeffco Hurricanes rather than training to swim a long-course qualifying time.
"As of right now, I'm not planning on shooting for the Olympic Trials again," Zarian said. "I'm more focused on the things that we'll be doing as a team towards the end of July. The Trials have been on my mind for the past six months but I decided to put my focus into high school swimming and because I did that, it makes it a lot tougher to train long course for this summer. There will be another Olympic Trials the summer after my junior year of college so we'll see what happens down the line."
Whatever is in store for Zarian after high school, Fairview head coach Amy Webb and the Knights sure are glad he has one more year before it does.
"He's such a hard worker," Webb siad. "He's always critiquing himself and perfecting what he's going to do. We work well together and we come up with a good race plan for every race. It started a little shaky in Florida when he didn't quite swim the times he wanted with his club team. But it ended with those two phenomenal swims at the state meet. We've had some phenomenal swimmers over the years and he's definitely up there with the cream of the crop that's come through Fairview."