BOULDER — Michael Zarian will be missed on the high school level.

The Fairview senior was the epitome of a student/athlete. He found a way to balance a grueling training schedule that had him up as 5 a.m. on most days and a class work load that would make Albert Einstein blush.

The reward?

He graduates from Fairview as the most decorated swimmer in the storied programs history — a five time champion, including two more titles last month at the 5A meet at VMAC — and the two-time Swimmer of the Year will continue both his swimming and academic career this fall at Harvard.

"It's just a great honor to have been able to represent Fairview and receive so much support from everyone," he said. "And to have all those coaches, teammates and family members right there with me is really meaningful."

Zarian, who wrote a book entitled "Success as a Teen Athlete: A Guide to Reaching Your Athletic Potential," heeded his own advice in the book and swam to his first title as a sophomore in the 500-yard freestyle.

He would add two more title his junior season, winning both the 200 IM and the 500 free at the grueling altitude (it's 2,000 feet higher than Denver-area pools) at the United States Air Force Academy.


This season he faced stiff competition in the IM from Broomfield freshman Harrison Lierz, but he ended any doubt with a blistering opening 50 backstroke time of 22.77 — nearly two seconds faster than the field — and went on to win in personal best and Automatic All-American time of 1 minute, 47.25 seconds. Lierz's time of 1:50.83 was also and AAA.

Zarian, who makes the first team in an event that he didn't even swim at state (the 100 breaststroke)— but was still the fifth fastest in the state — changed it up for his final individual prep race and, despite not racing up to his own demanding standards, won the 100 butterfly against a demanding field.

"I had no idea what (Fossil Ridge state champion) Danny (Kovac) was going to do and I just decided to swim my own race and hope for the best," Zarian said after the race. "There were actually a lot of things I did not like about that race ... and even though there were some errors in that race, you can't complain about the outcome."

His demanding schedule his senior year included eight practice swims during the week and three weightlifting workouts with "A lot of it is core work and shoulder stabilization to keep you strong in the water," he said.

All of that while taking a course load that included such things as IB Spanish 5, AP Calculus, AP Stats and IB Economics.

"It wasn't the most fun thing in the world, but as long as you are able to manage your time well it is not impossible by any means,' he said.

Zarian is keeping things realistic as he heads off to college, but can't help but dream big and hope for the best when it come to everything about his future both in the water and in school.

"With swimming you can't rule anything out and the Olympics would be awesome, but it is very hard to qualify. Right now my goals are often changing, but as of right now if I could be an NCAA qualifier next year and later and NCAA All-American that would be awesome," he said. "I want to graduate with a degree from Harvard and do something where I find myself waking up everyday enjoying what I'm setting out to do that day and hopefully making an impact on the world that day for the better."

Jon Yunt: or