The Class 5A state swimming and diving championships was hardly the perfect meet for Broomfield sophomore Harrison Lierz. In fact, the very first individual swim he had on the mid-May weekend may have been the most disappointed he's been all season.
That "low" moment is but a tiny speck in the masterpiece of a 2018 spring that Lierz had, and winning two individual state championships at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton vaulted him to runaway status as the BoCoPreps.com boys swimmer of the year.
Lierz competed hard over the final six weeks of the season, entered the state meet with the top seeds in the 200 free and 500 free, and saw through those two races exactly as he was projected when all was said and done.
He became Broomfield's first individual champion in 5A swimming — the Eagles will drop back to 4A next season — and was the BoCo area's only individual state champ between 4A and 5A.
But it wasn't the perfect meet, at least not initially. In Friday's 200 free preliminary race, Lierz was caught by surprise with the speed of the field and ended up seeded eighth in the championship final.
Given he was the top seed coming in, Lierz had to gather his bearings quickly before letting it affect his 500 free preliminary race, as well.
"That 200 free (prelim) was definitely a wake-up call," Lierz said this week. "I wasn't expecting everybody to go with that much speed in prelims — I'm used to not sprinting a lot in prelims because it is about just making finals. I didn't swim my own race so I didn't do well.
"The 500 free, I prepared myself better and swam my own race."
Lierz certainly managed to push himself the rest of the way, and that includes for two Broomfield relays that scored. Both of his individual swims were automatic All-American times, with his 200 free final of 1 minute, 39.12 seconds absolutely necessary to fend off the incredible field.
Lierz also needed his best swim in the 500, and the time of 4:34.18 held off a group of four other swimmers that finished better than 4:40.
"I'd pretty much say I thought it was a good season, and I swam the times I wanted to at every meet," Lierz added. "I think it all went really well. Going into state, I knew both races I'd still have to work, but I also knew there was a possibility I'd be able to win both."
As someone who was highly ranked in 5A in several different strokes, Lierz had his options when it came to the state meet, but he said even though he wanted to swim the 200 individually medley as he did when he was a freshman, he knew that Fossil Ridge's Danny Kovac "would destroy everybody" — making the 200 free the obvious second choice.
The IM is always something Lierz will strive to compete in for the next two seasons if it makes sense. Besides bidding to repeat as a state champ over the next two seasons, Lierz said he would like to try and equal the fun factor as part of his high school experience.
Lierz admitted he was more business-like as a freshman, but that changed this season as he tried to dedicate more time to his Broomfield teammates over the final half of the spring.
"The next couple years, my goals include just trying to get more of our team to state," Lierz said. "I will focus on myself and my races, but also helping getting guys better and faster."