Boys swimming: Broomfield’s Lierz has eyes on multiple prizes

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Broomfield sophomore Harrison Lierz is looking to become the school’s first 5A state champion in boys swimming.

BROOMFIELD — In the long and storied history of Broomfield athletics, it’s easy to comb through the archives and dwell on the glory of every sport.

Even since their move to Class 5A several years ago, the Eagles have enjoyed success across the board.

But one thing that has eluded Broomfield is a top flight victory in boys swimming. And, arguably, with the gap between 5A and 4A in the sport is greater than any other in the state, they knew it might take some time before it came to fruition.

And no Eagles swimmer has come as close as Harrison Lierz did last year. He finished second in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 500 freestyle last season.

Now after a full year to dwell on those close calls as well as endless hours in the pool to make himself better, Lierz has his sights set high and that could also include etching himself into those record books as the schools first Class 5A state champion.

“I see him being a multiple time state champion, and whether that begins this year or next that remains to be seen,” said Broomfield coach Emily Austin, who has the pleasure of watching Lierz year round with his club team the Front Range Barracudas. “It would be pretty cool to get it, but I don’t even look at it as 5A or 4A, it’s a big deal to win state no mater what division you are in.

“But winning at the 5A division is pretty solid and he knows he’s capable.”

And everybody else knows what he is capable of too. Lierz finished fourth nationally in the 200 backstroke (an event not on the high school level) in December at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships.

Lierz is keeping whatever events he may swim at state this season pretty close to the vest and wasn’t willing to give much away.

“I want to come back (this season) and come back even stronger,” said Lierz, who is not afraid of challenging himself when it comes to state events. “I have an idea of what I want to swim.”

Lierz is a humble leader and lets his actions in the pool serve as his motivation to his teammates and allows the upperclassmen to be the vocal leaders.

“Next year maybe, but it is the juniors and seniors that take the leadership roles,” he said. “I know they look up to me though.”

Said Austin: “His presence makes people feel like they want to try to be better. Instead of phoning it in when they are on a relay with Harrison, they don’t look it like he is going to pick up the slack for them, it’s more trying to look good and look good for the relay with him. It’s not anything that he say or does, it’s just something that happens.”

The Eagles kicked off the season on Friday against Boulder and then were at it again on Saturday at the Legacy Invite at the VMAC. A majority of their season will be at VMAC, including big evens like the Coaches Invite (Mar. 17), Mustang Invite (Apr. 21) and Class 5A state (May 18-19).

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