Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — It has been a big week for Broomfield’s Harrison Lierz.
The BoCoPreps.com swimmer of the year this spring was one of three area swimmers — Legacy sophomore Lukas Miller and Boulder senior Quinton Pierce the others — to earn All-American status for their efforts in the pool this past season.
“It feels great, because they only do the top 100 for event, so it’s a challenge for me to get up there,” said Lierz, who is fresh off a great showing this weekend at the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series in Columbus, Ohio. “Every year I want to get as many times as I can. It’s a great feeling at the end of the season.
Lierz posted the 32nd fastest time in the nation in the 200-yard freestyle with his 1 minute, 37.91 seconds in what he calls one of his off events. He won the state title with a swim of 1:39.12, just ahead of Legacy’s Miller, whose 1:38.29 was 42nd best in the country.
Lierz’s other state title this season came in the 500 free and his time of 4:29.03 (not his title winning time) was 56th best.
“Those aren’t my strongest events, so I have to work harder to earn All-American status in those events,” Lierz said.
His strongest event is his backstroke and Lierz’s third and final All-American honor came in that discipline. He swam a 49.43 second time to make the cut.
On Friday in Columbus, Lierz — against a field of college and professional swimmers from across the country — bettered his seed time of 2:03.38 in the 200-meter (long course) backstroke by nearly a second to earn a spot in the finals. He went even faster in Saturday’s finals that were featured live on the Olympic Channel, posting a 2:02.32 for an eighth-place finish.
“It was my midseason meet and I wasn’t fully tapered, so I wasn’t really expecting a lot, but I also wasn’t expecting to drop a second in the morning (prelim),” said Lierz, who watched 28-year old Ryosuke Irie win the event in a blistering 1:55.51. “I was surprised to get in, because I thought there was going to be a lot faster times. I was both lucky and fortunate to go to this meet.”
Lierz also made it back for second swims — D finals — in both the 200 individual medley (finishing 31st in 2:13.22) and the 400 free (32nd in 4:14.33).
A major accomplishment for sure for Lierz, who will be in Irvine, California at the end of the month at the Junior Nationals — swimming against swimmers from his age group — in an attempt to make some Olympic cuts.
“I’ll be fully tapered for (Junior Nationals) against some good competition,” he said. “So this gives me a ton of confidence.
“My goals is to always make the finals, preferably A if I can, and get those other cuts I need. Like this year, I’m going for the 200 and 100 back and maybe the IM. I love the adrenaline you feel in the finals.”
Miller also earned three All-American cuts. In addition to the 200 free, the Lightning star also qualified in the 100 butterfly (48.92) and the 100 free (45.16).
Pierce, who won the 500 free title as a junior and finished third to Lierz this spring at the VMAC, scored the honor with a 4:31.09 time in the same event.
Also of note, Lierz’s high school coach Emily Austin’s son Lane Austin — who swims for Mountain Range — collected All-American honors in the 50 free (20.77).