Boys swimming: Luke Miller sets new state record ahead of state meet

Other news and notes ahead of state swim meets this week

Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com
Legacy’s Luke Miller set a new state record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:35.62.
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A specific goal was in sight for Legacy’s Luke Miller, but it came a week sooner than expected.

Competing at the Front Range League meet over the weekend, Miller set a new state record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:35.62.

“I came in sort of rested, so I was expecting a good time,” Miller said. “Normally I take it slow in the 200 free, but I told myself I only have two shots at it, so I wanted to go really fast and see what happens. I took it really fast, held on and it went pretty well.”

The time swam by Miller is now the fastest in the entire state of Colorado in that event. The previous mark was held by Regis Jesuit’s Clark Smith, who went on to swim in the 2016 Olympics.

“That’s always been the goal since a year ago,” Miller said. “I honestly didn’t think it would happen last week. I thought it would happen this week (at state). It was pretty surprising.”

It was a welcome surprise for Miller, but breaking the state record is still a goal he has placed on himself this week when he leads Legacy to the Class 5A state swim meet in Thornton.

In addition to his state record, Miller also won the 100 freestyle in the league meet and helped the 200 and 400 freestyle relays finish in the top 10 at the meet. At state, he will swim the 200 and 500 freestyle as well as the two relays.

The 500 is another event Miller has succeeded in this season and enters the week with the fastest time of 4:38.84. A stacked field in that event will test him, but the preparation has him excited for his potential to do well at state.

“I’m hoping to do something pretty good in the 500 (freestyle),” Miller said. “It’s close to the 200, so I think I can be pretty good at it.”

As for the new attention to him with his new state record, Miller shrugs off the extra chip the other swimmers have and instead focuses on his work, training with both his club and high school team leading up to the meet.

“I’m pretty confident in my ability to win,” Miller said. “I did it fast before and I’ll do it fast again.”

Class 5A state preview

The rebuilding process at Monarch has been a slow process and has seen the team endure some tough seasons along the way. Finally, head coach Amber Sullivan saw her team take a big leap in her fifth season, winning multiple meets and placing high in other bigger meets during the season.

Last weekend, her team proved their dream season was no fluke by finishing third in the Front Range League meet.

“I can’t even put it into words. It’s been a long time coming,” Sullivan said. “These kids believed in what we are doing. For them to get there they had to earn it. We never realized our potential coming in, but we knew we had a big team and that there are some really good swimmers in the area. You never know how you’ll come together.”

Having proved themselves against their league foes, Monarch now looks to make a statement on the biggest high school stage and show the entire state that they have finally arrived.

Monarch is qualified in all but diving for this year’s state meet and will be led by Tanner Filion, a distance swimmer ranked fifth in the 200 freestyle and 13th in the 100 backstroke. He is returning from a concussion but is expected to be at full strength, Sullivan added. Rodrigo Gutierrez is the other swimmer with a top-10 time in the 50 freestyle, where he is ranked ninth in Class 5A.

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Monarch’s Tanner Filion ranks fifth in the 200 freestyle going into the state meet.

“Last year, we made the state finals in one relay,” Sullivan said. “I want all three relays plus some individuals (in the finals).”

Boulder is another team with aspirations of a top team finish at state. They will have some of the top swimmers in the state that include Grant Freeman, Max Kreidl, Luke Stapleton and CJ Turf, all of whom have combined for six top-10 results in individual and relay events.

Miller is the top swimmer for Legacy and will have the best chance to score in the 200 and 500 freestyle, but all three relays teams will have a good chance to score as well, including the ninth-ranked 200 freestyle relay.

The Fairview Knights will be led by Cody Yan at state. Ranked eighth in the 100 breaststroke, he will also swim the 50 freestyle and in relays. The Knights will also have the lone local diver competing in the Class 5A meet with Luca Ciancanelli, a man who has experience competing at the state meet.

Class 4A state preview

Silver Creek and Broomfield faced a strong pool of swimmers in the Northern League meet last weekend and showed they could handle the competition there. This week, they will look to elevate their game even more against the best in the state.

It was a dominant effort from Silver Creek to score 892 to win the league meet in convincing fashion.

“Our guys had a great conference meet,” Silver Creek coach Debbie Stewart said. “We added more state qualifiers that were a surprise. There were two top notch performances in Hayden (Dickinson) in the 100 free and diver Matthew (Teta) being really good for us.”

Some other swimmers entering state with top-10 marks include Ian Curd, Jake Gutru and Pierce Bigelow. The 200 freestyle relay is also strong, coming in fourth in Class 4A. Connor Hassert sits just outside the top 10 in a pair of events, as does the 200 medley relay team.

If the top swimmers and divers can perform at their elite level, Silver Creek believes it will finish in the top five of the team standings at state.

“We have 19 guys to represent us,” Stewart said. “It’s a deep team. They are all swimming and competing against everyone. Our state team is highly represented and will be competitive.”

For Broomfield, they too have some strong swimmers back and are eying a finish in the top 10 of the team standings. One area the team has excelled is in relays with Harrison Lierz, Sam Anderson, Sam Hahn and Jon Kim. The four have the fastest relay times in the 400 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays in Class 4A.

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Broomfield’s Harrison Lierz is part of a strong relay team for the Eagles.

“They have worked together all season and have great chemistry,” Broomfield coach Emily Austin said. “They haven’t been together on relays together solely this season. There have been lots of times when they are not together on relays, so I’m really excited to see what they do at state level.”

Because they can only swim in two relays, Broomfield will only be able to stack the field in two of the three relays with their four top swimmers.

Anderson and Lierz are also looking to win a pair of state titles individually, with Anderson going for the 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle while Lierz is swimming in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke.

“Harrison is not the top seed but will win them, mark my words,” Austin said. “He only swam them a handful of times this year, but he tends to bring it at state meet. We will see some W’s from that boy. Sam is hoping to be in mix. It would be awesome to have six wins.”

The Longmont Trojans will send top swimmers James Sears, Octavio Querol and Sean Findley to compete in a handful of individual events and will race in all three relays as well. The best chance to score points for the Trojans will come from Querol in the 100 freestyle as he enters the week ranked 12th in the event.