4A Boys Swimming: Thompson Valley's Liam Gately Looking To Shine In Freestyle Races

The easiest way to gain entry is by birth.

One can also marry into royalty, but neither path is in front of Liam Gately.

The senior's last available option is to throw a chlorinated coup at this weekend's 4A swimming meet at the Air Force Academy.

Jay Schryver is the sitting monarch of swimming royalty in Loveland. With his state times in the 200- and 100-yard freestyles in the 1997 meet, the Loveland grad has worn the crown for decades. His 200 free time of 1:37.42 still sits as the second-fastest time in Colorado history and was the fastest time in the nation that year. His 44.63 in the 100 still stands fourth.

Long live the King.

The city has seen a host of talented swimmers, none of whom have made a serious run at the marks Schryver set (he still holds the city record of 20.77 in the 50 free as well). They gaze at them in wonder, and the harder they try to sneak below, the more impressed they become.

Thompson Valley's Gately has taken them under consideration.

"It was actually about a year ago I was aware of them," he said. "Then, of course, I was swimming the 500 and 200 freestyles, but recently, in the past couple of months what I've been able to do in club and high school swimming, we've seen tremendous strides in both of my sprint events. I think being able to go to state and swim those two races will set us up well and set me up to try to break that 45-second mark.

"I mean, it's exciting to say the least. I'm excited to see what we'll be able to do with that. It's tremendous."

Tom Hewson, who coached Schryver through Loveland Swim Club at the time, said it really is splitting hairs over which record is more impressive, but if forced, he chooses the 200 free if just for the strategy involved and the heart required to close out the final 75 yards when the burn starts to take hold of the limbs.

The 1997 state meet was fantastic. For one, Colorado wasn't divided as it is now, with the best swimmers all in the same pool. In addition to Schryver, Golden's Steve Steketee posted a 1:37.61 in the 200 free and Arapahoe's Dave Denniston nailed a 54.69 in the 100 breaststroke, a time topped just once since, in 2013 by Loveland's Nick Hatanaka.

Thompson Valley coach Dale Leonhart was in attendance and he says it was nothing short of electric, but Schyrver stole the show. Now, he has a chance to see it again.

"Oh, man. Awesome," Leonhart said of Schryver's state swims. "Still are. We'll see what happens."

Gately's path to possibility has been rather impressive, and in some ways, more far-reaching than that of Schryver.

Exhibit A: At the Northern Conference championships this past weekend, Gately won the 500 free in a conference record time of 4:34.15, then an event later, led off the Eagles' winning 200 free relay with a 21.25. Yes, that would have won the open 50.

Exhibit B: At a club meet in Texas in February, he swam the 1,500, then in the next race put up a 45.1 in the 100 free. In that same meet, he broke into the 1:37 range in the 200 free.

One must also take into account he is the state record holder in the 1,500 freestyle in two different age groups (14-15 and 16-18), marks he set while swimming at Junior Nationals.

For Gately, each sets up the other. Becoming a better sprinter has helped him going out and closing fast in the distance freestyles, and the range has him excited about the next four years.

Liam Gately broke the Northern Conference record in the 500-yard freestyle last weekend, going 4:34.15, then helped the Eagles set the conference and> Liam Gately broke the Northern Conference record in the 500-yard freestyle last weekend, going 4:34.15, then helped the Eagles set the conference and school marks in the 200 free relay at 1:27.84. (Mike Brohard / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Source : http://www.reporterherald.com/sports/ci_30992942/boys-swimming-thompson-valleys-liam-gately-hunt-two

Boys swimming: Thompson Valley's Liam Gately on the hunt for two long-standing city records
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