Sawyer advances to state finals – twice |

Sawyer advances to state finals – twice

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

FORT COLLINS – Thomas Sawyer will swim another day. The Summit High School freshman swimming standout qualified for the finals of the 4A state meet in not one, but two events Friday – the 100-yard butterfly and the 200 individual medley. The freshman sensation swam career bests in both events at Epic Pool in Fort Collins, improving from the 15th to the 13th seed in the 100 fly with a time of 58.3 seconds; and moving up from the 13th to the 12th seed in the IM with a time of 2:11.1. Seeds are determined by personal-best times.Despite Sawyer’s success, Summit coach Mike Rathgeber described Friday’s meet as “bittersweet.”

“I feel really bad for our 400 free relay team,” Rathgeber said. “They missed out on the finals by four-tenths of a second.”Sawyer, Josh Gammel, Marshall Snead and Andrew Marshall swam the relay in 3:37.8 seconds, knocking nearly five seconds off their previous best.But it wasn’t quite enough.”Our kids really stepped up, but so did the kids from other schools,” Rathgeber said. “Usually 3:40 is considered the elite level and we came in under that. It was hard, I would rather lose by a mile than four-tenths of a second.”

The Tigers’ 400 free relay time from Friday would have been good enough for 10th place at last year’s preliminaries. As it was, their 3:37.8 got them 17th place for the second consecutive year.Sawyer, Gammel, Snead and Marshall also comprised the Tigers’ 200 medley relay team, which was disqualified for a false start.”That team was seeded 20th so we knew we had to be aggressive on our starts,” Rathgeber said. “I would rather see our guys going for it than playing it safe. They were swimming to make it to the finals.”Rathgeber is encouraged by his team’s youth.

“We have seven of these eight swimmers coming back,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”Probably even more so for Sawyer, who returns to Epic Pool for today’s finals.Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at

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