Highlands Ranch graduating senior Nathan Mueller worked all season to make sure he was ready to meet all the challenges and challengers in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races at the Class 5A Boys Colorado State Swimming Championships.
“Nathan started the season very focused,” said Highlands Ranch head coach Christina Kwon. “He requested, if possible, that I put him in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle for every meet. He wanted to really be prepared to win by the time we got to state.
“Although Nathan has always been a very strong and dedicated swimmer, he spent his senior season working on pacing correctly and sharpening his turns in order to be the best.”
Mueller was the best in the May 17 state finals, winning state championships in both events with All-American times. He touched up in 1 minute, 38.26 seconds in the 200 and 4:27.41 in the 500.
For that dedication and excellence, he has been selected as the Colorado Community Media South Metro Boys Swimmer of the Year.
“The 500 freestyle is such a mental race,” he said. “I just thought if I swam it a bunch I would be more comfortable mentally with it. I'd have much different race strategies to go after by practicing it a lot.”
Mueller, bound for the University of Wisconsin, didn't sneak up on anyone this year as he carried the top Class 5A times in the 200 and 500 freestyles into the state meet.
“I went in with the mindset of being real confident in myself and knowing that I could do it,” he said. “It was kind of the mental state I put myself in that I didn't leave any room for doubt. That's what I had to do in order to win. Every time you get behind the blocks there is always a little nervousness. I just took a deep breath, got up on the block and went.
“It was a lot of fun to end my high school career like that winning two state titles. The swimming season as a whole was a fun experience to finish high school with people I really like and enjoy, and doing the sport I love.”