Myers preps for final prep challenge

Brian Miller
Posted 5/15/08

The next chapter in the story of Clay Myers is about to begin. Before that happens though, the Ralston Valley senior wants to write the perfect …

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Myers preps for final prep challenge


The next chapter in the story of Clay Myers is about to begin.

Before that happens though, the Ralston Valley senior wants to write the perfect ending to his high school career.

Already the owner of four individual state titles, Myers will be aiming to add to his collection this weekend at the Class 4A state meet at Edora Pool and Ice Center in Fort Collins. Preliminaries take place Friday, May 16, with finals scheduled for Saturday evening.

Myers will compete in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500 freestyle events, both of which he has dominated in the past two years. He’ll also swim in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

“This year I’m going in knowing that I’m going to do well and knowing that our team’s going to do well also,” Myers said. “We’ve really sort of matured and I think this is the year that our team is peaking.”

Ralston Valley finished fourth in the team standings at the Jeffco League championships last weekend at Meyers Pool in Arvada. Myers won the 200 and 500 free races and helped the Mustangs take first in the 400 free relay.

Now he turns his attention to his final state meet, with the rest of the 4A competition having already focused its attention on him.

“You never really know who’s going to do what and how well everybody’s been swimming that year,” Myers said. “There’s definitely a target on my back.”

His strategy of taking it easier in the prelims last year in order to save energy for the finals paid off. Myers broke his own state record in the 500 free with a time of 4 minutes, 38.98 seconds.

“It makes a big difference. I was feeling really good going into the final,” he said. “I knew that I saved up everything just for that one race. It feels good when you know that you’ve done everything you can to get to that one race.”

Next fall Myers will take his talent in the pool to the University of Denver, where he’ll swim the freestyle distance events.

The possibility of eventually taking a crack at the Olympic trials isn’t out of the question, but for now, it’s all about one last prep challenge.

“I think it’s going to be kind of sad to have to leave,” Myers said. “At the same time, I think it’s a good way to end high school.”

Class 5A

John Dalton and Talor Barnes may only be juniors, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t set the bar high for themselves going into the Class 5A state swim meet.

Dalton, of Arvada West, is one of the favorites in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle sprints, and Barnes is hoping to improve on his previous state finish in the 1-meter dive as a sophomore.

“I feel confident going into state,” Barnes said.

Dalton’s strong performance at the Jeffco League championships last weekend at Meyers Pool could be a preview of things to come. The 6-foot-5 junior won both sprint races and broke the league mark in the 100, set in 1996 by Tyler Page. His time of 46.92 seconds was the first time he had cracked the 47-second mark.

“When they said it, man, that’s the coolest feeling ever,” Dalton said. “Beating a 12-year-old record is just the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

Dalton will also team with seniors Kyle Santarelli and Roger Hu and sophomore Blake Trahan in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

He finished ninth in the 50 and 10th in the 100 last year at state after what he called “a terrible prelim.” Dalton has tried to adjust his schedule to train in the morning more this year, just one example of how he’s stepped into a leadership role.

“He kind of leads by example,” Wildcats coach Jeff Cook said. “He kind of shows guys what to do.”

Barnes took third at the league meet behind Chatfield’s Nicholas Suder and John Fox.

He was the only Ram to qualify for state and is the only non-freshman diver at Green Mountain, but he said he’s embraced his role on the squad.

“I don’t mind it at all,” he said. “They look up to me.”

Despite having worked with five different diving coaches between Green Mountain — including first-year coach Ryan Adams — and the Mile High Dive Club, Barnes said he’s been able to take a little something from each one.

He hopes that will translate into success at state.

“I guess I’m going to just practice really hard this week,” he said, “and go into state with confidence.”


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