Need for speed: Marler wants his pool records backAfter capturing a state title as a junior, Willy Marler entered this year as one of the top swimmers in the state.
After capturing a state title as a junior, Willy Marler entered this year as one of the top swimmers in the state.
The Jamestown High School senior topped the field in the 100 freestyle on the biggest stage last year, but give a state champ a little extra incentive and it creates an equation that could prove to be devastating for his opposition.
Marler has qualified for state in every event he’s swam in this year, but following a dual with Williston, Marler gave himself a new objective for today’s West Region meet in Jamestown.
“The pool records got beat when we dueled Williston, so I don’t have the pool records anymore,” said Marler. “This gives me a chance to get my records back.”
Williston’s Ben Bolinske topped Marler in his two best events — the 50 and 100 frees —to set new JHS Pool records.
But today, Marler will get one last chance to rewrite history.
“If I can get them back (today), it will be something special,” said Marler, who is one of four captains.
Marler began the season with his eyes on not only repeating as state champ in the 100 free, but also winning the 50 free to give him three total individual state titles to cap his high school career.
“He’s training really well and doing whatever he needs to do to accomplish those goals,” said JHS coach Ben Smith.
Marler, who became the Blue Jays’ first individual state champ since 2004, also helped two relay teams last season swim to new school records at the state meet.
This year, however, the relays have a little different look to them.
Landon Ostlie and Chasen Miller both swam with Marler in the relays for the last three years, so the change took a little getting used to. There hasn’t been too much of a learning curve, though, as all three relays have had success throughout the year.
“The thing with Willy is he has a really good attitude and a really competitive heart,” said Smith, who is in his first year as the Blue Jay boys’ coach. “He’s been on the high school team since he was in the seventh grade, so he really knows the sport.
“Also, being involved in other athletics really helps him be a leader.”
Marler, who also played wide receiver on the JHS football team in the fall, has proven his versatility this season by qualifying in every event he’s competed in. Though he won’t swim in every event at state, Smith said it is still good for swimmers to compete in other events throughout the year.
“It’s good to train in other things,” Smith said. “You can learn things from other events. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone.”
For Marler, swimming a variety of events isn’t anything new.
“When I practice I just swim freestyle really,” said Marler. “At state, I will do the 50 and 100 (frees).”
Marler and his swimming teammates will open competition today at 2:30 p.m. at JHS Pool. Diving competition begins at 10:30 a.m. with the swimming and diving finals kicking off in the afternoon.
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/DGriswoldSun