By AUSTIN COLBERT
The Hays High School girls' swim season comes at the heels of one of the best boys' swim seasons in school history, led by all-state swimmer Morgan Mathews.
The junior was named second team all-state for his two individual medals and was part of a few record-breaking performances during the Class 5-1A state meet in February.
Mathews broke the school record time in the 100 butterfly when he swam it in 56.46 seconds during the preliminary round at state, a record he had been focused on breaking all season. The old record was 57.09, set by Ben Peters in 1996.
"He not only got it, he smashed it," Hays High swim coach Ann Adams said of Mathews' record. "He didn't even try it his freshman year and we knew he was good and he went to state in the butterfly last year as a sophomore. But he's a very focused young man and I do truly think when he puts his mind to something he will work on it and work on it until he gets it."
Mathews finished eighth in the 100 butterfly after swimming the final round in 57.28 seconds. His other medal finish came in the 100 backstroke, where he took seventh place with a time of 59.80 in the finals (he swam it in 59.44 during the preliminary round).
With the butterfly record in place, Adams fully expects Mathews to go after the school's backstroke record as a senior. Justin Groff set the current record of 57.55 seconds in 2004.
"He only swam (the backstroke) maybe four or five times. I think there is a lot there that can be done," Adams said. "If he can add that to this repertoire -- I mean, he already has in a sense because he made it to state in that stroke -- but I think he'd be really valuable to a college team because he's one of the those well-rounded swimmers that can do all the strokes."
Mathews was also part of the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams along with seniors Boone Pruter, Austin Chambers and Tommy Consiglio. The Indians broke the school record in both events while at state, swimming the 200 medley in 1 minute, 49.40 seconds and the 200 free in 1:34.93.
The previous records were 1:50.96 in the 200 medley (1995) and 1:35.38 in the 200 free (2003).
Also breaking an individual school record at state was Consiglio, a senior exchange student from Italy. He set the school record in the 100 free with a time of 50.07 seconds (eventually taking fifth in the event), breaking the old record of 50.54 set by Les Hauck in 1994.
Of the 11 events in high school swimming, this year's team now holds six of those school records.
"We thought this was going to be what we call a rebuilding year -- we had such a talented bunch of seniors which had swam all four years and graduated," Adams said. "Then for this group to come in and break even more school records ... I'm really proud of Tommy and I'm proud of the guys that have been here swimming on the team all along."