CANTON — Today and Saturday, Mount Vernon swimmer Ian Richardson has a chance to prove that he is the fastest high school swimmer in the Buckeye State. He will take on Ohio’s top prep swimmers at the 2010 OHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships at C.T. Branin Natatorium.
The intense atmosphere in Canton is a whole new world for the Mount Vernon senior.
“It’s my first time at the state,” said Richardson. “Last year, I never would have dreamed that would have happened. I was so far away I didn’t even go.”
For Richardson, who is the No. 1 qualifier and the man that everyone will be trying to beat in the 50-yard freestyle, the key will be to shut out all the distractions and swim his race. Being nervous is all part of the territory.
“To combat (nervousness)? I don’t know if I do,” said Richardson, who is also racing in the 100-yard freestyle. “When the time comes I just focus on going as fast as I can. That’s the biggest thing I do.”
Richardson credits his improved strength and turn technique for his rise to the top of the swimming ranks this year. It can be seen in the distance that he travels underwater after he completes a flip turn. That makes him even faster.
“I think it does,” said Richardson. “It always helps to hold the streamline as long as you can, of course, The only thing is, in a short sprint race like a 50, you almost risk staying under too long. It’s a hard balance to find because, once you start losing speed underwater, it’s important that you come up so you can get going again.”
This week has been a time to rest, test and fine tune. The heavy training has long since passed.
“The yardage stays down,” said Richardson. “I’m not working too hard. I’m making sure my speed stays good. I’m doing some short, fast stuff, but I’m not pounding out huge amounts of yards or anything.”
The first Division I preliminary race started at 9 a.m. today.