“… And the beat goes on … ”
Sonny and Cher couldn’t have said it better, even if they weren’t singing about Moses Lake swimming.
Records tend to spin way faster than 33 and even the nigh untouchable ones tend to fly off the turntable at some point in time. Just when you think they are safe, along comes some whiz kid with tools of gold that dusts them off and puts them back on a higher plain for other people’s kids to try and reach.
Let’s reach into the ol’ treasure chest for just a second, even though the odds of today’s “Twitter Generation” knowing what a turntable is far greater than who the dinosaurs of American swimming are, we’ll see if we can’t educate the masses anyway.
Now here’s a good one, American swimmer Johnny Weissmuller had one of the best competitive swimming records of the 20th Century. Weissmuller was one of the world's fastest swimmers in the 1920s, winning five Olympic gold medals and a bronze. He won 52 U.S. National Championships and set more than fifty world records. I confess, I know him better as the original Tarzan.
There’s also Jimmy McLane, Jr., who was a three-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder. McLane represented the U.S. as a 17-year-old at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.
Then of course Michael Phelps came along and erased ‘em all on his way to becoming a household name. In 2016, Phelps won his 22nd gold medal. His win in the 200-meter butterfly made him the first person in history to win individual gold in Olympic games 12 years apart. The race also made him the oldest man to win individual gold, breaking a 96-year-old record set by Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku in 1920.
So why dig up the dinosaurs? Records are meant to be broken and the Moses Lake boys swim board could see more changes this year than it has in a long, long time.
Freshman Zach Washburn could own 'em all by the time he’s done. He’s already picked off his first one, erasing Mike Maier’s 2003 time of 54.84 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke. Washburn’s 54.46 will go up and we’ll see if it takes another 15 years for someone to eclipse that one.
That great 1995-96 Chiefs swim team left its mark before the turn of the century. Aaron Fitterer’s time of 20.94 in the 50 freestyle (1996) is still there, as is his 100 freestyle time (46.67) set in 1995. Fitterer was also a part of that great medley relay (Marshall McKean, Stuart Skaug, Jason Green) that put up 1:37.91 in 1995.
The guys in 20016-17 took a good run at the 200 freestyle relay record, but Fitterer and the boys’ time (1:27.35) still stands. That '96 team also included Nick Jarman, Michael Lucero, Skaug and Fitterer.
In fact, the relay records sit squarely in the middle of the bulls-eye right now with all three of this year's Moses Lake relays currently ranked No. 1 in the state.
The 200 freestyle relay (Ander Molitor, Dylan Bond, Noah Heaps and Washburn) posted a 1:28.88, which is just 1.5 seconds off the school record. The 200 medley relay (Eric Kemper, Heaps, Washburn, Molitor) is No. 1 with a time of 1:38.50, a mere 6/10ths off the Chiefs standard.
The 400 freestyle relay (Molitor, Bond, Heaps and Washburn) is best in the state with a time of 3:17.60, just three seconds off the Chiefs mark (3:14.68).
Interestingly enough, Molitor was the freshman on that 2015 relay, along with his brother Madison Molitor, Zack Johnston and Brenden Eslick. He has a chance to erase the school best he was a part of as a kid and put his name back up along with the next great freshman to come along.
“... And the beat goes on … ”
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer at the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org