April 17, 2014

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Boys swimming preview: Amherst senior hopes to build off last year

A blockbuster finish carried Tyler Moore to the Division I state tournament a year ago. The Amherst swimmer would love to carry some of that momentum into his senior year.

The No. 24-seeded Moore finished 18th in the 100-yard breaststroke in a school-record time of 59.42 at last season’s state tournament. It was the fourth straight weekend that Moore set the school record. He crushed his previous time of 59.90 from the Cleveland State district, where he finished fifth.

“It was sort of surprising my sophomore year when I kind of found out I had a knack for it,” Moore said of the breastroke. “I had never really done it before then. Like with the other strokes, it all comes down to your technique.

“You really focus in practice on accuracy at what you’re doing. You really don’t have time to focus on things like that when you’re racing.

“For breaststrokers, it’s clearly important to get your tempo up. A lot of people consider it a slower stroke. You need to keep your stroke count up very high.”

Lorain County has produced its share of outstanding swimmers, several highly talented in the breaststroke.

The most noted local swimmer in the breaststroke was 1980 Olympian Glenn Mills of North Ridgeville. Mills won the 1980 state title in a state-record time of 55.871 swimming as an independent for Cincinnati Finneytown. The state mark by Mills stood for 30 years until it was broken in 1999-2000 by another future Olympian, Mark Gangloff of Akron Firestone (55.10). Mills swam for North Ridgeville during his freshman and sophomore years, taking second at state in 1977-78 (59.59).

Kevin Mills, Glenn’s brother, won the state title in 1973-74 (1:00.227) and was second in 1974-75 (59.295). Oberlin’s Matt Michaels was second in 1988-89 (58.29). Brad Bartel from Avon Lake was sixth in 1997-98 (58.58).

“It’s a difficult stroke,” said Moore, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 170 pounds. “Some people see it as a slower stroke and tend to take it slow. When you increase your speed it can become very exhausting, especially on your hips. My technique can always be improving. You can never be on your top peak where you’re always working on your physical exertion.

“I went to a camp my sophomore and junior years at Kenyon College specifically for breaststroke. Once I got the basics down I could just practice on working harder and drop more time.”

Moore was second in the 100 breast for the Lakewood sectional (1:00.41) after winning the Southwestern Conference for the second time in three years (1:01.72).

“Staying focused will be the key,” Amherst coach Cathy Loboda said. “Tyler’s work ethic is outstanding. He’s very dedicated. Even as a freshman he was somewhat poised as an athlete. That’s really helped him in the postseason.

“There’s a lot of distractions senior year. Not only because school and looking at colleges, but also because of responsibilities of being a leader of the team. That’ll be his key, just to stay focused and one step at a time not looking ahead to the end of the season as much as meet-to-meet.”

Moore would love nothing better to wrap up his senior year by leading Amherst to its third straight SWC championship.

Moore finished ninth at districts his junior year in the 200 individual medley (1:59.98). He was second at the SWC meet (1:59.53) and third at the Lakewood district (2:00.05).

“When it’s your senior year, you have all these hopes and a lot of time, because of the high expectations, things don’t come out as you want them to,” Loboda said. “It’ll be just about focusing a step at a time and keeping everything in check.”

Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.