A fractured bone in his back made Jonathan Boland’s state swim meet experience an ordeal a year ago.
But the Spring Valley senior made up for that disappointment by having the meet of his life at the Class 4A season finale at the USC Natatorium on Saturday.
Boland closed his career with four-medal performance, including individual triumphs in the 100-meter butterfly and the 100 backstroke. He became the first Spring Valley male swimmer to tally two gold medals at state.
“This year, obviously, was quite a difference,” said Boland. “My goal was to win the butterfly, and I just rode that good feeling in the backstroke.”
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Boland settled on the butterfly as his best bet for gold while winning the event at the Blue Devil Invitational three weeks ago at the same facility. He had no idea he would upset Wando star Zach Lierley, who was looking for a sixth career gold medal in his final individual prep race, in his other solo event.
Boland, the seventh seed and relegated on the outside in Lane 2, caught and passed Lierley in the final 10 meters to win in 51.52 seconds.
“That was a surprise,” said Boland. “After winning the butterfly I was loose and totally relaxed. I had no thoughts at all about placing. It just came together.”
Coach Mike Loser agreed with Boland’s backstroke assessment.
“I think we all felt he was in position to win the butterfly, but that backstroke swim was not expected,” Loser said. “But he just lit it up it, like he did in every race today. He beat a good kid, too, a really good kid. He’s got to be the all-area swimmer of the year.”
Boland led Spring Valley to a fourth-place finish with 252 team points. It was the third top-five effort by the Vikings in the past four years.
Boland was part of two medal-earning relay teams. He teamed up with Thomas Agostini, Ben Spinek and William Long on the second-place medley relay team. The same foursome earned a bronze medals for a third-place finish in the meet-ending 400 free relay.
Spinek’s good day included silver-medal performances in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke event.
Lexington provided the other Midlands highlights. The Wildcat boys and girls teams both finished in 10th place.
It was the fifth straight top-10 showing for the Lexington boys, who have made the cut in all but one of the 15 state meets sanctioned by the High School League. Andrew Rutledge was the ’Cats leader, placing fourth in the butterfly and sixth in the 50 free.
The Lexington girls also made the top 10 for the fifth year in a row and had a medal showing with a third-place finish in the 200 free relay courtesy of Hannah Whitaker, Maragret Halloran, Madelin Swalgren and Megan Charnovich.