Published Monday, February 18, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:43 am
Sprints setting Patriot star apart

When he takes his seat at the next Millard School Board meeting, Neil Girmus could have a very interesting report to deliver on the latest happenings at Millard South.

He could have a gold medal or two from the state swimming championships to mention to the adult board members.

One of the state’s top swimmers, Girmus is a member of the Millard South student council and was elected at the start of the school year to serve as the school’s student representative at board meetings.

“It’s really interesting to go to the meetings and listen to the decisions they make,” Girmus said.

The senior had an interesting decision to make himself last week — choosing what two individual events he will swim this weekend at the Devaney Center in Lincoln. The swimming preliminaries are Friday, with finals on Saturday.

Girmus, who has narrowed his college choices to Truman State, the University of Chicago and Saint Louis University, finished the regular season ranked second in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.18), third in the 50 (21.30) and 100 (47.63) freestyle races, and seventh in the 200 freestyle (1:48.43).

Girmus and Patriots coach Tyler Hammond each said the breaststroke was a no-brainer — Girmus will be the top seed in that event when the boys swims begin Friday at 12:30 p.m. — but deciding on the second event was a little tougher.

Girmus won the 100 free at the Metro Conference championships, but in Lincoln he wanted to go with the 50 free.

“I just really like to sprint,” Girmus said. “The 50 has always been one of my favorite events because I just like to get in and go as fast as I can.”

Hammond said the 50 was a good choice simply because it will give Girmus a chance to do what he does best.

“He’s a natural at just about everything, but what he really is is a racer,” Hammond said. “I don’t know how many times he’s come from behind on a relay. He just pulls swims out of nowhere.

“When you need him to put up that 48-second 100 free, he’ll give it to you. You can’t coach that, you’re just born with that natural attitude.”

Hammond said if Girmus spent as much time working on the butterfly or backstroke, he would be as good at those strokes as he is the breaststroke.

“He’s very coachable,” Hammond said. “He understands, he listens, then he does what you just told him or demonstrated.”

Breaststroke may be his best stroke, but Girmus said his favorite events are the relays. His favorite of the three relays understandably is the 200 medley relay because he gets to swim a 50 breaststroke after Indiana recruit Bob Glover leads off with a usually blistering 50 backstroke.

Hammond said Girmus has a goal to be faster than former state record holder David Anderson — a Millard South graduate who coaches Omaha Marian — in the 50 breaststroke.

“I think David went 24.9, so if Neil can do that with Bob going as fast as he does in the 50 back, we’re putting up a pretty fast first 100,” Hammond said.

For Girmus, another gold medal to report on at the next school board meeting would be just fine even if he doesn’t go sub-25 on his leg.

“I enjoy the relays more because you’re part of a team and that makes it more exciting,” Girmus said. “The medley relay is the first event. It’s always a close race, and that gets me pumped up.”

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Contact the writer: Steve Beideck    |   402-618-4113    |  

Steve is a correspondent for The Omaha World-Herald and covers the Omaha Lancers and high school sports.

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