LINCOLN — State swimming spectators at the Devaney Center Friday, Jacob Molacek heard you.
The Omaha Creighton Prep junior appreciated the support he received from the more than 1,000 fans who cheered him on during his two state record swims during the prelims of the 76th state high school championship meet.
“It was so nice of them to give me those rounds of applause,” Molacek said. “I’m usually more focused on the time, and everything is kind of a blur after a race, but I heard them.”
Molacek’s first state meet swim took out the oldest record — the 200-yard freestyle. Chuck Sharpe of Omaha Westside won the 1977 state meet in 1:39.24, but Molacek became the new standard-bearer Friday with a 1:37.29 that brought the crowd to its feet.
Then in an event that both Junior Jays coach Tom Beck and Molacek said is his weakest stroke, Molacek set a state record in the 100 butterfly by touching first in 48.85, 0.07 seconds faster than the time posted in 2009 by former Lincoln East and current Ohio State swimmer Ryan Bubb.
Those swims helped set the Junior Jays up for a run at the school’s seventh consecutive state team title and 15th overall when the finals begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Molacek wasn’t the only Prep swimmer to crack the all-time chart Friday. Sophomore Sean Tate debuted at No. 7 in the 50 freestyle when he won his preliminary heat in 20.86 seconds, a time that is second only to Molacek’s 20.42 this season. Tate also was the leading qualifier in the 100 freestyle with a season-best 46.57.
Millard South — which is battling Elkhorn/Elkhorn South and Lincoln Southwest for second place — also had two swimmers post all-time chart marks.
Indiana recruit Bob Glover cracked the 100 butterfly chart by finishing in 50.03, seventh all-time. He also matched his Metro Conference-winning time of 49.83 to qualify first in the 100 backstroke, a time that has him at No. 2 all-time behind former Prep and current Michigan swimmer Will Raynor.
The Patriots’ Neil Girmus moved from 10th to ninth in the 100 breaststroke with a season-best 57.90. Girmus also qualified second for the 50 free final by finishing in 21.30.
Beck said the Junior Jays didn’t have their best overall day.
“We left a lot of swims in the pool unrealized,” he said. “Our team effort just wasn’t there like we’ve had in the past. We finished the meet strong after I pleaded and basically stated my case pretty strongly that this is something you can change midstream.”
Beck thought support for teammates in individual events was lacking until the backstroke and breaststroke. He said he was pleased with the way Prep’s relay teams performed, noting that all three relays will have four different members swimming those races on Saturday as the Junior Jays work to sharpen their résumés for the end-of-season national rankings.
“We need to really get up for those relays and every event,” Beck said. “There will be a lot more noise tomorrow. That’s something we’re going to bring to the table.
“It’s going to be a lot more fun.”
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