Patrick Fowler, a junior at Seattle Preparatory Academy in Washington, destroyed the oldest national high school record in the books last Friday at the Washington state 3A championships when he powered his way to a time 53.66 in the 100 yard breaststroke.
The old record, 54.42, was set by Rickie Gill of Palm Springs, Calif. in 1982. The national prep school mark is 54.35, set by Nelson Diebel in 1990. Diebel went on to win a gold medal in the 100m breast at the 1992 Olympics.
Fowler stroked to a time of 55.09 in the prelims on Thursday–a state record and a personal best for the 6-foot, 160-pound swimmer. He said he thought he could break Gill’s record, but his time of 53.66 left him and the capacity crowd stunned. After the swim he received two prolonged, standing ovations.
Fowler gave notice that he would be a force in the breaststroke when he won the 100m event at the US Open last December in 1:03.70, defeating Olympian Kurt Grote. His time for 100 yards is faster than the fastest collegiate time so far this year, Jeremy Linn’s 53.70. Linn holds the American record in the event at 51.86.