Swimming World Presents – Up & Comers: Sarasota YMCA Sharks’ Liam Custer – Sponsored By Spectrum Aquatics

Swimming World March 2021 - Up and Comers - Sarasota YMCA Sharks' Liam Custer - With Coach Brent Arckey
Sarasota Shark Liam Custer, with coach Brent Arckey [PHOTO BY SARASOTA SHARKS]

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Up & Comers:
Sarasota YMCA Sharks’ Liam Custer

By Shoshanna Rutemiller

Sponsored By Spectrum Aquaticsspectrum-1Liam Custer, 16, of the Sarasota YMCA Sharks smashed the national age group record in the 1650 yard freestyle by nearly eight seconds last December at the Florida Virtual Championships. His 14:37.86 places him as the youngest swimmer to break 14:40 in the event. The high school junior’s time would also rank third among NCAA Division I athletes this season.

In November, Custer, swimming for Riverview High School (Sarasota, Fla.), took Florida 4A high school state titles in the 500 yard freestyle (4:21.41) and 200 IM (1:47.41). Later that month at the U.S. Open Championships, he qualified for the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 800 (8:06.69) and 1500 (15:35.69) meter freestyles. He shattered his personal best times by more than six seconds in the 800 and by nearly 30 seconds in the mile.

Outside of the pool, Custer carries an unweighted 4.0 GPA, and has maintained straight-A’s in every class since the first grade. Even though he currently resides in Florida, he was born in New England and has been an avid Tom Brady fan from a young age. He even has a poster hanging in his room of Brady when he was with the New England Patriots!

SWIMMING WORLD: What is the best thing you do in swimming?
LIAM CUSTER: What I do best is that I give it 110% every time I get behind the blocks, and I hate to lose. I give it my all during every race, and I can maintain my effort for as long as I want, which helps me in my distance events.

SW: What are some of the toughest workouts/sets you’ve done?
LC: I would say the toughest set I have ever done, by far, was 20 x 400s “FRIM” (100s of free, back, breast, free) on 5:20, long course meters. At the time, my 400 IM was about a 4:55, so I had to hold close to my best time for all 20. It’s the only time I have ever cried during swim practice!

SW: What is your favorite thing about swimming?
LC: My favorite thing about swimming is that you can compete for yourself by trying to place and lower your time…but you can also compete for your team by scoring points. It’s definitely a fun dynamic because you can contribute to your team and race for your teammates, but you can also get the satisfaction of setting a personal best time.

SW: What are you most looking forward to this year?
LC: I am looking forward to finalizing my college decision and committing—can’t wait!

SW: Who is someone you look up to in swimming… and why?
LC: While I don’t have a specific role model swimmer, I definitely look up to all of my current and past coaches who have helped me succeed in the sport—best coaches I could ever ask for!

SW: What are your favorite hobbies?
LC: My favorite hobbies are watching the Patriots every Sunday during football season… and hanging out with my friends.

 

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Swimming World March 2021 - Shane Casas - COVER[PHOTO CREDIT: CONNOR TRIMBLE]

 

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Swimming World March 2021 Issue

FEATURES

012 THIS SHOULD BE WELL WORTH THE WAIT
by Dan D’Addona
A year ago, all eyes were on Cal and Texas in what looked to be one of the greatest men’s NCAA Championship duels ever. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out that showdown, but spirits are running high one year later—not only for that much anticipated Cal-Texas confrontation, but for the simple fact that college swimmers will again be able to come together and compete at a national championship.

014 YES, VIRGINIA, NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE YOUR MOVE
by Dan D’Addona
For years, Stanford and Cal have been battling each other for national supremacy at women’s NCAAs, with the Cardinal and Golden Bears finishing 1-2 in the last three championships. Before that, Cal had put together four team titles since 2009. But in 2021, look for Virginia to make its move—not only as a new rival, but quite possibly as a new champion!

016 ALL SYSTEMS GO…FOR NOW!
by Andy Ross
Although the NCAA Division III and NAIA had canceled their championship swimming and diving meets in early February, NCAA  Division II was still a “go,” thereby preserving the possibility for Queens University of Charlotte to pursue its sixth straight men’s and women’s team titles.

018 DOC’S GUYS
by John Lohn
In the late 1960s into the early 1970s, Doc Counsilman’s Indiana University swimming program was a focal point of the sport. His legendary teams were a dominant presence not just on the collegiate scene, but also on the national—and international—stage.

021 THE “MOUNT RUSHMORE” OF NCAA DIVISION I SWIMMING
by Andy Ross
If there were a sculpture made of the top American NCAA Division I swimmers similar to the one depicting four U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore, Tracy Caulkins, Natalie Coughlin, Pablo Morales and John Naber would be worthy honorees. No other swimmer has won more NCAA D-I individual titles than those four.

024 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: OLYMPIC RIVALRIES OF YESTERYEAR
by John Lohn
Rivalries have always defined the sport. Michael Phelps vs. Ian Crocker. Gary Hall Jr. vs. Alexander Popov. Shirley Babashoff vs. East Germany. These are just a few rivalries that stand out and should long be remembered. But what about the rivalries from the early days of swimming? As our “Takeoff to Tokyo” series continues, Swimming World takes a look at some of these rivalries from yesteryear.

026 WHO IS THIS GUY?
by David Rieder
Before the summer of 2019, Texas A&M’s Shaine Casas had been swimming under the radar. But if his performances since then are any indication, the end results could be spectacular. His coaches see his potential as basically unlimited, and recent history makes it tough to disagree. As for Casas, he has similarly lofty expectations for himself.

029 ISHOF: THE VALUE OF SWIMMING IN WAR
by Bruce Wigo
In the early 1900s, there was scarcely an American alive who was unfamiliar with the name of Frederick Funston. He was the most decorated and celebrated hero of the Philippine-American War (1899-1902)—famous in military and swimming history for his willingness to have his men swim across rivers, under fire, when, according to press reports, “They couldn’t otherwise get at the enemy quickly enough to suit them.”

COACHING

041 SPECIAL SETS: BOWE KNOWS SWIMMING
by Michael J. Stott
Bowe Becker has trained with Sandpipers of Nevada coaches Ron Aitken and Cutter Haupt as well as Kelly Kremer at the University of Minnesota (2015-19). The eight-time NCAA All-American, Big Ten champion and conference record holder in the 50-100 free now swims with the ISL’s Cali Condors. Coach Haupt provides some sample workouts from November 2014, which were done prior to that year’s December sectionals.

043 Q&A WITH COACH MATT BARANY
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN MAGGIE PURCELL
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

040 DRYSIDE TRAINING:  PULLING POWER
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

046 UP & COMERS: LIAM CUSTER
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT PRINCE DABULAMANZI & THE BATTLE OF ISANDLWANA?

011 THE OFFICIAL WORD

032 2021 SWIM CAMP DIRECTORY

047 HASTY HIGH POINTERS

048 GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

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