Will Modglin Named Swimming World’s Male High School Swimmer of the Year


Will Modglin Named Swimming World’s Male High School Swimmer of the Year

When Will Modglin broke the national high school record in the 100-yard backstroke, he didn’t have much time to reflect on the monumental accomplishment. There was more work to be done by the Zionsville senior at the Indiana State Championships. The following day, he led Coach Scott Kibly’s team to the state record in the 200 freestyle relay, putting a banner finish on Modglin’s stellar career.

Then he could begin to put his accomplishment into perspective.

“It was super satisfying seeing all that hard work pay off again. If you told me as a freshman that I would be breaking Ryan Murphy’s record (45.34 from November 2012), I probably would have laughed at you,” Modglin said. “I had to push that aside for a day and focus on the 200 free relay. We set the state record. That was amazing.”

Modglin broke Murphy’s mark during prelims at the Indiana State Champs, throwing down a 45.08. He was selected as Swimming World’s Male High School Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year.

“I went for the record in prelims because in finals, after the relay, I knew I would only have a few minutes before the backstroke finals. After that, the 100 back was just swimming it for my last swim. I didn’t have the same speed when I was fresh. I went 45.6, which I was super happy with, having just swum the 50 on the relay,” he said. “Getting it done at the Nat (IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis), where I have grown up racing, was super fun. We knew state was going to be a tough meet with Carmel and a lot of good Indiana teams you have to look out for. Our goal was to repeat as state runners-up.”

Zionsville finished behind Carmel to meet that goal.


 Modglin had some pretty big individual goals this past season, capped by the backstroke record. As he pointed out, as a freshman, he never would have believed it. But slowly that belief grew throughout his four years at Zionsville.

“The turning point for me was 2020 at the OLY Invite. It was me having some really good swims, and it was the meet that was still my best. I snagged my Olympic Trials cut there when I was 16. We set the 15-16 NAG record in the 400 free relay at that meet, too. That was awesome.

“In the 200 IM, I went a 1:52 in prelims and then a 1:46 in finals. It was unbelievable,” he said. “I started tracking my times with Wyatt Davis, who left his mark in Indiana in the backstroke. That started getting me to set goals that eventually led to the record as a senior.”

After a successful junior year in which he was also named Swimming World’s Male High School Swimmer of the Year, Modglin wanted to keep pushing forward.

“Coming off of last year, I had a lot more confidence. But I also knew that last year put a big target on my back. We were able to keep the momentum—Coach and all the guys on the team…we had a really motivated team. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today.

“I was happy to be surrounded by great people who helped make this happen,” he said. “I had a really good summer last year at juniors. I was really motivated to see what I could do in the short-course pool. Going into winter junior nationals in Greensboro, I was super motivated for that meet.”

It jumpstarted this stellar year for Modglin that also saw him go a 1:43.74 in the 200 IM—the nation’s second-fastest high school time, behind a 1:42.17 set by Keller High School’s (Texas) Maximus Williamson.

“That (junior nationals meet) was my first time to see what I was capable of. I knew there would be a lot more competition. It was a star-studded field. It was super motivating and really satisfying to see the work pay off at midseason. In the 100 back, I went 45.01. I knew I was under the national high school record, so that was one of the things I was looking forward to. After that swim, I knew I could do it…and I had to do it again.

“Our sectional meet, we went in as the final meet in our home pool. As seniors, we wanted to place ourselves well for state. I didn’t expect to swim as fast as I did there. I led off the 200 medley relay in a best time (20.8). That was one of my goals to get under 21. I remember finishing it and looking at the time, wondering how that was possible, since I was tapering for state. I started swimming it like it was prelims for the state meet.”

And then history was made at the state finals.


Now, Modglin is at Texas, where his building-block goals will begin again at the collegiate level. “I am excited for that with (Texas coaches) Wyatt (Collins) and Eddie (Reese),” Modglin said.

“For me, I am really a statistical guy. Sometimes it can be really bad, especially if you don’t have a great meet. But I love diving down into the meat of things—‘I was this fast here and dropped this much time here.’ I look at other people’s times at my age and see how much faster I can be. It is keeping it small with personal goals…and building.”

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Old Swim Coach
Old Swim Coach
10 months ago

Love this guy! Hook’em!

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