McClain High School’s Tiger Sharks broke two school records this month in postseason meets.
During the Southeast District Tournament on Feb. 12, McClain senior Cody Borsini broke the record J. Wilkin set in the 100-yard freestyle event in 1971 by a fraction of a millisecond — Wilkin’s record time was 50.80 seconds; Borsini’s was 50.79.
Borsini was also part of a relay team that broke J. Mossbarger, S. Cossu, P. Pheanis and J. Wilkin’s 1970 record of 3:38.80 minutes in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the sectional tournament on Feb. 8.
In addition to Borsini, the other relay team members were sophomores Luke Bliss and Andrew Surritt and senior Matthew Milnes, who recently signed with Shawnee State University. Their time was 3:38.23.
Borsini said Bliss wasn’t originally part of the relay team, but when another team member was unable to swim in the relay, the team came to an agreement that Bliss should fill in.
”I believe that if we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have the record,” Borsini said. “Luke swam well enough to set us under the record, along with everyone else. It was a good team effort.”
The relay team wasn’t aware until the day after the sectional that they’d broken the record.
“My dad was sitting on the couch at home, looking at times, and he saw we had a 3:38.23. We hadn’t even registered that we broke it at the sectional meet, and so we all just went home, expecting nothing to be different. I broke the news to the guys, and they were surprised.”
During the 400-yard relay, Borsini swam 100 yards in 50.32 seconds, but even though that time was faster than the 1971 record, it wasn’t official.
“Since it was the fourth leg, you can’t officially break the record unless it’s the first leg,” Borsini said. “I’d broken the 100 freestyle record three times before I broke it officially.”
Borsini first broke the 100-yard freestyle record as a junior during a meet at the Hillsboro YMCA. He also broke the 22.60-second 50-yard freestyle record, also set by Wilkin in 1971, in a relay, though it also wasn’t official.
“It just took a little bit more determination to break it,” Borsini said. “I was also looking for the record in the 50, but I just came short of it. Our team was looking for the 200-yard relay record, but we never managed it. It’s a bit disappointing, but we already have two, and that’s two more than we set ever.”
Borsini, who started swimming as an eighth grader, said he’d been trying to beat the record since his junior year when he realized he might be able to do it.
”I swam whenever I could, I never missed a practice, I shaved my whole body because that apparently helps,” Borsini said.
His favorite thing about being on the swim team is the quality of hard work it instills.
“It’s a hard sport to get into, and it’s a hard sport to continue in. It’s a good time to swim with my friends, and it’s not very hard emotionally,” Borsini said. “I had a lot of boys I was swimming against at practice. They were just helping to push me without really even knowing it. After the best swimmer on the team graduated, and I replaced them, people were swimming against me, and I was still swimming against them. It really helped me at practice to push against people who were trying to beat me.”
Borsini said relay teammate Andrew Surritt was one of the students who challenged him to swim harder during practice.
When he finally officially beat the 100-yard freestyle record, his team knew before he did.
“I looked and I saw everyone else on my team cheering. I didn’t even realize that’d I’d broken it until I saw them cheering because I hadn’t expected to. I was just in shock whenever I saw it,” Borsini said. “Beating it by so little was so shocking because I beat it by a hundredth of a millisecond. I’ve seen people lose by a hundredth of a millisecond before, and it’s insane.”
At the Feb. 12 district tournament, Borsini placed fifth overall in the 50-yard freestyle event and sixth overall in the 100-yard freestyle and joined the other top eight scorers on the podium.
According to coach Bradley George, Borsini said, he’s the first McClain swimmer to make the podium in at least 22 years.
“I went to districts my freshman year, and I’ve gone every single year, whether it was relay or an individual,” Borsini said. “I saw the podium every time, and I thought, ‘Man, that would be a really fun experience to be up there. I just worked for it and worked for it and worked for it, and pushed myself and got there. I didn’t expect to be up there twice.”
However, despite his hand in beating two records between the sectional and district tournaments, Borsini didn’t qualify for the state-level competition.
“These kids who go to state are insane. They’ve swam since they were in the womb,” he said. “There are people who have been swimming for their whole lives, people who have been swimming for half their lives, people who have been swimming for maybe a quarter of their lives, like me. It’s just hard to get into the top with all those people.
“For me to even be up there in a pool that’s 100 years old, in a small town with no real reason to be good at swimming — it’s impressive for the time that I’ve done it compared to the time some of these other people have been in it.”
Borsini said Shawnee State has offered him a scholarship to swim for the university.
“I’m considering it, but I don’t know,” Borsini said. “We’ll see how that plays out.”
Borsini said he really enjoys working on cars and with his hands. He also participates in band and choir at McClain.
When asked to imagine what it would be like to hear, 49 years from now, that his record had been broken, Borsini said, “I don’t really plan on going too far. I’ll probably be watching whenever it gets broken.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.