When Walden Grove senior Trey Cashion breaks through the water in the 100-yard freestyle at the High School Classic on Saturday, one number will be racing through his head — 47.25.
Cashion, one of the top swimmers in the country, set the meet record last season at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center and is hoping to outdo that mark this time around.
“Crushing that time by a little more, that’d be nice,” Cashion said. “A goal time would probably be a 46.5 for this meet or better.”
While the High School Classic is one of the biggest swim meets in Arizona this season and a qualifier for state, there are a few other story lines that will surround Cashion. Here’s a look at three:
Hillenbrand isn’t just another meet location for Cashion. It’s the pool his Ford Aquatics club team practices at daily and where he hopes to be swimming in two years, just as a Wildcat rather than a Red Wolf.
Cashion, who turned 17 on Wednesday, is taking a gap year after he graduates in May to mature mentally and physically while taking some general electives at Pima College.
“I’m still just a boy, honest, and I’ll be recruiting against men,” Cashion said.
But in a year’s time, the UA will be one of the top schools in his sights.
“For him being able to swim at the UA, that would be amazing,” said Johno Fergusson, his club coach.
Not only does the UA have a strong swim program, but his sister Courtney was an eight-time All-America swimmer for the Wildcats from 2004 to 2007. Her success was the main reason a 7-year-old Trey began competitively swimming.
Cashion will be swimming for the “backstroke belt” in the 100-yard event against Catalina Foothills junior Matt Lujan.
The two swim together at club level and are close friends, but Cashion said he’s excited to get another shot at Lujan.
Fergusson said the two friendly rivals spar each day at practice, driving them to both be better, though the senior currently holds the belt after edging out a win in the NCSA Summer Championships.
“We were talking smack to each other, but it was all friendly stuff,” Cashion said.
Last year at the state meet, Cashion lost to Phoenix Bourgade Catholic senior Jake Lambros by less than a quarter of a second in both the 100 and 200 freestyles.
Qualifying for the meet Saturday will be the first step toward claiming the title this year, but the pressure is already weighing on Cashion.
Lambros told Cashion after the final race at state that it was his time. As a senior, Cashion said he has the pressure to win now, though he added that it’s more of a motivation than a burden.
Lambros “isn’t here now so it’s kind of like I have to, I have to win,” Cashion said.