It took Owen Blazer just one meet to find his way into the Miami University men's swimming team record book.
The recent Seneca Valley graduate's first collegiate competition was the Miami Invitational, held Dec. 3-5.
During the Redhawks' 400-yard medley relay, Blazer broke the program record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 47.74 seconds.
It topped the old record by .13 seconds.
Last February, Blazer won the WPIAL Class 3A backstroke title in district-record time.
“I like to consider myself a leader, but being just a freshman, I figured the best way to lead is in the water,” said Blazer. “I checked the records out at Miami a while back; I've always been interested in records. I thought I could be close to those times, but you never know until you go out and compete.
“If I focus on good turns and crisp strokes, times will take care of themselves.”
Blazer's first meet also yielded a 200 backstroke time (1:48.20) that cracked the school's all-time top 10.
“His school record was tremendous in its own right, but what was even more impressive was the stamina and perseverance he showed over our three-day competition with multiple individual and relay events,” replied Miami coach Hollie Bonewit-Cron in an emailed interview. “His performances were a direct result of his work ethic and commitment.”
Miami's team practices began Oct. 12, but Blazer missed out on the first two weeks.
“My roommate tested positive for COVID,” he said. “I never got it, but had to quarantine for two weeks.”
Blazer joined his teammates afterward and has relished the practice sessions.
“The competition in practice is enough to get me to the next level,” he said. “It's awesome, getting that competitive edge every day. It's helped me get stronger and faster.
“I get beat in a lot of freestyles in practice, but it's close.”
Considering Blazer's innate desire for continued improvement, Bonewit-Cron sees his early efforts as just the tip of the iceberg of what could be a very special collegiate career.
“He is a very goal-driven athlete, as well as disciplined,” she replied. “I am looking forward to his continued development.”
Blazer plans to return from winter break Dec. 27 and is anxious to get back to work with his teammates.
“The (invite) showed me where I'm at,” he said. “I'm really excited about getting back. I don't want to miss any steps because our next event is (Shamrock Invite, Jan. 21) at Notre Dame.”