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Every swimmer knows the goal of tapering his or her training is to swim a best time at, well, the best time.

The Santa Maria Swim Club's Parker Reynolds swam his best 1,500 freestyle time at the best time last week.

At the Futures Meet in Portland, Oregon, Reynolds qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Not just once, but twice.

Reynolds won the 1,500 in 15:41, easily under the men's qualifying standard of 15:44.89 on Thursday, Aug. 1. He then qualified for the Trials in the men's 800-meter freestyle on Aug. 4. The U.S. Trials will be held in Indianapolis next June ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, which are taking place in Tokyo. If he's fast enough, Reynolds has a chance at making the Olympic team. 

Reynolds, who swam for Nipomo High School as a freshman last spring, lopped 11 seconds off his previous best of 15:52 in the 1,500 last week at the Futures meet.

"My coach (the SMSC's Mike Ashmore) wasn't jumping four feet in the air like he did when I made Junior Nationals in San Diego," Reynolds said by phone. "So I didn't know until the end," that he had qualified for the Trials.

The SMSC male distance quintet of Reynolds, Blake Simpson, Wyatt Marsalek, Keshaun Patel and Marcos Hillje-Enthoven continued hard training for a week and a half after the Arena Grand Challenge that took place in early July in Clovis, Reynolds said.

"Then we started tapering."

The timing of the tapering paid off richly for Reynolds.

"The second half of my race was stronger than usual, and that was the biggest key to me qualifying," for the Olympic Trials, Reynolds said of his race in the 1,500.

"I started at a strong pace and I was able to hold it for an exceptionally long time. It didn't feel like I was holding what I was holding. Coach (Ashmore) told me that was because I was tapered."

Simpson (who swam for Nipomo last year) and Marsalek (A former Nipomo swimmer who, as a senior, helped the Titans win the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship in 2018) finished second and fourth respectively in the Futures 1,500. 

"I led pretty much wire to wire," said Reynolds. "Me and Blake were pretty much (trading the lead) during the first 800. Then after the first 800, I went a little ahead.

"At the beginning, I wasn't thinking about making the Olympic Trials. I was just planning on racing the people next to me. I just wanted to stay out front at the beginning and make sure no one was in front of me."  

Reynolds swam at the Arena Grand Challenge while the SMSC was in the midst of hard training. Thus since, "It didn't feel as hard (in the Futures 1,500) as it did at the Arena Grand Challenge," Reynolds said he didn't know how fast he was going.

As it turned out, he was going plenty fast enough.

The SMSC distance quintet has established itself as a formidable unit. The group went 1-through-5 in the 1,500 at the Arena Grand Challenge, and all five finished in the top eight at that distance at the Summer Sanders Long Course Meet in Roseville last June.

After qualifying in the 1,5000 Reynolds broke Josh Prenot's old club record and won the 800-meter freestyle at the Futures. Prenot won silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics, finishing second in the 200-meter breaststroke.

After the Futures competition finished up last weekend, Reynolds traveled back to California and is competing at the Speedo Junior Nationals at Stanford.

Reynolds said he will transfer to Righetti for his sophomore year but will not compete at the high school level then.

"I'm going to train with the SMSC and concentrate on the Olympic Trials," Reynolds said.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.