Farmington senior Trenton Grossheim set two new District 1 records last weekend and has his hopes set on an even better performance at the state swim meet next weekend
FARMINGTON — This year's state swimming meet means more to Farmington's Trenton Grossheim than an opportunity to cement himself as one of the fastest kids in the pool. It's a chance for redemption.
The Farmington senior has already established himself as one of the fastest swimmers in the state in his events — the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. He's a favorite to finish on the podium in both events when the state meet ends on Feb. 18 in Albuquerque, and if he does, it will help erase the devastation he felt at the same meet a year ago.
During the preliminary races at the state meet in 2016, Grossheim made a costly mental mistake. He mixed up the starting times of his events and missed the prelims for the 100 butterfly. Per New Mexico Activities Association rules, Grossheim's absence from the start of the event made him ineligible for the rest of the meet, relegating him to the stands where he was forced to watch the competition.
"It was heartbreaking," Grossheim said. "I worked the whole year for that race and I missed it. I can't explain it. It was heartbreaking."
It was a crushing blow to Grossheim and his teammates, but it wasn't a complete loss.
The experience taught the teenager a valuable lesson in responsibility.
"I think it was one of those things that had to happen. It was a devastation not only for him but for his family and his team, and he took it the right way," Farmington swim coach Kristi Lucero said. "He took the criticism and the broken heart. It's a life lesson. He had to learn the hard way and he turned it into something positive."
The disqualification also gave Grossheim a new motivation and focus for his senior season. He decided to concentrate on his two favorite events, the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle, abandoning the individual medley — an event he qualified in for state last year — because he enjoys the intensity of sprint races, relishing the moments before the start when he psyches himself up on the starting blocks.
"I love sprinting. It's a lot more exciting. You get all fired up and it's fantastic. You give all you can for like 25 seconds," Grossheim said. "I say to myself, 'Let's go. Let's go, let's go.' I get my heart rate up and my adrenaline going as much as I can. The moment I hit the water, I explode. I actually scream when I'm underwater."
This season he's unbeaten in the 100 butterfly and only tasted defeat once in the 50 freestyle.
He currently holds the fastest qualifying time in the state in the 50 freestyle. At the District 1 meet in Santa Fe last weekend, Grossheim cut 0.07 seconds off his previous time, which was also the fastest in the state, finishing in 21.92 seconds. It was a personal best that set a new district record by nearly a full second.
It was one of two new district records for Grossheim. He also shattered the previous district meet record in the 100 butterfly by more than two seconds, finishing in 53.12 seconds — a time he classified as only OK considering earlier this year he set a mark of 52.77 seconds at a regular season meet, which is the third fastest time in the state this season.
A state title — or two — wouldn't just make up for the demons that have haunted him for the past year, it would bring the satisfaction of knowing all the sacrifices Grossheim made for the sport were worth it.
"It would mean everything that I've done, all the hard work, it would all be worth it. This is practically my life," he said. "I come to the pool and I swim. I get hungry, I eat, I get tired, I sleep, then I come back to the pool and swim some more. It would mean everything."
And there's no way he'll be late for his races this year.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.
A closer look: Trenton Grossheim
Favorite subject in school?
Least favorite subject?
Do you have any pre-race rituals?
"I envision the race and what I need to do."
If you could have any super powers what would they be?
"I'd be a Jedi."
"Missing my event at state (again)."
Do you play any other sports?
"No, swimming is pretty much it."
Who's your favorite athlete?
Favorite TV show to steam?
"Game of Thrones."