The statement that provided the biggest insight into Colin Bone was one he made casually.
“If I didn’t swim, I have no idea what I’d do,” Bone admitted.
Fortunately, Catholic High and Bone don’t have to worry about that for a while.
Bone is a typical 16-year-old high school junior in many ways. He likes to tinker with computers and work on his jeep.
The pool is Bone’s domain. He helped the Bears win the past two Division I state titles and was voted the Capital City Swim League’s Outstanding Boys Swimmer as a freshman and a sophomore.
“He is on track to be one of the best swimmers Catholic High has ever had,” Catholic coach Doug Logsdon said. “It will be interesting to see where he goes to school. He’ll have a lot of good offers. I would imagine schools like Auburn, Stanford and Texas will be after him.”
First, a prospective college must catch Bone, something competitors know is not an easy task. It’s all about the times the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder has recorded, which now offer a huge contrast to his first swimming experiences.
“My sister swam summer league and my mom wanted me to swim,” Bone said. “I started when I was four or five. I’d cry because I didn’t want to get in the pool. When we were done, I didn’t want to get out.
“I started swimming year round at seven or eight. I played soccer in kindergarten, baseball in second grade and third grade. And I played basketball in fifth grade, but swimming always stuck.”
While helping the Bears to the Division I title last fall Bone didn’t just win, he set records. He set a composite/all divisions record of 1 minute, 38.58 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle.
That 200 time ranked 22nd nationally and was third among high school sophomores. Bone also set a record in the 500 freestyle (4:35.58) and teamed with Nick Seagraves, Brady Grenfell and Lance Michael Rodriguez to post a record time of 3:09.22 in the 400 freestyle relay. There was an added bonus. By swimming the leadoff leg on the 400 free relay in 46.30 seconds, Bone set another Division I record, this one in the 100 freestyle.
“I knew it was a good year,” Bone said. “I knew I dropped my times. It wasn’t until people started telling me how good it (season) was that I started to understand it more. I don’t like to talk about my swimming that much. It can come across as bragging. I know I can still work to get better.”
Catholic High started its 2014 season last weekend in impressive fashion, scoring 467 points in a CCSL tipoff meet that didn’t feature relays or the 500 freestyle. For once, Bone wasn’t a double winner. He won the 50 freestyle in 22.07, impressive for a swimmer who excels in middle distances. Placing second to Grenfell in the 100 butterfly by a fraction of a second was no big deal.
“He’s got an amazing aerobic base from swimming the 200 free and the 500 free,” Logsdon said of Bone. “Doing events like that, especially early in the year, is part of becoming a better swimmer. We get a chance to see how other guys do in those events.”
One of Logsdon’s biggest goals — seeing him become more of a vocal leader — may be one of the toughest for the soft-spoken Bone. He is taking on the challenge.
“I think we have a lot of great teammates,” Bone said. “There’s friendly competition, but we all try to help each other too. Everyone is supportive. I give other guys advice, but I keep it general. What specifically works for me might not work for them. I try to be a good role model.”
Since Sept. 1, colleges have been able to contact Bone, and he’s gotten a number of letters and emails. Logsdon mentions a letter from Virginia Tech that came to the school. Bone said he’s open to recruiting options but isn’t favoring any. His concentration, and that of the Bears, is on Saturday’s McGill-Toolen Invitational in Mobile, Alabama, where they’ll face Jesuit, winner of 30 state titles and the runner-up to Catholic the past two years in Division I.
“The focus has to be on where we need to go from here to get to that point where we’re ready for the championship season,” Bone said. “This is the start.”