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Ferry’s Bolinger Rewrites Record Book

Junior is owner of two Purple Riders marks

Photo by Kyle Lutz Martins Ferry’s Jarrett Bolinger owns the school record in the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle.

WHEELING — Last season, when he was just a sophomore, Martins Ferry’s Jarrett Bolinger already put his name in the record books. Ironically, breaking records became a reoccurring theme throughout the season, most impressively when he was on the biggest stages.

Bolinger broke the school record in the100 breaststroke on three occasions. The first time came at the OVAC meet. He then broke his own record at sectionals and one last time on the biggest state of them all — the state meet, where he touched the wall in an eye-popping time of 1:00.63.

To make things even more impressive, he also has the school record in the 50 freestyle.

“Last year was kind of like the climax of my high school career,” Bolinger said. “I put a lot of work in over the summer, winter and bettered myself every day. Breaking those records meant a lot because some of those were pretty old and we haven’t had a swimmer from Ferry do that in a while.”

At the state meet, Bolinger placed 18th.

“The energy in that building was really electric,” Bolinger said. “It was kind of overwhelming, but I put my cap and goggles, went out there, swam my own race and bettered myself.”

And bettered himself he has. At the Brooke Winter Invitational on Dec. 27, he swam the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:05.09.

According to Martins Ferry coach Nicholas Levi, Bolinger did not reach that time last season until January.

His 1:05.09 time at Brooke was one of two individual victories where he also touched the wall first in the 100 freestyle. He also tied for first in the individual rankings with 16 points.

“It’s going really well,” Bolinger said about his junior year. “My team has put in a lot of work in and out of the pool, whether it’s dry land or swim practice. I’m really proud to say I can be a part of this team. We have good coaches and good staff that encourages us to go out there and do our best.”

With so much success this season, not many would know that he faced some adversity during the summer and going into his junior year.

“Jarrett has really come along the last couple of years,” Levi said. “He works hard at practice, puts the time in and improving. He was out all summer. He had a broken hand, so he wasn’t able to do any training for a couple of months. He got back into it and has been really working hard, putting up some really good times, especially in the breaststroke. In some times, he’s way past where he was last year at the same point.”

Like in a handful of great athletes’ careers, injuries come around. However, Bolinger kept a positive mindset.

It was just in November where he came off the blocks for the first time in about nine months.

“His first meet was a month ago,” Levi said after the Brooke Winter Invitational. “His first meet in almost nine months. I remember the first time he went off the blocks in November/October back when practice started, that was the first time he went off in about nine months. Getting back into the swing of things, it took a week or two to get the feeling back and he was able to get some training and get ready for the rest of the season.”

And ready he is. Not only is he on pace to break his 100 breaststroke record, he is also in arms reach of getting the 100 freestyle record as well.

With that said, his current seed time is faster for the OVAC meet than it was last year. During his sophomore campaign, he won the conference title in the 100 freestyle along while securing gold at sectionals.

“I just look at my time every time before I went up to race my race and just say, ‘Let’s go get it again.’ By my senior year, I wanted to have that record so that it gives a challenge for another swimmer to come up and try to beat that record,” Bolinger said. “I just see it, look at a time, go after a time and work your hardest. The work will pay off, really.”

As for goals for the rest of the season, the humbled Bolinger kept it simple.

“Just keep bettering myself, keep lowering my times and be in a positive attitude on the team,” he said.

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