Kofa's Duran tops freestyle events in meet
Chace Williams has one goal.
“I’m tired of coming in second,” Williams said. “I want to be No. 1.”
Golf legend Walter Hagen once said no one remembers who came in second, but what irritates Williams more is he’s almost always finishing behind the same swimmer.
That person is none other than Kofa senior Jonathan Duran.
Unfortunately for Williams, he’s going to have to wait another day for top distinction as he was runner-up to Duran in a pair of races on a cool and cloudy Tuesday afternoon in a tri-meet between Gila Ridge, Kofa and Yuma High at Marcus Pool.
Duran was less than four-tenths of a second better than Williams in the boys 50-meter freestyle (23.63 seconds to Williams’ 23.98) and nearly two full seconds better in the 100-meter free (Duran’s 52.49 to Williams’ 54.33).
“I was taking it easy today,” Duran said. “I didn’t feel really well coming into the meet, but I’m preparing for state.”
Despite the disappointment, Williams’ Gila Ridge teammates accumulated 142 points for the victory. Kofa racked up 110 points for second place and Yuma followed with 41. On the girls side, the three schools finished in the same order led by Gila Ridge’s 137 points.
Adding fuel to the fire were Duran’s comments 10 days ago after winning the 50 free and the 100 free at the Criminal Invitational. Duran said he has not faced fierce competition this year, which is unlike past years.
Duran reiterated the comment Tuesday.
“There’s no competition in the four schools here in Yuma,” Duran said. “There’s competition in Phoenix. There’s crazy, crazy competition.”
Williams and his family, though, don’t feel the same way.
“He didn’t have competition (my) freshman or sophomore year,” Williams said. “But this year, I’m right on his tail.”
Williams said his parents were angry about Duran’s comment and proceeded to buy him proteins and a new $200 swimsuit. Williams also said his mother has him on a new workout regimen that includes pull-ups and abdominal work.
“She wakes me up at like 4:30 in the morning,” Williams said. “We go running and I do workouts there. Before I go to bed, I’ll do another couple of workouts.”
In past offseasons, Duran and Williams swim for the local club team, the Yuma Heat. They both admit their association as teammates has helped them forge a friendship. This was evident when the two shared a fist bump Tuesday after the 100 free.
Furthermore, Duran said his comments aren’t meant to insult Yuma swimmers. Duran said Williams, Cibola’s Andrew Russell-Cheung and Danny Russell-Cheung, and Kofa’s Emily Hieber and Julia Herzog are some of the top swimmers in the area. They are also Duran’s teammates on Yuma Heat.
“They are all friends,” Duran said. “I got about 25 friends in all four teams.”
Despite their friendship, Williams wouldn’t mind flipping their roles in the pool.
“I’m chasing him but soon, hopefully, he’ll be chasing me,” he said. “I’m hoping to make regions a really good race.”