Ryan Husband burst upon the high school state swim competition like a cannonball from the high dive board, and he continued making waves for four straight years.
The Bentonville High senior who has signed with Auburn ended his remarkable prep swim career by holding four individual and team state records. He capped his run with three more state championships and a state record to earn the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Boys Swimmer of the Year award for the second straight year.
ALL-STATE SWIM AND DIVE
Gavin Lindley^Arkansas Arts Academy
Kaden Chase^Bentonville West
David Reynolds^LR Central
Elliot LaBeau^LR Central
Jack Forrest^LR Central
Mathew Nguyen^LR Central
Matthew Li^LR Central
Nathan Bright^LR Central
Nicholas Heye^LR Central
Youssef Bahgat^LR Central
Aidan Glass^Haas Hall-Fayetteville
Eben Sanders^Hot Springs
Adam Albrecht^Lake Hamilton
Aiden Qualls^Lake Hamilton
Ethan Smith^Lake Hamilton
Noah Smith^Lake Hamilton
Logan Rhea^Hot Springs Lakeside
Brian Simmons^Lisa Academy
Aiden Ross^Little Rock Christian
Eli Johns^Little Rock Christian
John Issac Majors^Little Rock Christian
Jordan Jones^Little Rock Christian
Hudson Pace^Mountain Home
Harrison Losh^Siloam Springs
Javier Chavez^Siloam Springs
Malachi Becan^Siloam Springs
Owen Thomas^Siloam Springs
Will Gryder^Siloam Springs
Ethan Spillers^Subiaco Academy
Cade Rivers^Valley View
Reese Graham^Valley View
Ty Boren^Valley View
William Little^Valley View
"My high school career has been everything I hoped for," Husband said. "Coming in my freshman year, I wanted to make an impact, and I was able to do that."
In 2017 as a freshman, Husband set the bar high. Individually, he won the 200 free, narrowly missing the state record. He was on the winning 200 medley and 400 free relay teams, the latter shattering the state record at 3:08.24 to help the Tigers claim the state team title. His fourth gold of the day came in the 100 free, when he broke Ellis Miller's mark in 45.59.
The following year, he added three more golds in the 100 free, 200 free and the 400 free relay, then duplicated that feat as a junior, adding another state record, this time in the 200 free, again breaking Miller's record in 1:39.03.
With a scholarship to Auburn already secure, Husband continued his assault on the state record books. At the state meet in February, he again scored the hat trick with three more golds, and added his fourth state record with his 44.91 run as the opening leg on the winning 400 free relay.
"I'm proud of what I've done, but having a good time with my team has been just as important," Husband said. "There's really nothing else I could ask for."
Husband started swimming competitively at the age of 7 in Minnesota. He said encouragement from a former coach is what made him ramp up his training and has him on the brink of an Olympic Trails berth this summer.
"I've always had a natural talent for swimming," he said. "But after he told me that, I realized that natural talent was only going to get me so far. I had to put in more work and that helped me with my work ethic."
Gavin Jernigan was much later to the pool, not taking up diving until his junior year. But the Bentonville senior caught up in a hurry and capped his career with a state diving championship in February to earn Boys Diver of the Year honors for the NWA Democrat-Gazette.
"I was a gymnast before I got into diving," Jernigan said. "I was always used to flipping and that kind of stuff, so diving was an easy transition. I just had to learn the basics."
As a junior Jernigan finished third at the state meet, but he was atop the gold platform as a senior with 400.85 points.
Jernigan plans to attend the University of Arkansas in the fall, reluctantly leaving diving behind.
"They don't have men's diving at Arkansas," Jernigan said. "If they did, I would totally do it. But I'm just going to focus on my education.
"Diving has taught me a lot, like keeping your cool. One slight mess-up and it's over. So you have to really stay focused on every aspect."
Sports on 03/23/2020
Print Headline: Husband caps career with fourth state record