A year ago, Bob Glover wasn’t allowed anywhere near a swimming pool.
Then a junior at Millard South, Glover was confined to his home for two weeks with mononucleosis. He couldn’t attend classes, let alone practice or compete.
Glover is back and almost better than ever, creeping closer to all-time chart performances with a little more than six weeks to go in the swimming season.
“Just being in the pool, I’m already ahead because this time last year I was pretty sick,” Glover said. “Every day I get the chance to swim I try to get closer and closer to the best possible race I can have.”
So far that plan is working. The Indiana recruit is ranked first in the state in the 100-yard butterfly (52.26 seconds), 100 backstroke (51.35) and 200 individual medley (2:00.94).
Glover also is a member of two relays — the 200 medley and 200 freestyle — that have state-best times halfway through the season.
The Patriots’ 200 medley last weekend won the Larry Hill Ram Relays in 1:36.33, 0.23 seconds from making The World-Herald’s all-time top 10. Glover’s 100 fly time is 1.93 seconds faster than anyone else this season, and his time in the 100 backstroke is 3.88 seconds ahead of second place.
Glover’s ability to go so fast so early is no surprise to Millard South coach Tyler Hammond, though it wasn’t until August or September that Glover finally had put the potential of a mono relapse behind him.
“The way he’s been training since Nov. 12, the first day of practice, I’ve never seen an athlete this focused and determined,” Hammond said. “I haven’t seen any effects left over from last year. He lost a lot of weight but he hit the weight room hard starting in the spring and has his muscle mass back up.”
Glover’s 100 backstroke time would make him seventh on the all-time chart — if he wasn’t already in second place. At the 2012 state meet, Glover finished second to Omaha Creighton Prep’s Will Raynor in 49.92 as they became the first two swimmers in state history to go under 50 seconds in that event.
When coach and athlete met at the start of the season, Glover declined to place a limit on how low he thought his times could go. That decision caught Hammond by surprise, because he thought Glover at least would say something better than the 49.43 Raynor swam to win the 100 back at state.
“I don’t want to put any limit on a time,” Glover said. “Obviously it would be great to get a state record. Who wouldn’t want to do that? We always just try to swim as fast as he can.”
That’s one reason Hammond isn’t worried that Glover is going too fast too soon. Another reason is that Glover is always focused on finding ways to get better with every part of his races.
Hammond can see it in Glover’s first swim of every meet — the leadoff backstroke leg of the 200 medley relay. At the Ram Relays, Glover touched in 23.1, 0.8 seconds faster than he did three weeks earlier at the Lincoln Southeast Invitational.
Last year at state, Glover started Millard South’s sprint to a gold medal with a 22.97 split. With six more weeks to prepare for his final high school races, Glover is ready to ditch the shadow of illness that lingered at the 2012 state meet.
“He’s just going to keep grinding and we’ll change his training this month,” Hammond said. “(He’ll) work on the middle 50 of the 100 back. He’s not satisfied with the freestyles and the fly. He’s working to leave a legacy at Millard South.”
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