Collier High School Insider: Barron Collier swimmer Mason Laur qualifies for Olympic Trials

Alex Martin Andrew Sodergren
Naples Daily News

Barron Collier junior Mason Laur hasn’t competed in many national swimming events, but he certainly made his impression felt at the Junior Nationals on the campus of Stanford University.

Competing in the 200-yard butterfly, Laur posted the top time in both the preliminary and final round in qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials, to be held in Omaha, Nebraska in June. Laur recorded a time of 1:59.25, easily eclipsing the qualifying time of 2:01.19.

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Barron Collier junior Mason Laur poses with T2 Aquatics coach Eric Nelson after Laur won the gold medal in the 200-yard butterfly at the Junior Nationals in Palo Alto, California, last month.

“This was one of the first big national events I’ve been to,” he said. “I definitely thought it was possible to reach the trials cut time, but I didn’t think I’d go that far under it. I’m super excited about it. It’s definitely nice to know all my hard work in the pool has paid off.”

A member of T2 Aquatics in Naples, Laur has been working with coach Eric Nelson in the past year on improving his starts and turns. Those efforts have resulted in shaving seconds off his time.

Laur is one of the top high school swimmers in Collier County. Last year, he finished third in the 200-yard individual medley and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly. He also swam a leg on two top-four relay teams at the state meet.

While he’d like to add an individual state gold to his rapidly improving resume, he’s more excited about the prospects of the Barron Collier relay teams. With only Oscar Madsen graduating, Laur said he likes the Cougars’ chances of improving on last year’s finishes. In one relay, the Cougars are returning all four swimmers.

“We expect our relay teams to do real damage at the state meet,” he said. “After last year, we know what to expect.”

As for what he expects at the Olympic Trials, he says he’s keeping his goals modest.

“Qualifying for the Olympics next year is a pretty big stretch,” he said. “I’m excited to go there, get some experience and keep improving my time. If I was ever to make a run at the Olympics, 2024 would be much more realistic than next year.”

Volleyball, swimmers to watch in 2019

With the fall sports season under way, the Naples Daily News recently released videos highlighting athletes to watch in swimming and volleyball.

In swimming, five boys and five girls were selected — all of whom qualified a year ago. Laur highlighted the boys list and was one of three Barron Collier swimmers selected. His two top five individual finishes at state and two top-four relay finishes were the best among returning swimmers. The other Barron swimmers selected were Andrew Garner and Anton Sunyak. Community School's Matt Molloy and Palmetto Ridge sophomore Colton Rasmussen rounded out the boys list.

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On the girls side, St. John Neumann senior Maddy Burt highlighted the list. Burt finished second in the Class 1A state meet last year in the 100-yard butterfly and third in the 50 freestyle. Joining her on the list were Barron Collier's Madison Feehery and Gulf Coast swimmers Brooke Boling, Rachel Moran and Olivia Owens.

Most of the area's top swimmers will be in action this weekend at the Shark Relays.

For volleyball, five outstanding returners were highlighted, First Baptist senior Jordan Benoit, Barron Collier junior Skylar English, Naples senior Lily Grasso, Gulf Coast senior Carly Richards and Seacrest freshman Breanah Rives.

Benoit helped the Lions win a regional championship last year after recording 270 kills, 41 aces and 299 digs. English, the Naples Daily News Volleyball Player of the Year last year, helped the Cougars to another regional title with 335 kills and 103 aces. Grasso was Naples' top player last  year, registering 260 kills, 144 digs and 47 aces. The youngest player on the list, Rives turned in a dominant eighth-grade season with FBA, racking up 290 kills, 224 digs and 55 aces. She transferred to Seacrest in the offseason. The Sharks' setter, Richards was a steady presence last year with 656 assists, 127 digs and 38 aces on a Gulf Coast team that went 18-9 and advanced to regionals.

Matches postponed due to Hurricane Dorian

A slate of volleyball matches had to be postponed on Tuesday due to Collier County Public Schools announcing that school and all after-school activities were to be cancelled. The following volleyball matches were affected, with some yet to be rescheduled:

  • Barron Collier (4-0) at Fort Myers (3-0) (rescheduled to 9/18)
  • Community School (3-0) at Naples (3-1)
  • First Baptist (2-0) at Oasis (1-4) (rescheduled to 9/13)
  • Palmetto Ridge (4-2) at Canterbury (5-0) (rescheduled to 9/6)
  • Immokalee (0-4) at Estero (1-5)
  • Golden Gate (5-3) at St. John Neumann (2-3)
  • Mason Classical Academy (0-1) at Everglades City (1-1)

Follow Naples Daily News sports writers Alex Martin and Andrew Sodergren on Twitter: @NP_AlexMartin and @NDN_ASodergren. For more coverage on sports in Southwest Florida, follow @ndnprepzone on Instagram and @NDN_PrepZone on Twitter.