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Injury keeps North grad from title shot

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Saturday night was frustrating for Cody Taylor.

After his U.S. teammates won every boys race in the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships on Maui, Hawaii, Taylor could only watch as Japan’s Ryuya Mura took the gold medal in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Taylor was the No. 1 seed in the event going into the championships. But he aggravated a knee injury in the preliminaries and was forced to watch from the sidelines.

“I was disappointed because, on the guys side of things, we had a very good chance at winning every race, and the only race we didn’t win was the 200 breast,” Taylor said. “That was very, very difficult that night watching that race and knowing I could have won it and keep our streak alive; but obviously, I couldn’t do it injured.”

The Columbus North graduate and Indiana University freshman was swimming with the leaders in his preliminary heat when he aggravated the injury while making a turn at the 100-meter mark.

“My middle turn, I could start to feel it a little bit, and my third 50, it felt even worse,” Taylor said. “Then, the last 50, it was unbearable.

“The last 100, I couldn’t kick at all,” he said. “It was excruciating. I had to get help walking over to the video review place. They got me in a brace and got me icing and ibuprofen.”

Taylor still qualified for the B-Final with the 12th-fastest time, a 2 minute, 18.18-second clocking. He considered swimming in the event, but coaches advised him against it.

“The team doctor and the managers told me it’s not worth it to try to swim that because I have college season coming up,” Taylor said.

On Thursday, Taylor finished seventh in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.94. He had qualified sixth in a personal-best 1:02.90.

“This was my first international competition, so it was nice to score,” Taylor said.

Taylor qualified for the Junior Pan Pacific meet by being the top 18-and-under swimmer in the 200 breaststroke in this summer’s national championships in California. He was the ninth-fastest overall in the event.

The following two days at nationals, Taylor swam the 50 breaststroke and 100 breaststroke but did not place.

“I didn’t do anywhere near enough warmdown from that (200 breaststroke),” Taylor said. “Then when I got back to my hotel, I started sweating, and my heart rate went up and I didn’t get to sleep until like 2 in the morning. I knew right then I hadn’t done what I needed to do and had a lactic acid buildup.”

After returning from nationals, Taylor practiced with Donner Swim Club and North coach Jim Sheridan. He then went to IU and practiced with freshman teammate Blake Pieroni for a week before flying to Hawaii for the Pan Pacific meet.

Before they left for Hawaii, IU coach Ray Looze told Taylor and Pieroni, who also swam in the Pan Pacific meet, that they’d have a mandatory week off from swimming this week and then an optional week next week. Taylor was to meet with an IU trainer at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and if anything serious was discovered, she was going to send him to a doctor.

“Last time that this happened (in May), it didn’t take very long to recover,” Taylor said. “It felt exactly the same as it did then. My coaches all talked to me, and they said there’s very little chance that anything major will happen. So we’re just going to get it back to normal, and I’ll be good to go.”

A two-time state high school state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, Taylor swam a state-record 54.24 as a senior. He also finished second behind Pieroni in the 200 individual medley and swam on North’s runner-up 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams to lead the Bull Frogs to a fourth-place team finish.

Taylor’s goal remains to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

“The big reason that Ray Looze wanted me to do this is because it would be very valuable international experience,” Taylor said. “I have my sights set on Rio, so this was a great experience for me.”

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