The 50-yard freestyle has become one of swimming's glamour races.
It's the length of the pool, and a return to where they started -- there and back again. It's a flurry of splashing where the slightest mistake is the difference between first and fifth.
"It's an all-out, everything-you-have, wall-to-wall race," Beyer senior Cody Blevins said.
Blevins should know. He enters today's Sac-Joaquin Section boys swimming trials at Lodi's Tokay High School as the top seed in the 50 free. Swimming begins at 10 a.m. The top eight in each event qualify for the finals of Saturday's boys and girls championships, also at Tokay at 10 a.m.
Several other Stanislaus District swimmers are the top seeds heading into today's finals: Downey's R.J. Barton (100 free), Beyer's David LaFlamme (100 butterfly), Golden Valley's Justin Carter (100 backstroke) and Downey's Tim Richard (200 individual medley).
Blevins said one of the things he enjoys most about the 50 free is the thin margin of error.
"You miss one thing, and that's it," he said. "It's too fast of a race to make anything up."
He placed sixth in the section last year, but his fastest time, a 22.33, has been improved -- he qualified for today's trials with a 21.49.
He spent much of the offseason in the weight room, adding about 25 pounds of muscle.
"There's more of me going through the water, but I still felt lighter," he said. "And my times dropped about a second."
Beyer coach Kirk Lindsay said Blevins has developed into a complete swimmer.
"It's been fun watching Cody develop," he said. "He's completely focused out there."
This is the first time in several years that the majority of the top seeds going into the trials are from the southern half of the section. Carter, along with Downey's Karlee Bispo on the girls side, has qualified for this summer's Olympic Trials.
"There are a lot of good swimmers out there," Lindsay said. "It's going to be an interesting Saturday."