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Putting the 'fin' in Findlay

Ryan Randall can now chase a new record.

The recent Merced High graduate spent his high school career trying to break the school 200-yard freestyle record.

However, Bart Frey's time of 1 minute and 44.11 seconds still stands.

Randall will now take aim at the Findlay University 200 record.

Randall recently accepted a swimming scholarship to Findlay.

"Their school record is just two hundredths of a second faster than the record at the high school," Randall said. "I saw all their records when I visited the campus. They have them posted in their indoor pool facility. I still have a goal to beat."

It's funny how life plays out.

Randall had never heard of Findlay, which is located in Ohio.

He thought he was set to accept swimming scholarship to another school, but the financial aid package fell through late.

It came during a rough close to the swimming season for Randall.

Randall was all set to make a run at the record at the Sac-Joaquin Section championships in May.

However, just before the 200 preliminary race, he had a wardrobe malfunction.

Randall's $300 swimsuit ripped.

"That's the race I trained for all year," Randall said. "I shaved and tapered for it. It was tough. I was so upset.

"I was behind my starting block with my hands covering my face. My coach was trying to calm me down. I had worked so hard for it."

Randall finished the prelims with a time of 1:46.13.

Shortly after, he found out he couldn't accept a 60 percent scholarship to Gannon University.

"Everything crashed on me," Randall said. "I couldn't take the offer because I would take on too much debt.

"It was a little bit of bad luck, but I wasn't going to let it get to me. My dad teaches at Merced College. If that was my backup plan, it was a good one."

Then out of nowhere he heard from Findlay University.

Randall took a recruiting visit the day after he finished his finals and fell in love with the school.

With his grades, Randall was able to get academic scholarships that combined with his swimming scholarships will cover over 90 percent of his costs.

Randall leaves Merced after a decorated swimming career. He won seven individual Central California Conference championships in his four years, including four straight 200 freestyle titles. He was also 45-1 in dual meets with his only loss coming to Golden Valley phenom Justin Carter in the 200 during Randall's freshman year.

"I'm beyond happy that everything worked out for me at the school," Randall said. "I want to be a teacher and a swim coach. At Findlay, I'll be able to be a dual major and only have to take three extra classes.

"Everyone there is so nice. I'm in contact with over half of the swim team. They want me to get out there early so I can get introduced to everybody and get used to the campus."

He just needs enough time to save up for a new swimsuit.