Torrey Pines’ Logan Noguchi, a ‘once-in-a-decade-type talent,’ turns focus to new event

Torrey Pines' Logan Noguchi
Torrey Pines’ Logan Noguchi swims in the 200-yard IM championship at May’s CIF swimming championships.
(Denis Poroy/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Torrey Pines’ Logan Noguchi turns to the 100 butterfly as he prepares for next month’s section championships


After setting two San Diego Section boys swim records last season, Torrey Pines High School junior Logan Noguchi is poised to establish yet another mark this season.

This time, he wants to do it in a different event.

The holder of the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke records, Noguchi has the 100 butterfly as a target as well as returning in the 100 back for his two individual races in the section championships May 3-6 at Granite Hills.

Noguchi has already sent notice of bigger accomplishments ahead, setting two meet records in the 100 fly (47.85) and the 100 back (48.14) at the March 18 Mission Viejo Invitational.

This all came in the early stages of a two-year plan that includes a commitment to compete at Princeton and hopes of vying in next year’s Olympic Trials.

“Logan’s probably a once-in-a-decade-type talent,” said Torrey Pines coach Richard Contreras. “He’s a very talented young man, hard working, really consistent. He’s passionate about swimming and what he’s doing.”

The Mission Viejo Meet was big for Noguchi.

“That was super cool to excel in a meet you’re not supposed to go ‘really fast’ at,” Noguchi said. “To actually drop in my 100 back time was nuts. But I was rolling and it felt great.”

Noguchi originally focused on playing soccer as a youth, it figured he might gravitate to the pool, given his family’s interest in water activities. He followed his younger brother, Gavin, into swim training at age 10.

“Actually it’s pretty funny,” Noguchi said. “I hated swimming early on. It was like everything about it was painful — cold water, late nights, early mornings. So for about a year and a half, like right when I started, it was like pretty difficult.”

Noguchi began reaching high levels within two years. Along the way, he has become a multi-purpose swimmer on purpose.

“For my training, there’s a saying that you’re never confined to one stroke,” Noguchi said. “You’re not like one type of swimmer. You have to train every single stroke at all distances. So I have a really good mix of everything.”

His favorite has become the 200 fly, which he does in club competition. In turn, that leads to the 100 fly offered in high school. It’s an event that has been the hallmark of section swimming over the last decade with the record broken four times.

The current mark (47.52) was set in 2019 by the Falcons’ Stephan Lukashev, currently at Notre Dame. Lukashev and Noguchi trained together on the same club team.

Ahead of this prep season, Noguchi set his 100 fly best (47.84) in a major club meet.

“I definitely know I can go sub-47,’’ Noguchi said. “I don’t think that’s much of a problem.’’

Torrey Pines' Logan Noguchi has committed to swim at Princeton.
Torrey Pines’ Logan Noguchi has committed to swim at Princeton.
(Logan Noguchi)

As befits a future Ivy League student, Noguchi has been known to take an analytical approach to swimming. His parents typically record his races for future study, and he heads to the internet to stream the performances of top swimmers.

“I do try to implement what they’re doing in my stroke to get better,” the 5-foot-9½ Noguchi said. “I have a big emphasis on technique, and that’s a really big portion of why I’ve become successful.

“I know swimming is only for so long, so I set myself up really nicely for later on in life with whichever career I end up choosing. I wanted to find a school that’s really strong academically, and where I can excel swimming-wise. Princeton’s a happy medium with both.”

A week ahead of last year’s section meet, Noguchi became ill and spent time away from the pool before returning for the Wednesday prelims. By the Saturday finals, he was back in full health.

Noguchi proceeded to set the records in the 200 IM (1:48.55) and the 100 back (48.36) with a repeat title in the latter event.

“The records weren’t really too much on my mind then,” Noguchi said. “I just went to do my best and then whatever the outcome was. I know that’s pretty cliche, but it takes the pressure off knowing that you gave your best.”

Noguchi would improve in the 200 IM (1:47.96) by placing fourth in the state meet the next week.

This year’s San Diego Section meet may also include Noguchi’s brother, who has entered the prep ranks competing at The Grauer School in Encinitas.

Along with bids for further records, Noguchi is set to spearhead the Torrey Pines boys in the quest for their eighth straight Division I championship this season.

Noguchi typically has eight training sessions per week during the season with doubleheaders on two days. Over the calendar year, he splits time between his club and prep teams.

“If you’re going into swimming, you’ve got to find a really good training group,” Noguchi said. “Those are my best friends I train with. We’re grinding it out, all pushing each other and really trying to be the best that we can be every single day. It’s getting through the hard times and having fun while doing it.”

A hallmark event

The boys 100-yard butterfly has become a hallmark event in San Diego Section swimming, with four swimmers breaking the record since 2015. Now Torrey Pines junior Logan Noguchi (47.84) is challenging to do so this season. Here’s breakdown of the recent record holders:
Swimmer/High School/Time/Year/College
Michael Salazar/Valhalla/48.50/2015/Ohio State
Liam McCloskey/La Costa Canyon/47.78/2015/Auburn
Brendan Santana/University City/47.57/2017/Notre Dame/Arizona
Stephan Lukashev/Torrey Pines/47.52/2019/Notre Dame
Note: Ethan Hu, of San Jose Harker, set the state meet record (45.72) in 2019. He currently competes at Stanford.

Thien is a freelance writer.