Thanks to Amanda Smith for leading our coverage of the California Central Coast Section Championships this weekend.
CCS finals kicked off this afternoon. It seemed that Bellarmine boys are set up very well to repeat as team champions this year (for the 27th straight season, no less), but for the girls, it could come down to a few key events for the title.
Kicking off the night was the girl’s 200-yard medley relay. The top three finishers were separated by just .5 of a second, and all finished in a differently than preliminaries. Pioneer came away with the win, dropping over two seconds to finish at 1:44.32, Menlo-Atherton was second with 1:45.50, and Presentation at 1:45.84 to finish third. The defending team champions of Gunn, fell a spot from prelims to finish in 6th. The boys of Bellarmine came out ready for business, and raced SFHS down to the wire and came out on top 1:32.06 to 1:32.15. The two teams were three seconds over the competitors in third, from Saint Ignatius at 1:35.52.
Four girls dropped under the 1:50 mark in the 200-yard freestyle relay, with a great swim by Gunn’s Jennifer Campbell. She swam a 1:46.35 to finish first, over Catherine Ladd from Willow Glen, 1:48.46. Aidan Burns from Bellarmine won the boys 200 freestyle in 1:37.25 easily over SFHS’s Benjamin Ho, 1:39.07. Ho is only a freshman, and Burns is only a sophomore, so there’s plenty of great battles to be had between the two.
Burns would go on to win two events, and would serve as a big boost to Bellarmine’s future: he transferred from another Central Coast program at Saratoga High School, where he placed 3rd in the 500 free as a freshman last year.
Ally Howe from Sacred Heart Preparatory was the only sub 2-minute finisher in the girls 200 individual medley at 1:58.23. That leaves her with a goal of dropping three tenths of a second during her senior season next year to get Jasmine Tosky’s Central Coast Section Record. Leah Goldman from Burlingame was close to the barrier finishing second with 2:00.61. Curtis Ogren from SFHS blew away the field with 1:45.01, over five seconds ahead Michael Messner from Bellarmine at 1:50.40.
For Ogren, that time was a new National Independent High School Record, breaking the 1:45.27 set by Matt Thompson of Dallas Jesuit in Texas, who just completed his NCAA eligibility at Stanford. Ogren, who is just a junior at St. Francis, is still well shy of David Nolan’s unthinkable overall record of 1:41. The old Central Coast Record, incidentally, also belonged to Ogren from prelims of this meet on Friday.
The comparative splits are below. While Thompson was better at nearly every single stroke, Ogren is the prototype of the Caitlin-Leverenz/Eric-Shanteau type of IM’er who gets through the first 100 without expending a whole lot of energy and takes it all back on the breaststroke leg.
The sprint event of the night went to Linnea Mack from Pioneer, dropping yet another tenth in finals, swimming a 22.64. Brooke Stenstrom from Menlo-Atherton finished .01 ahead of Sarah Kaunitz from Monta Vista, 23.23 to 23.24. Monta Vista also got great team points from Carly Reid finishing in fourth place. Five swimmers in the boys 50 finished under 21 seconds. Palo Alto’s Andrew Liang took first in 20.64, then Jackson Locke from Bellarmine at 20.85 in second. Ivan Garin, Carlmont at 20.95, Cooper Burrill, Bellarmine, at 20.97, and Scott Jollymour, Sacred Heart Preparatory, at 20.99 rounded out the top five sub 21 finishers.
The 100-yard butterfly turned out a great race between the top two swimmers, and then the remaining six as well. Leah Goldman dropped almost four seconds from her time coming into the meet to top the top seed Linnea Mack. Goldman finished 53.69 to Mack’s 53.88; the next six swimmers were only separated by a little over a second, with Marie-Pierre Delisle from Mitty taking third in 55.27. Andrew Liang swam back-to-back wins with his first place 100 butterfly time of 47.19, over Christopher Schaeffer, 48.90, from Bellarmine.
Catherine Ladd from Willow Glen broke 50 seconds to finish 49.74 in the girl’s 100-yard freestyle, over Monta Vista’s Carly Reid at 50.43. The boys of Bellarmine started to run away with the meet at this point, sweeping 1-3 in the boys 100 freestyle. Jackson Locke was first, 45.14, followed by Timothy Kou, 45.96, and Cooper Burrill in third with 45.98.
Onto the distance event of the night, Sandra Soe from Pioneer swam under 4:50 in finals with 4:48.95. Elise Locke from Presentation cut nearly six second from her preliminaries time to finish 4:50.02, to Sarah Shimomura at 4:5012, but dropped over 14 seconds from her prelim time. Gunn’s Jennifer Campbell finished in fourth at 4:51.64, the last sub 5-minute finisher in the field. Bellarmine showed their dominance in the sprints, and Aidan Burns was able to rule the pool in the distance event, beating his competition by eleven seconds. He finished 4:22.53 over Daichi Matsuda from Gunn who was 4:33.41.
For the second relay of the night, Monta Vista topped the field finishing 1:34.85 in the 200-yard freestyle relay. This was valuable points for them in regards to the team race, and gave them a slight lead at this point. Bellarmine went 2/2 in the relays, with their strength in the sprints, finished 1:23.78, a second ahead of Saint Ignatius 1:24.76.
Ally Howe from Sacred Heart Preparatory swam an incredible 52.32 in the girl’s 100-yard backstroke. That time would have placed her in the top 16 at the NCAA Championships this past March, and broke the Central Coast Section Record. She’s another in this rising, talented group of backstrokers that seems to be congregating in California at different levels of the sport. The old record belonged to her at a 53.11 from last year’s meet, and she was just .02 seconds away from Missy Franklin’s National Independent High School Record.
Benjamin Ho from SFHS won the boys 100 back in 49.00. Palo Alto finished 2nd and 6th with William Lee at 49.76 and Winston Wang in 52.35. Bellarmine had the third and fourth finishers with Christopher Schaeffer and Matt Webster.
As we predicted yesterday, the girl’s 100-yard breaststroke was a great race, with Heidi Katter holding onto her top seed to win tonight for Castilleja HS, with 1:02.13 over Sarah Kaunitz from Monta Vita, 1:02.30. Monta Vista also earned team points with a fifth and tenth place finishes, which allowed them to pull away from their fellow competitors for the team title. SFHS had another CIF champion in Curtis Ogren taking top honors with a great swim of 53.90 in the men’s 100 breaststroke, breaking a second Central Coast Section Record.
Concluding the night was the 400 freestyle relays for both genders. While the women had three different top seeds heading into finals, Monta Vista completed their sweep of the relays tonight. They edged Pioneer by .5, to finish 3:27.05 to 3:27.05. This win clinched the team title, beating out Pioneer 223 to 185 points.
With a one, two, three sweep in the individual 100 freestyle, no bets were against the boys of Bellarmine. They finished first, completing a relay sweep, in 3:00.89. Second place went to SFHS at 3:05.04. Bellarmine lead wire to wire in the meet, taking the team title with 375 points over second place Palo Alto, who finished with 227 points. Bellarmine now had 29 CIF CCS titles in a row to their name; quiet an impressive run for high school swimming.
Final Team Standings
1. Monta Vista – 223
2. Pioneer – 185
3. Archbishop Mitty – 176
4. Menlo-Atherton – 175
5. Gunn – 173
1. Bellarmine Prep – 375
2. Palo Alto – 227
3. Monta Vista – 183
4. St. Francis – 182
5. St. Ignatius – 156