Friday, May 17th, will begin the last of the big California High School Section Championships – the North Coast Sectional – at the Concord Community Pool; finals will be held on Saturday May 18th.
The meet will feature a matchup of the sections two powerhouse girls’ programs – Carondelet and San Ramon Valley – in a quest for the title. Carondelet has the biggest names, as their lineup includes the early UCLA commit Madison White and Chelsea Chenault, both juniors. Chenault will again be chasing the National Independent High School Record in the 200 free that she set last year in 1:45.12, though Missy Franklin has since taken it from her; but similarly to what we saw with Jasmine Tosky in the Central Coast meet, she’s got Olympic aspirations and might not be fully tapered for this meet.
They will be joined by teammate Christina Ray, who was 6th in the 100 fly at last year’s meet. By tagging on Madeleine Benevidez as a replacement breaststroker for the graduated Allison Gargakalis, they still have a chance at their own 200 Medley National Record set last year.
But last year’s champions were Sam Ramon, who used amazing depth to overcome the records of Carondelet. They do have a star of their own, however, in senior Allison Brown. The Stanford commit was 2nd in the 200 IM and 3rd in the 500 free at last year’s state meet. That 500 free could be the race of the weekend (depending on the level of Chenault’s preparation) as the two will go head-to-head in the aftermath of Catherine Breed’s graduation.
Her backup will be Marissa Neel, the top-seeded 100 butterflier in the state as a senior, and Heidi Poppe, who was runner-up at last year’s meet in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:03.27 as just a freshman. This 200 medley battle between the two will set a huge tone early-on for the team title.
There will be some other outstanding girls at this meet, including Celina Li (200 IM/100 fly) from Foothill High School (she and Neel will have a great duel in the 100 fly).
On the boys’ side, Campolindo will be looking for their 8th-straight title, and they should get off to a great start thanks to Steven Stumph in the boys’ 200 IM. The defending Champion and Section Record holder has already been faster (1:49.35) than his record (1:49.46) this season, and will be looking to attack it further in Concord.
Among other big scorers for Campolindo will be defending 100 back champion Sven Campbell (who set a Section Record in 49.73 as a sophomore last season). Campolindo also has some outstanding relays – Campbell will return with Robert Ashby and Tor Jensen to defend their title in the 400 free relay (a 3:03.97 from last year!).
This year’s boys’ meet will be the rollover of what was an incredibly young, though still very fast, meet in 2011. That starts with Granada sophomore Nick Silverthorn, who last year broke the Section record in the 200 free in only his first season with an incredible 1:37.83. This year, he will be trying to take down John Dorr’s 2001 record in the 500 free as well. He’s not on a ton of radars outside of the west coast, but he will be after this weekend.
He’ll get a good push in the 200 from Jackson Miller out of Las Lomas High, who was a decent 1:40 200 freestyler as a sophomore, but really bloomed this season and has already been a 1:36.70.
Junior Charlie Wiser will also be looking to break his own record and defend his title in the 100 breast, where last year he was a 55.27 as only a sophomore.
And for those who like the sprints, De la Salle junior David Morgan will be back to defend his 100 free title (won last year by .04 over the aforementioned Campbell). This year, he’s added the 50 to his lineup as well, dropping the 100 back, and has already been a 20.64 this season.
This boys’ meet was a record-crushing affair in 2011; and with a huge majority of those record-breakers returning this season, there’s no reason to think that will change in 2012.