2019 CIF Boys Prelims: Ben Dillard Goes 53.16 to Break 100 Breast Record

2019 California Interscholastic Federation Swimming & Diving Championships

Unlike the girls’ meet, which went pretty much as expected, the boys’ prelims session on Friday, May 10 at 2019 CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships was full of surprises. To begin with, a couple of swimmers were absent from the competition. Jonah Cooper from Foothill (Pleasanton) did not swim on Friday. In addition to being #1 seed in the 100 back and #6 in the 100 free, Cooper figured on a pair of Foothill relays. All in all, the Falcons were down 110 points from their psych sheet seedings and fell from a predicted 5th-place team finish to well below the top-20. Stepping up to pick up extra points were Oak Ridge (+64.5), Bishop’s (+56), San Ramon Valley (+37), Loyola (+37), and Clovis West (+33).

Another surprise came in the 200 free when Pierce Dietze, a senior at The Bishop’s School in San Diego, ripped a 1:36.55 to lead the field heading into finals. Dietze was entered with 1:39.32; his previous best time was 1:38.03 from Carlsbad Sectionals in March.

The only swimmer to post twin #1 times in prelims was Oak Ridge senior Ben Dillard. He qualified first in the 200 IM with 1:46.97, leading Paige daCosta of Granada by 7/10 and Ethan Hu of Harker by 1.3 seconds. Hu came into the meet with the seed top time of 1:44.62. Dillard also posted the top 100 breast time of the day with 53.16, which established a new California State Meet record. The old mark of 53.18 was set by Tanner Olson of Saugus in 2017. Hu, meanwhile, led the field in the 100 fly (46.74) while daCosta was top qualifier in the 100 back (48.30).

Seniors Max Saunders of Bellarmine and Connor Lee of Loyola were the top sprint freestylers with 44.23 and 20.38 in the 100 and 50, respectively. Colby Mefford of Oak Ridge was the top qualifier at the other end of the freestyle range, going 4:22.30 in the 500. Calvin David from Foothill (Pleasanton), the top seed coming in with 4:19.41, was second with 4:23.21.

Loyola took down the meet record in the 200 medley relay, clocking a 1:30.03 to .06 off Oak Ridge’s 2017 mark. Loyola’s 400 free relay was the fastest of the morning, while San Ramon Valley topped the field in the 200 free relay. All eyes will be on Loyola and San Ramon Valley in finals, as they are now separated by a mere 3 points after prelims.

Predicted Top-20 based on prelims (and psych sheet for diving)

Team Predicted Finish
Loyola 172
San Ramon Valley 169
Oak Ridge 159.5
Harker 127
Bellarmine 127
Clovis North 89
La Canada 79
Bishop’s 76
Foothill (Santa Ana) 75
Northgate 66.5
Buchanan 65
Campolindo 64
Harvard-Westlake 56
Torrey Pines 53
Santa Margarita 48
Archbishop Mitty 43
Los Gatos 42
Granada 37
Bella Vista 34
Laguna Hills 33.5



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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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