5 Swimmers to Watch For at the 2023 CIF Central Section Swimming Championships

2023 CIF Central Section Championships (California High School)

The 2023 California High School State Championship season kicks off this week with a run of Sectional meets around the country.

That includes the Central Section, where the bigger schools (D1) will race at the newly-renovated Clovis West High School that is also hosting the state championship meet on May 12-13.

The Central Coast Section isn’t quite as deep as, say, the Southern Section or North Coast Section, but it still is home to many of the states best swimmers.

Check out 5 to watch at this weekend’s Central Section Championships below.

1. Hannah Marinovich, Junior, Clovis West (D1)

The Tennessee commit has been slowly marching up the rankings in the 100 yard breaststroke, but earlier this year at the Speedo Sectionals meet in March in College Station, she had a huge breakthrough to swim 1:01.75 in the 100 breaststroke, placing 3rd at the meet. That was a clear ‘level up’ meet for the defending Section runner-up in the event.

At last year’s state meet, she swam 1:03.54. Since Sectionals, she has made 1:03-lows and 1:02s a regular part of her repertoire.

The section champion Mackenzie Miller graduated, but that doesn’t mean that Marinovich won’t be pushed: Clovis North sophomore Ellie Fitzgerald, Marinovich’s club teammate at the Clovis Swim Club, is the #2 seed at 1:02.16.

2. Hayden Lambert, Senior, Clovis North (D1)

The tw0-time defending Section Champion in the 500 free is trying to make it a perfect three-for-three in his high school career in the 500 free (his freshman campaign was canceled by COVID-19), and as the top seed by more than seven seconds, he’s in a great position to do that.

At last year’s Section meet, he went 4:31 in the 500, and at his conference meet last month he swam 4:29.53 already. That gives the UNLV commit a chance for a big swim at Sections.

He also has the chance to add a novel feather into his cap: he’s the top seed in the 200 free in 1:39.98. He hasn’t finished better than 4th at the Section meet in the 200 free.

Clovis North are the defending champions for both men and women.

3. Olivia Sundgren, Senior, Buchanan High School (D1)

Sundgren, a Cal Poly commit, was one of the Central Section’s top performers at last year’s CIF State Championship meet when she placed 3rd in the 500 free.

Year-over-year, she’s way ahead of schedule this season compared to last season. If she hits around a 4:55 this week, look out for something big coming down the pipeline at State. She’s well on track to be under Cal Poly’s school record of 4:50.57 already this season in HS.

4. Winston Liang, Sophomore, Clovis North (D1)

Last year, as a freshman, Liang finished 4th at the Central Section Championship meet int he 100 breaststroke in 58.71.

Not only have the three guys ahead of him all graduated, including the Section record holder Bryan Wong (55.86 from 2021), Liang had dropped tons of time in the interim.

He swam a new best time of 56.43 at the Mt. Sac Meet of Champions a few weeks back and enters this year’s Section Championship meet as the top seed by two seconds.

5. Charlie Potter, Freshman, Garces Memorial High School

The section lost its big D2 star from last year when Claire Tuggle graduated from Saint Joseph, but another one is on the rise in Garces Memorial High School freshman Charlie Potter.

He has the opportunity to chase a lot of D2 records, including Peter Kline’s 2007 mark in the 500 free of 4:36.98 in his four years. For now, he’s the top seed in the 200 IM by more than six seconds (1:57.25) and the top seed in the 500 free by more than 12 seconds (4:42.62).

Last year, Garces High swam at the D1 meet. Their girls finished 18th and the boys didn’t score. This year, in D2, they have the top seed in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay – partially thanks to the D2 move and partially thanks to their star freshman.

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9 months ago

Excited to see what the swimmers can do, but the fact that CIF requires athletes to compete as unattached instead of representing their club teams during the high school season is such BS. Such an overreach in power and detrimental to the development of the sport in California. While requiring the athletes to be unattached, they still require USA Swimming officials and club training to actual make these meets exciting and “accurate” times.

Reply to  Cif
9 months ago

What difference does it make? It’s not like these swimmers are doing Relays at club meets during the HS season, and the kids just reattach during the summer.

Reply to  CraigH
9 months ago

Time tracking through Swims database. Organization at meets. VCC scores (if used to track team progress). Relays at age group championship meets (where those kids are at the top of their age group and in a leadership position.)

CIF can’t even accurately track times independent of USA Swimming.

What good does the ruling do? How does it benefit the sport? All I see is negative.

9 months ago


Swim Fast Swim Pretty
Reply to  Mkroll
9 months ago

yo. who downvotes this?

Swim Fast Swim Pretty
Reply to  Swim Fast Swim Pretty
9 months ago

Central California Swimming, yes? Ah the central valley is pool rich baby!

B1G Fan
9 months ago


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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