California’s CCS Prelims: Howe With National Record, Monta Vista Girls Leading Team Race, and Paly Boys in Dead Heat with Bellarmine

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CCS is always an exciting meet but this year just may go down in history as one of the very best.

First of all, you’ve got a team with a 29-year winning streak. While the Bellarmine boys are on a quest for 30, you’ve got Palo Alto with one of the deepest squads they’ve had in a while, looking to rain on the Bells’ parade.

The girls have excitement of their own, with Mitty not quite living up to its psych sheet seedings and consequently opening the door to a Monta Vista repeat. Gunn looks locked in at second, but Sacred Heart and Mitty are separated by only 1 point after prelims, and they lead Menlo-Atherton by just 15.

And then you’ve got a National Record. In prelims. Sacred Heart’s Ally Howe didn’t hold anything back for finals in the 100 back today. She attacked it like it was her last chance, and downed Missy Franklin’s National Independent School record by a half-second.

Girls Standings After Prelims

Monta Vista did pretty much what they were supposed to in prelims: score big in the 50/100 free and both free relays and get a few extra girls into finals here and there. In fact they did much better than expected in several events, most notably the 200 IM and 100 breast, and came out around 14 points ahead of schedule. Gunn is exactly where one would have predicted; their strength is in the 200/500 free and all three relays. Sacred Heart jumped up to third, thanks to extraordinary relays and loading up the 200 IM, 100 fly, and 100 back finals. Mitty and M-A will challenge Sacred Heart for third, and all three of them will be hoping to knock Gunn off its second-place trajectory.

  1. Monta Vista
  2. Gunn
  3. Sacred Heart
  4. Mitty
  5. Menlo-Atherton
  6. Los Gatos
  7. Palo Alto
  8. Burlingame
  9. Saint Francis
  10. Pioneer

For openers, Sacred Heart broke the CCS record in the 200 medley relay. Ally Howe, Selby Sturzenegger, Kayla Holman, and Kathryn Bower went 1:44.10, establishing the new time to beat by just .07. They will be joined by Pioneer on their right and Mitty on their left in Saturday’s final.

Top-seeded Jennifer Campbell of Gunn led prelims in the 200 free with 1:47.79. Catherine Ladd of Willow Glen and Sandra Soe of Pioneer were the only others under 1:50 with 1:49.20 and 1:49.35, respectively.

Leah Goldman of Burlingame was the top qualifier in the 200 IM, turning in a 2:00.77. She was .11 ahead of Sacred Heart’s Howe, and 1.3 in front of Chloe Isleta of Presentation.

It took faster than a 24.3 to make the “A” final of the 50 free. Paly’s Grace Zhao led the way in prelims with 23.37. Sarah Kaunitz of Monta Vista qualified second; Gabrielle Bethke of Gunn, third.

Heidi Katter of Castilleja had the strongest 100 fly prelim swim, going 54.42 to earn lane 4 on Saturday. She was just ahead of Anna Brolin of Gilroy and Burlingame’s Goldman.

The girls 100 free is going to be one of races to watch in finals. Sarah Kaunitz (50.62) from Monta Vista improved on her seed time to qualify first, beating out Willow Glen’s Ladd (50.72), Gunn’s Bethke (50.83), and Monta Vista’s Carly Reid (50.85) for the middle lane.

The top three times out of prelims in the 500 free belonged to Soe of Pioneer (4:48.75), Gunn’s Campbell (4:51.84), and Sarah Shimomura of Mitty (4:57.86).

Monta Vista’s Kaunitz sisters, Reid, and Christina Cheng combined for 1:35.17 to lead the qualifying 200 free relays. They are now a second off the CCS record. Gunn and Mitty qualified second and third.

The 100 back was the scene for Ally Howe’s phenomenal CCS and National Independent School record of 51.84. She’ll have another crack at it in finals, along with Sophie Krivokpaic-Zhou of Santa Clara and Presentation’s Isleta.

Castilleja’s Katter adds to her 100 fly a top-qualifying time in the 100 breast, having gone 1:02.79 in prelims. Paly’s Zhao and Stefanie Ting of Saratoga had the next fastest times.

With a big drop from their seed time, Sacred Heart went 3:27.14 (featuring Howe, Sturzenegger, Holman, and Bower) to lead the way in the 400 free relay. Monta Vista qualified second and Gunn, third.

Boys Standings After Prelims

With Paly off their psych sheet seedings by about 25 points and Bellarmine up by about 75, it’s pretty much a draw headed into finals. Everything will depend on safe relay takeoffs, moving up a place or two here and there, etc.… not for the faint of heart in any case. Paly and Bellarmine are way out front after Friday’s racing. St Ignatius sits at third, about 30 points ahead of Saint Francis. Paly was a little off on the front half of the meet but had some strong performances after the break. Bellarmine did what everyone knew they would do: squeezed extra swimmers into just about every final, across the board.

  1. Palo Alto
  2. Bellarmine
  3. St Ignatius
  4. Saint Francis
  5. Monta Vista
  6. Los Gatos
  7. Gunn
  8. Leigh
  9. Serra
  10. Sacred Heart

Palo Alto’s 200 medley relay opened the meet with a near-miss; their 1:32.20 is within a half-second of the CCS record. Their relay featured William Lee, Scott Powell, Andrew Liang, and Winston Wang. Saint Francis qualified second; St Ignatius, third.

Bellarmine’s Aidan Burns clocked the fastest 200 free in prelims, going 1:37.95, two seconds off the CCS record. Leigh’s Michael Hannigan qualified second, a half-second ahead of Monta Vista’s Lucca Martins.

Current record-holder (with 1:45.01) Curtis Ogren of Saint Francis gave his meet mark a scare with a 1:45.61 prelims swim. Michael Messner of Bellarmine and Jonathan Panchak of Los Gatos will join him in the middle lanes on Saturday.

Top-seeded Andrew Liang of Paly was the fastest 50 freestyler out of prelims, qualifying with 20.14. Los Altos’s Albert Gwo was second and Stefan Kranenburg of St Ignatius was third.

In a tough double, Andrew Liang turned around and broke Tom Kremer’s CCS record in the 100 fly, going 47.09 and lowering the old mark by .03. Gunn’s Daichi Matsuda qualified second, while Matthew Thomas of Valley Christian was third.

Benjamin Ho of Saint Francis put up the top 100 free qualifying time with 45.34. But it’s going to be quite a battle in finals, as Leigh’s Hannigan (45.57) and Los Altos’s Gwo (45.60) are right there with him. Just like the girls’ race, this 100 free final will be a must-see event.

Bellarmine stacked up the points in the 500 free with three “A” finalists, including top seed Burns who went 4:25.64 in prelims, and Messner who qualified second with 4:28.96. Monta Vista’s Martins was third-fastest.

The 200 free relay was the occasion of another CCS record but this time it was St Ignatius etching their names in the record book. Clark Sun (21.33), Peter Lewczyk (21.25), Sheldon Boboff (20.77), and Kranenburg (20.18) combined for 1:23.53 to beat the old record by .04. Bellarmine and Paly were the next-fastest qualifying relays.

Paly picked up key points in the 100 back when it got four into the “A” final, including top qualifier William Lee (49.49). Ho of Saint Francis was second with 49.57, while Corey Gutierrez of Gunderson qualified third.

Saint Francis’s Ogren, who holds the CCS record in the 100 breast (53.90), put up the fastest time in prelims with 54.02. Serra’s Joe Kmak went 55.09 to qualify second and Panchak of Los Gatos was third.

Saint Francis’s Ogren, who holds the CCS record in the 100 breast (53.90), put up the fastest time in prelims with 54.02. Serra’s Joe Kmak went 55.09 to qualify second and Panchak of Los Gatos was third.

Bellarmine led the way in the 400 free relay, qualifying with a 3:05.01. Palo Alto and Saint Francis were second and third, respectively.

The boys one-meter diving finals concluded on Friday. Junior Colin Zeng of The King’s Academy won the CCS title with 631.90 points. Palo Alto sophmore Reed Merrit finished second with 474.85 points, while Carlmont senior Drew Jung took third with 451.35. The girls diving finals will take place on Saturday.


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7 years ago

CCS if fast no doubt, but NCS was insane in prelims. 1:30 med relay and a 1:39 in the 200 free coming in at 9th place.

Reply to  David
7 years ago

CIF-SS D.1 is absolutely fast too!
200 IM took a 1:51 for top 9 and 200 free was a 1:39 for top 9 as well…

7 years ago

Disclosure I’m an SI fan, but need to point out David that their 200 free relay would also have been first place at NCS. Got to love the underdog, go Cats!

7 years ago

Liz, SI swam out of their minds yesterday w/ kranenberg at 20.1 anchor. Still overall the meet doesn’t have the depth it has had in the past, as evidence the 3:20 in the 16th place in the boys 400 free. Top times are there at ccs, but depth is much better in other sections.

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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