The 2012 Central Coast Sectional Championships were a star-studded affair, loaded with big names and future stars of college.
But as these stars churned in-and-out of the medal stands, it was all of the old standby’s that took the team titles. Bellarmine Prep won their 28th-straight title, and in an upset the Gunn girls won their first title ever (they’ve never even placed 2nd before) thanks to some big relay performances, and a powerful senior sprinter.
The Bellarmine boys didn’t blow anybody’s mind in prelims, but they were saving their big shots for finals. That began with Sam Shimomura in the boys’ 200 free, with a new CCS Record of 1:35.86. The senior, who no surprise will be going to Cal next year, had a great head-to-head battle with Valley Christian’s Michael Nunan, who took second in 1:36.03. The two were hip-to-hip throughout the race, but Shimomura was just a hair ahead throughout the race. Nunan’s swim, incidentally, was also under the old mark, held by Tom Kremer – who didn’t swim the 200 free this year.
In the meet’s third event, his teammate Mitchell Hamilton similarly jumped from a 3rd-fastest swim in prelims to a Sectional title, thanks to a 20.87 in the 50 free. That leap-frogged Palo Alto sophomore Andrew Liang, who swam a 20.92.
That was just the beginning of some truly breath-taking swims at this meet, continuing with none-other-than USA Swimming National Teamer, and Palo Alto High, superstar Jasmine Tosky. First, she crushed her old CCS Record with a 1:43.26. That’s the fourth-fastest time swum in history by an 18 & under swimmer in the United States and just half-a-second away from Dagny Knutson’s National High School Record in the race. The time would have placed her 3rd at last year’s NCAA Championships. Tosky is a piece that USC will badly need to fill the sizable hole in their lineup left by the graduating Katinka Hosszu next year.
She then came back after the diving break with a 52.36 in the 100 fly. That’s faster than she was in prelims, but demonstrates just how untapered she is – it’s slower than her 51.92 National High School Record from this same meet last season.
The breakout sophomore Catherine Ladd took second in 1:48.29 – which now gives her a 6.5 second drop altogether in this meet. She was a strong high school swimmer who was on pace to develop into a good college swimmer before this meet; at least in the 200, she’s now a new star in Central California.
Future Stanford swimmer Tom Kremer also had an outstanding meet – even though he wasn’t able to match his preliminary times. After a 47.1 in prelims, he came back to the field with a 47.86 in the final. That almost gave the sophomore Liang the chance to pick him off as he held his spot, but the 48.15 wasn’t enough. This should be his race to win next season.
Back to the women’s side, another future Cal Bear Rachael Acker stumbled a little in the 50, though she still won in a 22.7. That’s by no means a “bad” time, but it was a tenth slower than she was in the prelims. In the 100, however, she had no signs of a stumble, as she cracked the 49-second barrier for the first time in her life with a 48.98 for the win. Second in that 100 went to Linnea Mack in 50.34, with Ladd 3rd in 50.45.
The girls’ 200 IM was a fantastic battle. After prelims, Sacred Heart Prep’s Ally Howe looked like she would be the runaway favorite in the race. But Alicia Grima, who was one of the last swimmers named in the massive Cal women’s class, wasn’t so sure about that. Howe looked like she’d win again through the first 100 yards, as she held a similar lead at that point. But Grima today was about two seconds faster than she was in the prelims, and that took her to a 1:58.52 win ahead of Howe’s 1:58.61
Earlier in the 200 free, Michael Nunan gave up his advantage. He wasn’t going to let that happen in this 500 free – his best event. He smashed the 500 free CCS record with a 4:18.26, taking down the old record held by Cal swimmer Adam Hinshaw. Shimomura gave a valiant effort and dropped 11 seconds to take the silver medal in 4:20.89. That’s his best swim by almost 5 seconds.
Gunn High School exteneded their sizable lead in the girls’ 200 free relay. Rachael Acker led them off with a 23.22 to put Gunn almost a full second ahead of Palo Alto and they would easily hold on, finishing in 1:34.87 to Palo Alto’s 1:37.03.
Bellarmine narrowly outtouched SHP in the Boys’ 200 free relay. Bellarmine’s 1:23.57 and Sacred Heart Prep’s 1:23.63 were both under the former meet record of 1:23.91 set by Valley Christian High School in 2010. Tom Kremer of SHP chased down Bellarmine with an impressive anchor leg of 20.03 but couldn’t get his hand on the wall quickly enough to complete the comeback.
Ally Howe took a decisive win in the girls’ 100 back winning by over two and a half seconds in 53.12, 0.01 slower than her record-setting prelim time.
Tom Kremer set a new meet record in the boys’ 100 back for Sacred Heart with a 47.91, 0.06 under the old record.
Curtis Ogren and Byron Sanborn battled it out in the 100 breast. Ogren took it out in under 26 seconds (25.99) and held on to out touch Sanborn 55.71 to 55.74.
Rachael Acker led the Gunn girls to another win and meet record in the 400 Free relay. They broke another meet record with a 3:23.06. Notably, Tosky led off Gunn’s free relay in 48.61, which broke the record of another former PASA swimmer: Maddy Schaeffer.
Full Results available here.