In Saturday’s finals, the focus of the North Coast Section meet in California to what should be a killer team battle. But for prelims, at least, we can focus on some fantastic individual swims, highlighted by Carondolet’s Chelsea Chenault, who took down a North Coast Section Record on the first day of competition.
Chenault started her day off with a 1:45.04 in the 200 free; that swim a year ago would have broken the National Independent High School Record, but it has since been lowered to a 1:43.15 by Missy Franklin. Chenault broke the National Record in this race last year, and could have more left in finals.
In the 500 free, she broke the North Coast Section record with a 4:38.39. For the junior, that took down the old mark set at last year’s meet by Cal’s Catherine Breed in 4:41.18.
She had a huge 55.0 closing 100, that says she’s got some left in her tank for finals. She’d have a huge drop, though, to go after Kate Ziegler’s 4:33 from 2006 in this race.
Foothill High School’s Celina Li also had a huge first day, taking the top seed in both the 200 IM (1:59.2) and a new North Coast Section Record in 53.07. That broke the 6-year old record held by future Cal NCAA Champion Amanda Sims.
And from San Ramon Valley, who is the other big contender aside from Carondelet, sophomore Heidi Poppe capped the meet with a 1:01.03 show-stopping 100 breaststroke. In the boys’ race, a great battle was set up between the defending champion Charlie Wiser (55.59) and Campolindo star Steven Stumph (55.63).
The boys’ 100 fly final should be an outstanding race as well, with three swimmers under 50 seconds: Dillon Williams (49.39), Kenneth Castro-Abrams (49.76), and Monty Randall (49.97). Williams was the big surprise as the top seed, as that time cuts more than a second off of his best time.
But don’t sleep on Terra Linda’s Alan Winder, who was 3rd at last year’s meet: he swam a 50.00 in prelims, and will be outside of the center focus, but was the top seed coming into the race.
And in the girls’ medley relay, between the National Record holders Carondelet and Santa Ramon, the latter took the top seed in 1:43.44, as compared to a 1:43.74 for the latter. Poppe was the big difference-maker with a 27.80 on the breaststroke leg. That’s an NCAA All-American level split.