CIF State Champs: Maurer and Chai Set the Stage with 4:23 500 Frees in Prelims


The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Championships are being held this weekend in Fresno at Clovis High School. Prelims took place yesterday, with the finals session set to take place this afternoon.

In perhaps the most anticipated race of the meet, the boys 500 free, Sonora senior Matthew Chai and Loyola junior Rex Maurer both went 4:23 in prelims to take the top 2 spots for finals. While the times aren’t necessarily anything to write home about, given Maurer swam a 4:13.90 and Chai a 4:15.91 last Friday, what the swims did do is set up what is sure to be a thrilling showdown tonight in finals. Chai broke Jeff Kostoff’s CIF Division 2 record in the 500 last week, while Maurer posted the fastest time by a 17-year-old in history. The pair also have opposing race plans in the 500, which will make the race tonight an exciting one to watch, particularly at the end.

The duo will also be racing each other in the boys 200 free, although Maurer has a massive advantage in that event. In prelims yesterday, Maurer clocked a 1:36.69, with Chai touching with the 3rd-fastest time of 1:38.70. It was St. Margarita junior Jaden Ficklen who posted the 2nd-fastest time of prelims, swimming a 1:38.57. For Ficklen, the swim was a new personal best, bettering the 1:38.90 he had swum last week. Maurer has by far the fastest personal best in this field, coming in at 1:34.59, a time which he swam at the 2021 West Speedo Winter Junior Championships this past December.

Though she could have cruised and still been just fine for making it into finals, St. Margarita freshman Teagan O’Dell didn’t waste any opportunities to put up fast times yesterday. As just a freshman, O’Dell led the women’s 200 IM by a huge margin, clocking a 1:56.06. That time comes in just off the 1:55.46 she clocked in the CIF-SS Division 1 finals last Friday. She would then go on to swim a 52.40 in the girls 100 back, again posting the fastest time in the field. That swim was just off her personal best of 52.31, which she swam in prelims last week. The 100 back was also a great event for St. Margarita as a whole, as junior Macky Hodges posted the 2nd-fastest time in the event yesterday with a 54.03.

Eastlake senior Emily Lundgren posted a new personal best of 1:00.58 en route to swimming the fastest time in prelims of the girls 100 breast. Her previous best was set at the 2021 CIF-SI Division 1 Championships in late March of last year, where she went 1:00.96. With the 1:00.58, Lundgren now stands on the doorstep of breaking 1:00 for the first time in her career, and she now sits less than a second off the CIF State meet record of 59.66, which is held by Zoie Hartman from 2018.

St. Joseph senior Claire Tuggle was phenomenal in prelims, taking the top seed for finals in both the girls 200 free and 500 free. In the 200 free, Tuggle swam a 1:47.09, leading St. Margarita senior Justina Kozan, who was the top seed coming into the meet. The final of the 200 free looks to be set for a race between Tuggle and Kozan, as the pair have been 1:45 in the event this season. Tuggle has a personal best of 1:44.96, which she set in 2018 when she was 13, while Kozan has a personal best of 1:44.40, which she swam at the CIF State Championships last year.

Tuggle would then go on to clock a 4:44.90 in the girls 500 free, leading the field by 7 seconds. Her personal best in the 500 stands at 4:41.36, which she also swam in 2018 when she was 13 years old.

Kozan would go on to post the top time in the girls 100 fly, swimming a 53.99.




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PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
4 months ago

National High School record and no post yet today?

4 months ago

Prediction: Rex 4:11.76, Matthew 4:14.94

Reply to  Notsofast
4 months ago

Rex out of gas after relay and 200 free, Chai delivered his time 4:15.09, again negative split, meaning he can still drop time.

4 months ago

Fast swims! According to Meet Mobile Colby Hatton from Buchanan (Clovis) split a 19.31 in the 200 free relay. Excited to see what type of times come up today