Historic Win for Sierra College Men at CCCAA Championships

Sierra College led the field from the get-go, and walked away from the 2016 California Community College Swimming and Diving State Championships at East Los Angeles College with their first-ever state title. A DQ in the very first event, the 200 free relay, hurt 3-time defending state champion Golden West’s bid for a four-peat, but in the end it was the depth and consistency of Sierra College that made the difference.

The Wolverines won two events over the three-day meet, but just as importantly, they put a man on nearly every podium. Sierra’s first title came with a 3:20.09 in the 400 medley relay from Alex Siniy, Alex Shibata, Andrew Murch, and Lucas Hastie. Trailing OCC for most of the race, Sierra shot to the front on the strength of Murch’s butterfly leg, then held the lead through the free despite a strong anchor from Golden West’s Chadd Mauer. On Day Three, Sierra’s Slava Illin added a win in the 1650 free with a thrilling finish, coming from behind over the last 25 to clock a 15:55.34 to get the win by 1.1 seconds over Drew Sipple of Santa Rosa. Illin also made the podium in the 500 free (second) and 200 free (third).

Sierra’s Shibata earned a pair of silver medals in the 100 breast (56.51) and 200 breast (2:02.93). Murdoch repeated his 2015 bronze medal in the 100 fly, going 48.73 this year. Teammate Jason Williams took third in the 200 fly with 1:53.78, just behind Golden West’s Nathan Torres (1:52.59). Diver Austin Foote was runner-up in both 1-meter and 3-meter diving, and the Wolverines added another pair of silvers in the 800 free relay and the 400 free relay. That final event sealed the deal and Sierra claimed its first team title.

The men’s meet was marked by six state records in five events over the three days; that brings the total to 46 state records set during the six years that the CCCAA championships have been held at East Los Angeles College Swim Stadium Pool.

The meet began with a bang, as Diablo Valley set a new state meet record in the 200 free relay. Brandon James, Drew Pitcher, Garrett Middleton, and Jacob Frigard combined for 1:21.52, avenging last year’s DQ in the event. Riverside (1:22.86) and Sierra (1:23.64) followed. James, Pitcher, Frigard and Middleton went on to win the 200 medley relay as well, defending their 2015 title with 1:31.30. DVC earned two more firsts from state record-holder James, who won both the 100 back (48.37) and 200 back (1:45.90) by impressive margins, although he fell short of his 2015 state records.

San Diego Mesa threw down some impressive performances as well, shattering state meet records along the way. In perhaps the most exciting event of the meet, Brandon Crabtree and teammate Neil Franka both took down a 15-year-old meet record of 48.13 in the 100 fly, trading stroke for stroke throughout the entire race and coming to the wall in 47.95 and 48.10, respectively. Franka got a state record of his own with a 1:47.36 win in the 200 IM. Crabtree added the sprint freestyles to his 100 fly title; he won the 50 in 20.09 and the 100 with 44.12. Maxence Bouvier of Riverside was second in both events (20.52 and 44.48).

Golden West’s Mauer won the 200 free in 1:39.04, after finishing fourth in the 50 behind Crabtree, Bouvier and DVC’s Pitcher, and third in the 100 behind Crabtree and Bouvier. Riverside earned a gold medal in the 400 IM when Alex Durham passed everyone with his backstroke leg and never let up. Durham touched in 4:02.67, beating Alejandro Vassallo of Golden West (4:04.44), Tyler Connors of Golden West (4:04.63), and Emil Graversen of Las Positas (4:04.68), who all came to the wall together. Riverside smoked the field in both the 800 free relay and 400 free relay. Adrien Deloffre, Bouvier, Durham, and Garret Shimko combined for 6:44.25 in the 4×200, and Deloffre, Justin Rohn, Shimko, and Bouvier went 3:01.43 to close the meet with the winning 4×100.

Orange Coast etched its name in the record books twice, as Jonathan Panchak won both the 100 breast and 200 breast in record time. Panchak had taken down a 10-year-old state mark in the 100 during prelims, going 54.50, then took another .15 off to win the event in 54.35. Panchak repeated the process on the final day of the meet with a 1:58.59 record in prelims and a 1:58.37 better record in finals. Orange Coast also got wins out of Diego Pabalan in the 200 IM (1:50.87) and Sooud Altayyar in the 500 free (4:29.65).

Saddleback’s Jacob Swanson won both diving events, scoring 268.05 points on the 3-meter board and 299.00 on the 1-meter.

Final Team Scores

  1. Sierra College 543.50
  2. Golden West College 508
  3. Orange Coast College 382
  4. Riverside College 378
  5. San Diego Mesa College 291
  6. Diablo Valley College 280
  7. Santa Rosa College 252.50
  8. Las Positas College 243
  9. Ventura College 106
  10. Foothill College 102
  11. Mt San Antonio College 97
  12. San Joaquin Delta College 72
  13. Long Beach City College 67
  14. Palomar College 67
  15. College of the Canyons 66
  16. Saddleback College 54
  17. Grossmont College 53
  18. American River College 37
  19. LA Valley College 33
  20. College of the Sequoias 28

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8 years ago

Just curious; do any of these guys move on to 4 year programs? Has SwimSwam ever tracked that?

Reply to  Stoobie
8 years ago

Also, why does these schools not participate in NJCAA nats vs IRCC? Realize their seasons don’t align, but are they not affiliated?

Reply to  Stoobie
7 years ago

now that would be a meet, IRSC vs the top California juco’s

Reply to  Stoobie
8 years ago

Hey Stoobie, we sometimes report on individual transfers, but it’s hard to track everyone since there’s no formal database. If you have ideas though, would love to hear them. I’d be curious myself to know.

Josh Chirstensen
Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Well, 3 of the Sierra guys (Alex Shibata, Andrew Murch, Nazar Podolchuk) are headed to Fresno Pacific in the Fall.

Reply to  Stoobie
8 years ago

We’ve had several swimmers come to our program from the schools in the CCCAA. Had really good success with them as well.

8 years ago

Those are solid breastroke times

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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