The East Bay Athletic League, more commonly known as EBAL, held their 2015 league championship meet on Friday and Saturday. This is the first of three rounds of high school swimming championships in the California season. After leagues come the highly-anticipated Section Championships (EBAL feeds to the North Coast Section), and finally, the newly-announced CIF-sponsored State Championship meet.
The EBAL meet is particularly noteworthy for the depth of its talent, and is one of the best league/conference/districts in the country. 15 of the conference’s 16 teams (8 male and 8 female) placed in the top 25 of last year’s NCS Championship meet (which at the time was the top available level of competition). That includes 4 of the top 8 boys’ teams, and 3 of the top 4 girls’ teams.
Final Team Standings
- San Ramon Valley High School 530
- Monte Vista High School 314
- California High School 298
- Carondelet High School 286
- Amador Valley High School 226
- Foothill High School 170
- Granada High School 161
- Livermore 84
Final Team Standings
- San Ramon Valley High School 435.5
- Granada High School 310
- De La Salle High School 306
- Amador Valley High School 299
- Monte Vista High School 255.5
- California High School 240
- Foothill High School 171
- Livermore 86
San Ramon Valley High School repeated as league champions –both the boys and girls won in 2014 as well– winning by large margins over the rest of the field. San Ramon boys’ and girls’ teams set the tone early on with victories in their respective 200 medley relays. Gianna Garcia (26.25), Kristin Schumann (29.37), Abigail Miller (25.01), and Alexa Fusari (23.56) took the girls’ race in 1:44.19, while Jake Rollo (23.69), Brannan Haket (26.32), Hank Poppe (22.84), and Mikey Williams (21.58) won the boys’ in 1:34.43. Poppe, who is best known as one of the top breaststrokers of his class, showed nice versatility with his butterfly.
One of the most exciting races of the day took place at the beginning of the meet, when five girls came to the wall virtually together after 8 laps of freestyle, placing second through sixth with only .19 separating them. Carondelet’s Madelyn Murphy won the race uncontested in 1:48.96; she was nearly half a pool length ahead of the next wave: Charlotte Meier of San Ramon (1:53.52), Haley Schreiber of Monte Vista (1:53.61), Ana Henderson of San Ramon (1:53.68), Claire Therien of San Ramon (1:53.70), and Moriah Simonds of Granada (1:53.71).
Forrest White of De La Salle High School took the boys’ 200 free in 1:39.66, leaving the rest of the field in the dust by more than five seconds. White was nearly a second faster than his winning time from last year, and just .07 off the meet record. San Ramon teammates Williams and Teagan Cheney battled for second place, with Williams holding off a fast-charging Cheney over the last 50 and getting the touch, 1:44.99 to 1:45.13.
White doubled up with a win in the 100 back as well. He went 50.59, while Evan Brock of San Ramon (52.56) and Matthew Hayes of Granada (53.98) took second and third, respectively.
Granada junior Maxime Rooney (who has already committed to Florida) contributed a double of his own, winning both the 50 free and 100 fly. The versatile Rooney set both the meet and the league record in the 50 free in prelims, going 20.28. His finals swim was a bit slower but he still won by almost a body length, touching in 20.69. Dominic Dalpiaz of De La Salle placed second in 21.11, while San Ramon’s Haket edged teammate Jackson Cardinal for third, 21.96 to 21.98. That was Dalpiaz’ second-fastest 50 free ever, and a full half-second faster than his third-place swim at last year’s meet.
Dalpiaz went on to win the 100 free, going under 46 for the first time and notching a personal best by nearly a full second with 45.40. In a repeat performance of the 200 free final, Williams and Cheney of San Ramon clocked nearly identical times, finishing second and third in 47.00 and 47.09, respectively.
In the 100 fly, Rooney broke both the meet and the league record in prelims with 48.30; he was 1.4 seconds under the meet record and just .02 below his own league mark from 2013. In finals he went 49.22 to get the win. Second place went to Poppe of San Ramon Valley in 51.03, his best by over 6/10. Teammate Brock was third in 51.33.
San Ramon Valley teammates Garcia and Miller went 1-2 in the girls’ 100 fly for the second year in a row; this time they were both faster, and Miller, significantly so. Garcia won with a meet-record time of 54.09, nearly 8/10 faster than she was a year ago. Miller touched second in 54.68, her first sub-55 100 fly, and 2.2 seconds faster than her second-place finish last year. Makenna Turner of Monte Vista completed the podium with 56.30.
San Ramon Valley’s Rollo eked out a new meet record in the boys’ 200 IM, clocking a 1:51.94 to eclipse the mark of 1:52.00 set last year. De La Salle’s Jake Simpson placed second, dropping 3 seconds from prelims to finals and going 1:55.17. Amador Valley teammates Alex Gilchrist (1:56.30) and Chris Jhong (1:56.46) battled for third.
Granada’s Simonds, runner-up in 2014 in the 500 free, avenged her sixth-place finish in the 200 free earlier in the day with a 4:54.27 victory in the 500. Similar to the 200 free final, the top girls were all bunched together; Simonds and the next three finishers were all under 5:00. San Ramon Valley’s Therien and Henderson were second and third, respectively, with 4:56.28 and 4:57.28, while Carondelet’s Murphy came in fourth at 4:58.12.
Rollo earned his second individual title with a 4:36.43 win in the boys’ 500. The San Ramon junior was nearly 4 seconds faster than a year ago when he placed third. Amador Valley’s Jordan Rzenick touched second in 4:45.65, improving his prelims time by 15 seconds. Jeff Tang of Foothill rounded out the podium with second 4:51.46, improving on his 2014 swim by 2 seconds.
Poppe rallied back from his second-place finish in the 100 fly to win the 100 breast in 55.63, lowering his own 2014 meet mark by nearly a second.
The San Ramon Valley boys’ and girls’ teams further added to their team scores with solid performances by their relays. The girls (Cailey Steffens, Miller, Fusari, and Rachel Smith) and the boys (Brock, Carl Taibl, Cheney, and Haket) both claimed titles in the 200 free relays. They closed out the meet with silver medals in the 400 free relay from Therien, Schumann, Henderson, and Smith on the girls’ side, and Rollo, Brock, Poppe, and Williams on the boys’.
Carondelet High School girls won the 400 free relay by 2.7 seconds over San Ramon; Samantha Coloma (53.22), Malorie Han (51.99) Murphy (50.57), and Kelsey Witkay (52.82) came in at 3:28.60 for the win.
De La Salle earned their victory in the boys’ 400 free relay with a greater-than-2-second margin over San Ramon. Dalpiaz led off in 45.64, and was followed by Jack Madigan (47.28), Simpson (58.25), and White (45.29) for a total time of 3:06.46.