The East Bay Athletic League is one of California’s most storied high school swim leagues. Over the years the EBAL has produced NCAA Division 1 standouts as well as World-Junior-Record-Holder Maxime Rooney. The 2016 championships marked Rooney’s final EBAL competition and also witnessed the toppling of records and the continuation of two team dynasties, both coming from San Ramon Valley High School.
San Ramon Valley High School opened the girl’s competition with a victory in the 200 medley relay. The team of Giana Garcia, Sarah Klass, Abigail Miller, and Alexa Fusari combined for an All-American time of 1:45.00.
Still reeling from the moment of the 200 medley relay, Garcia put up an individual All-American time in the 100 butterfly, clocking a 54.52, just off the EBAL record she established in 2015. Garcia also took second in the 100 backstroke with a 54.72 to Samantha Coloma of Carondelet High School. Coloma, who will swim for the University of Missouri in the fall, tied her own EBAL record in the 100 back with a 54.35, originally established in 2014.
Carondelet teammate Madelyn Murphy set a new EBAL record with an All-American time of 49.66 in the 100 free, which also marks her first submergence of the 50-second barrier. This was Murphy’s second All-American performance of the day, having previously clocked a 1:47.61 in the 200 free. Her victory in the 100 registered big points for Carondelet, where Murphy usurped her teammate and top-seed Malorie Han. Han, who will swim at Northwestern this fall, won the 50 freestyle earlier in the meet with a time of 23.59.
The 200 IM title went to Anna Friedrich who won in a 2:04.72, edging out SRV’s Abigail Miller, who took part in the victorious 200 medley relay, and Christina Chong. Granada teammate Miranda Heckman attempted an amazing double, winning the girl’s 500 free with an All-American 4:47.70, which came shortly after a second-place-finish in the 100 freestyle where she also registered an All-American standard. However, neither race was a personal best for Heckman, who earlier this season broke Natalie Coughlin’s meet record in the 1650 at Far Westerns.
SRV claimed another victory in the 200 freestyle relay where the team of Miller, Fusari, Charlotte Meier and Rachel Smith combined for a time of 1:37.16, edging out Monte Vista.
The 100 breaststroke title went to Zoie Hartman from Monte Vista High School with a time of 1:04.32, and Emily Balicanta of Foothill High School claimed the diving championship with a score of 387.80. The 400 free relay championship went to the team from Monte Vista of Alyssa Hornbuckle, Makenna Turner, Abriana Howard, and Isabella Barattolo, who beat out SRV’s team by less than 0.10. The Monte Vista team’s winning time was 3:30.65.
San Ramon Valley’s victory is their 13th-consecutive EBAL title.
In securing their sixth-consecutive EBAL title, the boys squad from San Ramon High School swept the relays as well as three individual events. The 200 medley squad of Brannan Hacket, Hank Poppe, Mikey Williams, and Jake Rollo clocked an All-American time of 1:32.54, which also comes as a new championship record. For the 200 free relay Poppe and Hacket alongside Teagen Cheney and Carl Taibl registered a 1:24.49 to again earn All-American status as well as establish another new meet record.
Forrest White of De La Salle won the 500 freestyle in a 4:31.82, which lowered the previous championship record established in 2002 by NCAA All-American and Stanford Cardinal Andy Grant of Livermore. White surged ahead of SRV’s Rollo and the top-seed from Amador Valley Chris Jhong, who led until the final turn, to break the record by 0.33.
Though White chased down Jhong for the 500 free title, Jhong had won the 200 IM earlier with a time of 1:52.00, narrowly beating out fellow 500 freestyle-finalist Rollo for the gold. Foothill Falcon Jonah Cooper took the boy’s 100 back in a time of 50.54, and Poppe claimed the 100 breast in a time of 55.94, earning himself an individual All-American accolade. Poppe’s SRV teammates Williams and Cheney won the 200 free (1:41.74) and the 50 free (21.40), respectively, making for three individual wins for SRV, in addition to their two relay titles.
Florida-commit and World Junior Champion Maxime Rooney claimed two victories in the 100 rfly and 100 free, opting to swim back-to-back events like teammate Miranda Heckman in the 500 and 100 frees. Though Rooney’s times of 48.42 in the fly and 44.31 in the free are All-American standards they are well off of his best times, suggesting that Rooney was not rested for the EBAL meet and is waiting for the CIF State Championships. Last summer Rooney claimed both the Speedo Junior Nationals title and the Phillips 66 National Championships title in the 200 LCM freestyle, as well as the FINA World Youth Championships gold medal and world record.
Jackson Gabler of De La Salle took the diving championship with 511.20 points.
Finishing the meet strong, the SRV squad of Jackson Cardinal, Cheney, Rollo, and Williams won the 400 free relay with a 3:06.22, earning SRV yet another All-American accolade, in addition to their sixth-consecutive boy’s team title.