The California CIF Southern Section swimming championships is one of the fastest high school swim meets in the country. As an indication of it’s significance, the estimated daily crowd of 2,000 spectators is more than either the men’s or women’s NCAA Championships.
At this year’s meet, the fans were not disappointed, as they saw two of the most famous national records broken.
The first record came in the Division I finals, where senior Cindy Tran from Edison High in Huntington Beach absolutely obliterated the National Record of Natalie Coughlin, who is perhaps the greatest women’s backstroker ever at any level. Tran’s time of 51.85 was almost exactly a full second faster than Coughlin’s record of 52.86, which was set in 1998, and was one of the oldest record’s on the book. Misty Hyman’s 100 butterfly record, set astonishingly in 1996, is the only record still on the books set in prior to the turn of the century.
Tran was just as shocked about her time as was the huge crowd. “I was trying to win for my team and the time just came with it. When I saw it (the time) on the board, I thought, ‘Was that right?’ ’’
Tran will follow in Couhglin’s footsteps by committing to swim at California, the same school Natalie swam for, in the fall as a 6-star recruit. This 6-star ranking means that her times will immediately make her a contender for NCAA National Championships.
Incidentally, Tran broke the National Public-School record that was previously held by Lily Moldenhauer, a Texas-bound swimmer who swam a 52.89 for Churchill High School in San Antonio earlier this season. Moldenhauer and Tran should have some outstanding battles over the next four years as collegiate swimmers. Coughlin’s record still stands as the National Independent School Record.
The other record set on the weekend was set by Vlad Morozov of Torrance High in Torrance California. His record is one that is truly the glamour record of highschool swimming: the 50 freestyle. In a swim that was a surprise to everybody at the meet, Morozov swam a 19.43, to break the old record of Jimmy Feigen, from Churchill High School in San Antonio. (If you didn’t pick up on it, Moldenhauer and Feigen both swam for Churchill, as it comes full circle).
In the words of Dan Albano, of the OC-Register, Morozov “became an instant celebrity here today” after setting the mark.
Morozov revealed the secret to his success, which was that this was the first time in his life that he had shaved for a meet. Beyond that, he has incredibly fast starts and turns, which are of paramount inportance in the 50 yard distance. Morozov had already built a half-body-length lead by the time he came up from his start, which is reminiscent to watching Feigen’s record-breaking swims in high school.
Morozov, who is a native of Russia, has only been in the United States for 3 years, and credits his Russian coach, Igor Denim, with teaching him how to prepare for races, both mentally and physically.
Feigen still holds the 100 freestyle national record of 43.05, but that record could is in danger next year at the hands of Pennsylvania swimmer David Nolan, who went a 43.27 this season as a junior.
Morozov will stay close to home and swim for USC. The USC campus is only a 15 mile drive from the Torrance High School campus.