By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
An afternoon of shock and awe unfolded at the CIF-Southern Section Divsion II swimming finals at the Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach on Saturday.
The awe belonged to Glendora High School’s Goliath Gretchen Jaques, who broke two Division II meet records that she set in the prelims on Friday in the 200 yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke, as well as win two more titles in relays.
But the shock belonged to four wide-eyed girls from Walnut, Christina Vu, Tiffany Hsu, Emily Hu and workhorse Andrea Grant, who rallied from nowhere and benefited from a Tartans disqualification in the 200 freestyle relay to capture the Division II team title, the Mustangs’ first championship since 1994. Walnut finished with 158 points to capture the team competition with Glendora finishing second with 147 points. (To continue click thread)
The turning point came in the 200 free relay, with Walnut finishing first, and Glendora sixth, which would have given the Tartans 26 points. However, they were DQ’d for leaving a block early, wiping out the 26 points which paved the way for the 11-point victory by the Mustangs.
“I don’t know what to say, shocking is the right word,” Walnut coach Lani Ruh said. “The girls were really down toward the middle of the meet, but they picked it up and were amazing in the relays. We brought just four girls, and those relays paid off.”
Grant’s spectacular afternoon was highlighted with a pair of titles in the muscle events, the 50 and 100 freestyle. She also anchored the winning 200 free relay team, and helped the Raiders finish second in the final event, the 400 relay.
Grant edged Rowland’s Kylie Garcia in the 50 free, winning in 23.48 ahead of Garcia’s 23.52.
Grant toasted the field in the 100 a short time later, winning in 50.87, well ahead of second place finisher Nicole Proulx of Canyon (51.98)
“I’m so happy,” Grant said. “I’ve been thinking about it all day, and those were the best times I ever swam.
“But to be honest, the team championship means so much more. This means we’ll have our names on the big wall at the school. To be able to share a championship with all my teammates is something I will never forget.”
With Jaques’ four first-place medals on Saturday, she now owns nine first-place medals since arriving as a freshman, and has never lost an individual race at the Division II championships, a perfect six-for-six after winning the 50 and 100 free races her freshman and sophomore years.
Jacques, who broke U.S. Olympian Janet Evans’ 200 medley Division II meet record in the prelims on Friday in 1:59:00, which edged Evans’ 1988 mark of 1:59.96, shattered her 24-hour record.
Jacques won the 200 medley in a speedy time of 1:57.91, more than five seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
The Glendora swimmer won her sixth career individual title later in the 100 breaststroke, breaking her own meet record record again, winning in 1:00.03, breaking the 1:01.03 record she set on Friday.
In the meet closing 400 relay, Jaques anchored the final leg, rallying past Walnut’s Grant to lead the Tartans to victory in 3:32.01, ahead of Walnut’s 3:32.62.
“You practice everyday thinking about these races,” Jaques said. “It’s an amazing feeling when you get here and accomplish your goals, especially this season, because I challenged myself in events I knew there would be a ton of competition in.
“To set the records I set, I am surprised, you never know what’s going to happen when you get here. Now I’ll focus on the Masters (on Tuesday).”
The Tartans’ 200 medley relay team of Courtney McAdden, Kelly Corso, Rosemary Garcia and Jaques finished second to Westlake in the days opening event, but the scoreboard listed Glendora as a DQ.
After huddling at the scorers table, it was ruled that it was Westlake that had a swimmer leave early in the breaststroke, not Glendora, therefore disqualifying Westlake and giving the Tartans the title, which also was a Division II record-setting performance in 1:47.11.
“I knew that we didn’t DQ and they (officials) got it wrong,” Glendora coach Janet Pollard said. “It was unfortunate we DQ’d later in the (200 free relay), but those things happens. It hurts, but we will be back next year.”
After finishing second in the 50 free behind Grant, which gave
Rowland’s Garcia her third second place medal at the CIF championships after
finishing second in the 100 butterfly as a sophomore and junior, she finally
got the payoff she was waiting for her senior season.
Garcia finished in a dead heat in the 100 butterfly along with
Claremont’s Noelle Tarazone, who both touched home in 54.89 to share the
“It felt great to win,” Garcia said. “I’ve been so close and there are so many great swimmers. I’m just glad I kept at it. It all feels worth it
Damien’s Jason Haney medaled in the 100 freestyle, finishing second in 46.46, just behind winner Alex Campbell of La Canada (46.34).
In the boys 50 free, Damien’s Chris Lodo finished in a tie for fourth
at 21.77 along with Sean Shughrou of Murrieta Valley.
In the Division III finals earlier in the day, Bonita’s Caleb Guarino
was fifth in the 50 free (21.98) and eighth in the 100 free (48.60).
Bishop Amat’s Lauren Saylor finished seventh in the 50 free (25.73)
and Charter Oak’s Michael Joyce was eighth in the 100 butterfly (54.83).
The Charter Oak boys 200 medley team of Brad Thomson, James Cano,
Phillip Shara and Joyce finished sixth (1:42.73).