By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN, twitter@sgvtribpreps
For the previous four years the San Gabriel Valley has been spoiled with swimmers like Glendora High School’s Gretchen Jaques, who won every individual event she entered since her freshman year, going 8-for-8 in finals, which culminated in the Tartans girls swimming team winning a CIF-Southern Section Division 2 team title a year ago.
Now it’s time to pass the baton to a new era of area standouts as the CIF-SS swimming and diving finals move from the Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach to its new home at the Riverside Aquatics Complex on the campus of Riverside Community College this week.
The Riverside center completed a renovation project that made it one of the most state of the art facilities in the country.
The Olympic-style venue has the ability to host swimming and diving in one location, and has the ability to accommodate more qualifiers and finalists. The CIF meet will now accept 36 qualifiers into the preliminary events with the top 20 returning for consolation and final heats.
The Division 2 swim finals feature the best area standouts with the Damien boys team among the favorites to compete for a team title with the preliminaries on Friday at 9 a.m., and the finals on Saturday at 10 a.m. (To continue click thread)
Damien finished fourth in the Division 2 finals last year and are paced by reigning swimmer of the year Jason Haney, who was second in the 100 freestyle and seventh in the 200 free last year.
Haney is back at it, boasting the fifth-best qualifying mark in the 100 free (47.04) and fourth-best 100 backstroke (51.80). He is expected to challenge for titles in both.
The Spartans’ Carson May could also have a big weekend. The senior qualified second in the 200 free (1:42.47) and sixth in the marathon 500 free (4:38.91).
Damien sophomore Michael Forbes qualified seventh in the 200 medley and junior Corey Maier will join Haney in the 100 backstroke as a top eight qualifier, but the Spartans could rack up a lot of points in their pursuit of a team title in all three relays.
The Spartans qualified fifth in the 200 medley relay, second in the 200 relay and third in the 400 relay.
Ayala junior Ashley Tse is the only area swimmer with a leading qualifying mark. Her mark of 1:03.66 in the girls 100 breaststroke leads all qualilfiers and she qualified second in the 200 medley (2:02.30).
In the boys 100 breast, Walnut’s Derek Kao, Ayala’s Hunter Sa-Nguansap and Los Altos’ Simon Wong are all top eight qualifiers.
In the boys 200 medley, Diamond Bar freshman Ken Takahashi qualified fifth at 1:55.84 and he qualified seventh in the 500 free (4:39.16).
St. Lucy’s junior Sammie Keehn is hoping to medal in a pair of events. She qualified fourth in the butterfly (57.33) and third in the 100 backstroke (58.38).
Walnut’s Christina Vu qualified sixth in the 100 freestyle and Claremont junior Dylan Tarazona has the second-best time heading into the boys 100 butterfly (50.47).
The Division 3 preliminaries are Wednesday and the finals Thursday, both beginning at 1 p.m.
The only area athlete with a chance at medaling is San Dimas junior Austin Garcia.
Austin is in both muscle events. He qualified ninth in the 50 freestyle in 22.50 and ninth in the 100 free in 50.00.