NCS swimming: Underclassmen shine for Sonoma County

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

If the North Coast Section Championships are an accurate barometer, Sonoma County high school swimming is about to enter its glory years.

Not counting relay events, the North Bay and Sonoma County leagues had 11 individuals competing in Saturday’s championship and consolation round and there wasn’t a senior in the group.

In fact, four of those that competed in Concord’s Community Pool are freshmen and four others are sophomores.

The local crop of underclassmen was led by Windsor teammates Allie Davis and Sam Haley. Both juniors picked up third-place medals, Davis in the 200-yard freestyle and Haley in the 200 individual medley.

Davis’ time of 1:49.47 is a Redwood Empire record while Haley’s clocking of 1:52.13 is the third fastest by a Sonoma County high schooler.

An hour after her record-setting 200, Davis was back in the pool for the 500 freestyle. She finished sixth.

“I’m thrilled about my time in the 200,” Davis said. “I learned in Friday’s preliminaries that I couldn’t lay back early in the race and expect to outfinish swimmers at this level. So, I swam quicker the first half of the race and then just kept it up.

“I trained a long time to get a time like this and the way I feel now, all the hard work was worth it.”

Davis edged out Montgomery freshman Jenna Bauer for third. In the prelims, Bauer finished third and Davis fourth.

Amador Valley senior Catherine Breed won the event with a time of 1:44.61 and sophomore Chelsea Chenault of Campolindo was second with a 1:45.12. Bauer never imagined she’d finish fourth as a freshman.

“I’m super happy,” she said. “It was such a big meet, I was kind of intimidated before I stepped on the blocks. I know I need to work on my turns and pushing off the wall to improve my time and I’m going to put in the time to do it.”

Bauer also finished first in the 500 consolation championship.

Analy sophomore Rebecca Baxley had a great day, finishing fifth in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 200 IM.

Taylor Young of Ursuline was the other Sonoma County athlete that was in a championship heat. The sophomore finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke. Her time of 1:04.34 eclipsed the school record.

“Taylor was outstanding and as a team we had a super meet,” coach Mark Hartman said. “Our two relay teams set school records and several other girls lowered school marks.

“It was a great season. We won NBL for the first time in school history and on top of that, the girls had a great showing at NCS.”

Local swimmers competing in consolation championship heats were: Casa Grande sophomore Reid Whaley, Windsor freshman Micaela Luders, Maria Carrillo freshman Shannon Fong, Analy sophomore Nate Kuhn, Analy freshman Jonathan Knox and Windsor junior Janarthan Nadendla.

Two girls relay teams made it to the second day, Montgomery finished 16th the 200 medley and Windsor wound up 13th in the 400 freestyle.

Windsor coach Davis was beaming after the meet and not just because of the accomplishments of her daughter, Allie.

“The Windsor swimmers and all those from Sonoma County exceeded everyone’s expectations,” she said. “There were 40 teams competing and there were no weak events. To make it to the finals was tough.”

There is no state championship meet.