Analy swimmers excel at NCS meet

By MATT MORRISON
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

CONCORD — On a day when three swimmers shattered the American high school record in the boys 100-meter breaststroke, Sonoma County League champion Analy emerged as the top Redwood Empire finisher at the North Coast Section Swimming and Diving Championship, with the Tigers boys and girls team each finishing in 16th place.

That was good for 17th overall in the combined team total.

Analy was led by senior Rebecca Baxley, who scored a total of 27 individual points with fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle, respectively. Junior Jon Knox took fifth in the 100 back and eighth in the 200 free, and Nathan Kuhn had top-10 results in the 100 back and 100 free, while Georgie Pettibone and Lily Maxfield contributed with their respective 11th- and 13th-place finishes in the girls 100 breaststroke.

Baxley, who’s headed for the University of Texas, was emotional with the realization that she had just finished her last high school meet.

“I can’t believe it,” Baxley said. “It went by so fast. I can’t believe it’s my last one. I just cried tears of joy because I finished my last race. It’s crazy. I have to say this is the best our team has ever done at this meet. I couldn’t have asked for a better last season, so it was really, really great.”

Out of the North Bay League, Cardinal Newman finished tied for 28th and Maria Carillo tied for 36th in the combined team totals.

Individually, Cardinals senior Taylor Young was as good as expected, taking second in both the girls 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. Kate Sabourin of Montgomery finished 12th in the 200 IM.

Montgomery junior Jenna Bauer set a Redwood Empire record of 4:48.58 while placing second in the 500 free. Bauer also took fourth in the 200 free. Petaluma soph Riley Scott finished third in the 200 IM and 100 breast.

Maria Carillo’s Shannon Fong and Victoria Le finished 10th and 12th in the boys and girls 100 butterfly, respectively. Santa Rosa High senior Kevin Mertz finished his career by managing a fifth-place finish in the 500 free as well as 12th in the 200 free
In team events, Analy took ninth and Montgomery 13th in the girls medley relay, and the Vikings girls also took 16th in the 400 free relay to close the meet.

The overflow crowd was treated to a historic race at the Concord Community Pool Saturday.

The final individual event of the meet produced the three fastest high school times ever in the boys 100 breast, all in the same race. Campolindo senior Steven Strumph shattered the national school record at 53.39 seconds, and right in Strumph’s wake were juniors Charlie Wiser of Miramonte (53.57) and Nick Silverthorn of Granada (53.61). They now stand first, second and third in the national high school record book.

With the crowd still buzzing from one of the best individual races in NCS history, the Carondelet girls pumped up the crowd again with a new national record of 3:20.42 in the 400 freestyle relay.

The record time knocked more than a second of the old mark set earlier this season in Pennsylvania. It was just one of the performances that helped Carondelet to the overall girls team title.

Wide-eyed with his new national record in the 100 breast, Strumph said, “It’s just incredible. Racing against these two guys is a once in a lifetime experience. I mean, how many other times do you have three guys go under the record?”

The USC-bound Strumph shared the public school mark for two days with Brendan Hansen, the six-time Olympic medalist and former world record holder. After setting the new standard, he gave some credit to Hansen, who he’s worked with at the US Olympic training center in Colorado.

“Thanks for inspiring me all these years and taking that picture with me at the Santa Clara Grand Prix when I was 12 years old. It started it all.”

Including relays, a total of nine NCS records were broken on the final day of competition. Strumph also set a new mark in winning the 100 fly. Las Lomas senior Jackson Miller set two new standards as well, winning the boys 200 and 500 yard freestyle events. Carondelet senior Chelsea Chenault is credited with a new NCS record in the 100 free for her time of 49.27 in the leadleg of the record-setting 400 free relay.

The record performances propelled Campolindo to a ninth straight NCS boys team title, while Carondelet was a runaway winner for the girls championship.

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