2013 All-Empire Girls Swimming: Cardinal Newman’s Young saved best for last

By MATT MORRISON
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Taylor Young, Cardinal Newman.  (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

Taylor Young, Cardinal Newman. (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

In a whirlwind year when she competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials and accepted a scholarship to national power Cal — where she’ll team with perhaps the best female swimmer in the world — Taylor Young didn’t have any expectation of being named The Press Democrat’s All-Empire Girls Swimmer of the Year.

Among a crowded field of worthy candidates, the Cardinal Newman graduate was surprised by the swimming award.

“I never thought of that,” Young said, “but I’m really, really proud of that.”

The all-around talent and breaststroke specialist was a double winner at the North Bay League championships, taking the 200 IM and the 100 breast. Young took second in both events at the North Coast Section championships, notching 2:01.53 in the 200 IM and 1:01.23 in the 100 breast. She also turned in a personal-best 51.96 in the NCS 100 free time trial.

Young’s season-ending performance earned her the All-Empire top award over 2012 honoree Jenna Bauer of Montgomery (second place in NCS 500 free, fourth in NCS 200 free), Petaluma sophomore Riley Scott (third place behind Young in the NCS 200 IM and 100 breast) and Analy senior Rebecca Baxley (two top-eight finishes at NCS).

The personal recognition put a smile on her face, but when asked what she was most proud of over the course of her senior year, Young said, “My training. I’ve become a more positive person. In the past year I’ve grown up. I’ve matured and now bring what I’ve done in training to the (competition) pool. I’ve really improved mentally and emotionally as a swimmer.”

Young credits part of her success to the return of a familiar poolside presence. “The biggest highlight for me was having Mark Hartman back as head coach,” she said. “He quit my junior year and I really like Mark as a coach.”

She also leaves with appreciation for her teammates.

“Everyone here was very, very supportive,” she said. “It’s bittersweet and hard to leave. I’m going to miss my team but I know the support they’ve given me will help me in the future.”

As she continues to compete this summer for the Santa Rosa Neptunes club, Young next moves on to one of the top college programs in the nation. She’ll suit up in blue and gold for coach Teri McKeever at Cal next season. The recruiting process was fun but stressful.

“The beginning of my senior year I went on four trips; it was really overwhelming,” said Young, who also visited USC, Arizona and Auburn. “Every single school is so amazing, and they all make it seem like they want you so bad. But you just have to decide what’s best for you.”

That turned out to be an easy choice after visiting the Berkeley campus. “Once I took a trip there I knew it was my school,” she said.

Young will swim under McKeever, a veteran Olympic coach who has guided the careers of Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer, among others. The Golden Bears, coming off a second-place finish in the NCAAs, are reloading with freshman talent that includes Young and Olympic superstar Missy Franklin.

“I am so excited about that,” Young said of training with perhaps the best female swimmer of her generation. She met Franklin in spring at the Cal Day orientation.

“She is just so nice. Exactly like you see her on TV and in interviews,” Young said. “She’s really spirited and I’m really excited to be teammates with her.”

SWIMMER OF THE YEAR
Taylor Young, Cardinal Newman, Sr.

COACH OF THE YEAR
Lauren Liotta, Santa Rosa

FIRST TEAM
Jenna Bauer, Montgomery, Jr.
Riley Scott, Petaluma, Soph.
Rebecca Baxley, Analy, Sr.
Micaela Luders, Windsor, Jr.
Reid Whaley, Casa Grande, Sr.
Kate Sabourin, Montgomery, Sr.
Piper Brockley, Maria Carrillo, Fr.
Lily Maxfield, Analy, Soph.
Georgie Pettibone, Analy, Sr.
Victoria Le, Maria Carrillo, Soph.
Celine Sargis, Santa Rosa, Jr.

SECOND TEAM
Jessica Lee, Windsor, Soph.
Lani Avua’a, Analy, Fr.
Angelica Nowack, Montgomery, Jr.
Julia Personeni, Cardinal Newman, Sr.
Eva Ratcliffe, Montgomery, Fr.
Maggie Selzer, Ukiah, Fr.
Sara Soares, Analy, Soph.
Katie Carlin, Maria Carrillo, Fr.
Ellie Petty, Maria Carrillo, Soph.
Danielle Illing, Montgomery, Sr.
Mariah Larwood, Ukiah, Soph.
Christy Schlutius, Analy, Fr.

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