Clovis West High’s Kelli Ann Funk became a Central Section trailblazer Friday morning.
The Golden Eagles girls and Clovis boys 200 free relay teams, meanwhile, put themselves in position to score historic golds during the inaugural CIF Swimming and Diving Championships at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex before an estimated crowd of 3,000.
Funk placed fifth in girls diving, the only event completed on the meet’s first day, with a school-record 468.55 points. Funk was seventh heading into the final three dives and jumped into a top-six medal position by nailing her inward 1 1/2 twist, back somersault with a 1 1/2 twist and front somersault with a double twist.
“I was super-excited and could hardly sleep last night,” said Funk, a three-time section champ and Texas Christian-bound senior who finished behind Immaculate Heart-Los Angeles’ Olivia Rosendahl (517.50), Nevada Union-Grass Valley’s Mikaela Lujan (492.85), Palo Alto’s Mimi Lin (489.85) and West Ranch-Valencia’s Carly Sherwood-Souza (469.80).
“It was my last high school meet and I wanted to make it my best high school meet. I know how competitive California is. It’s an honor to medal. I’m so happy and blessed.”
The rest of the day was devoted to swimming preliminaries — and the Clovis West girls and Clovis boys 200 free relays were the marquee performers from a section that advanced a combined 10 individuals and relays to today’s A finals (those in the top eight during qualifying) and 16 in the B finals (qualifiers 9-16).
Clovis West’s girls — Samantha Giannetta, Caitlyn Snyder, Sarah Snyder and Skylar Elkington — clocked an All-American 1:35.08, lowering their section record of 1:36.12 set at last week’s Division I finals. Mission-San Jose was second at 1:35.50.
“We all swam out of our minds,” Sarah Snyder said. “It doesn’t mean anything until we’re on that podium with that medal, but it’s still pretty cool. We just have to get on those blocks tomorrow and swim our hearts out.”
Clovis’ boys — Seth Nabors, Ryan McVicar, Zach Koch and Graham Hauss — swam an All-American 1:24.49, lowing their section-winning time from last week of 1:24.73. The Cougars edged San Ramon’s time of 1:24.67.
“I hope we can win it,” said Hauss, a B finals qualifier individually in the 200 free (10th in 1:40.39) and 500 free (10th in consideration 4:34.10), as well as a member of Clovis’ 400 free relay. “It would do a lot for Clovis High and the Valley, too.”
Bullard’s Erik Overstreet was the only section swimmer to make A finals in two individual events after finishing eighth in the 200 free (consideration All-American 1:39.83) and sixth in the 500 free (All-American 4:30.51).
“I feel like I should drop time tomorrow,” said the UC Santa Barbara-bound Overstreet. “Hopefully I’ll get into the top five. With all of these super-fast swimmers, I’d be on top of the world to be in the elite five.”
Porterville’s Kyle Grissom entered as a contender to reach the A finals in the 50 free (where he was seeded second) and 100 fly (seeded fifth). But he was a little off in both events, finishing sixth in the 50 free (20.79 after swimming 20.45 last week) and 12th in the 100 fly (49.36 after a 48.35 last week).
“Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll definitely have to bring my A game since it wasn’t here today,” said Grissom, who is headed to USC.
Other A finals qualifiers on the boys side included Clovis North’s Carson Ivancovich (eighth in 100 free in consideration 45.92), Clovis West’s Colin Cavanaugh (seventh in 500 free in consideration 4:33.36) and the Clovis West 400 free relay team (senior Chad Alavezos, senior Colin Cavanaugh, junior Preston Mayer and junior Matt Elkington seventh in consideration 3:08.53), while Clovis’ Ryan McVicar (12th in 50 free in 21.22), Clovis West’s Matt Elkington (13th in 100 fly in All-American 49.40 and 14th in 100 back in consideration 50.90), Buchanan’s Tanner Olmos (12th in 500 free in consideration 4:34.70) and both the Clovis (Nabors, Connor Beers, Ray Talmage and Hauss 10th in consideration 3:08.98) and Clovis North (Jia Michael, Mark Solorio, Cooper Engleman and Ivancovich 13th in consideration 3:09.41) 400 free relay teams made B finals.
Ivancovich is a UC San Diego-bound water polo player who, despite training only since February, has a chance to earn a state medal.
“That’s what makes this special,” Ivancovich said. “Because my focus is on (water polo.)”
On the girls side, Tulare Western’s Mallory Korenwinder made the A final in the 100 breast (fifth in an All-American 1:03.06) and B final in the 200 individual medley (12th in 2:04,85), while Buchanan’s Stephanie Bartel (10th in 200 free in a consideration 1:50.74 and 16th in 100 back in 57.08), Clovis North’s Hunter Winslow (15th in 200 free in 1:51.58), Clovis West’s Caitlyn Snyder (14th in 200 IM in 2:05.37), as well as the Clovis (Adie Collard, Audree Preble, McKenna Hauss and Jillian Hatch 10th in consideration 3:30.34) and Clovis West (Giannetta, Elkington, Sarah Snyder and Caitlyn Snyder 11th in consideration 3:30.53) 400 free relays made B finals.
“It’s cool to represent my school and Clovis and to be the first to do a lot of things,” Winslow said. “The meet is really well put together. I like the whole energy that’s happening and how many people showed up.”
National record pursuits by Crean Lutheran-Irvine’s Ella Eastin and Dos Pueblos-Santa Barbara’s Alex Valente never materialized, at least in prelims. Eastin won the girls 200 IM in 1:58.44 after going 1:53.90 last week (1:53.82 is the national mark), while Valente won the boys 100 fly in 47.83 after going 46.0 last week (45.52 is the national mark).
The event concludes today with the boys diving starting at 8:30 a.m. and the girls and boys swimming finals beginning at 2:30 p.m.