Seth Nabors, Ryan McVicars, Zach Koch and Graham Hauss delivered the Central Section’s marquee performance of the inaugural CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships.
The Clovis High foursome struck gold in the 200 free relay in an All-America 1:23.60, the highest placing of eight section medalists during the two-day meet that concluded Saturday at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex.
“I’m so glad we could come home with gold,” Hauss said. “Not just for Clovis High, but for the Valley, too. This is big.”
Clovis touched the wall fifth through the first leg and fourth after the second. Then Koch swam a 20.68-second split to pull the Cougars into second.
“First, I wanted to have a good start and after that, I went all-out and set it up for Graham,” Koch said. “I knew we could win this. Everyone did what they were supposed to do.”
Hauss, who was disappointed after failing to make the A final in his two individual events (200 free and 500 free) Friday, then brought it home for Clovis, covering the final 50 yards in 20.66 seconds to secure the victory. Newport Harbor was second in 1:24.27.
“I saved all my energy for this race. I was ready,” said Hauss, 14th in the 200 free, 16th in the 500 and ninth as a member of the 400 free relay that included Nabors, Connor Beers and Ray Talmage. “I was swimming like crazy. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my high school season.”
Clovis West’s girls 200 free relay of Samantha Giannetta, Caitlyn Snyder, Sarah Snyder and Skylar Elkington narrowly missed a second gold for the section, touching second in an All-America 1:34.01, 13 one-hundreths of a second behind Palo Alto (1:33.88).
“It’s awesome to place at the first state meet,” said Elkington, who pulled the Golden Eagles from fourth to second with a 22.89-second final leg.
Clovis West entered as the top seed, going 1:35.08 during preliminaries.
“We’re all really happy,” Giannetta said. “Even though we got second, we dropped time and we all swam out of our minds.”
The only other silver for a section competitor went to Porterville’s Kyle Grissom, who swam an All-America 20.43 in the 50 free after placing sixth in 20.79 during preliminaries. Los Altos’ Albert Gwo was first in 19.90.
Grissom was 12th in the 100 butterfly (All-America 49.26). The USC-bound senior entered seeded second (50 free) and fifth (100 fly).
“I’ll definitely take it,” Grissom said. “Anything from yesterday is an improvement. Yesterday I put a little too much pressure on myself. I’m a lot more content today.”
Buchanan’s Connor Cain was third in diving with 529.90 points, finishing behind Crean Lutheran-Irvine’s Colten Young (581.45) and Palo Alto’s Reed Merrit (554.05).
Cain was seeded eighth at a meet that awarded medals to the top six. He was third after the first round, dropped to seventh, then nailed his final three dives — a back 1.5 pike, a back 1.5 flip with 1.5 twist and a front 1.5 twist — to finish third.
“I wanted to place at least top five,” said Cain, a three-time section champion headed to the University of Utah. “I didn’t know how it would end up, though. There were some amazing, amazing divers out there. I’m definitely proud of myself for finishing third.”
Bullard’s Erik Overstreet, one of two section swimmers to make two individual A finals, was fourth in the 500 free in 4:29.65 and seventh in the 200 free in 1:38.94, both All-America times.
“It’s amazing. I wasn’t expecting this, to be honest,” the UC Santa Barbara-bound Overstreet said of the 500 free finish. “Everyone out there was really fast. I’m happy to be fourth in that group.”
State medals also went to Tulare Western’s Mallory Korenwinder, who placed fifth in the girls 100 breaststroke in an All-America 1:03.03 and Clovis West’s boys 400 relay (Matt Elkington, Colin Cavanaugh, Preston Mayer and Chad Alavezos), who were sixth in an All-America 3:06.67.
“It was a good meet for me; I had a couple of drops,” said Korenwinder, who lowered her time from prelims by 0.03 seconds in the 100 breaststroke and placed 15th in the 200 individual medley in 2:04.36. “It’s an honor to be a part of the first state meet. Hopefully it keeps going for years and years to come.”
The other section competitors to make the A finals were Clovis North’s Carson Ivancovich (seventh in the boys 100 free in a consideration All-America 45.64) and the Broncos’ 200 free relay team (Jia Michael, Mark Solorio, Copper Engleman and Ivancovich finishing seventh in a consideration 1:25.75).
“It’s great to be able to go out in my last meet and say I was seventh in the state,” said Ivancovich, who is headed to UC San Diego to play water polo. “Racing all these guys was a pleasure.”
Clovis West’s Kelli Ann Funk was fifth in diving (468.55) Friday.
Northgate-Walnut Creek’s boys (192 points) and JSerra-San Juan Capistrano’s girls (201) captured the team titles.
Crean Lutheran’s Ella Eastin, who entered as a threat to break the national prep record in the 200 individual medley, won in 1:54.31. That was a little short of the U.S. high school standard, a 1:53.82 by Minot-North Dakota’s Dagny Knutson in 2009.