Many of California’s top high school competitors are expected in Fresno this weekend for the second CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships.
And in several events, Central Section participants will be there stroke for stroke against swimmers from the national hotbeds of the sport in Southern and Northern California when the meet launches Friday and concludes Saturday at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex.
“We’ve got great representation from the Central Valley at the state meet,” event director and Clovis West coach Adam Reid said. “We’re right there in the mix. We have a lot of Central Section athletes, especially here in Clovis Unified, that have shots at scoring at the state meet. And that definitely helps the reputation of the Central Valley in terms of swimming.”
We’re right there in the mix. We have a lot of Central Section athletes, especially her in Clovis Unified, that have shots at scoring at the state meet. And that definitely helps the reputation of the Central Valley in terms of swimming.
Clovis West coach Adam Reid on the chances of local swimmers medaling at the CIF State Championships
Central Section competitors have 12 seeded times among the top eight and 12 more among the top 16 swims entering the meet, which is expected to draw more than 600 swimmers and 200-plus teams. Placing in the top eight at Friday’s preliminaries, which start at 2:30 p.m., earns a berth in Satuday’s A finals. Placing ninth through 16th lands a spot in the B finals.
Clovis West’s Matt Elkington in the 200 free and Clovis’ 200 free relay of Graham Hauss, Jacob Rolih, Jesse Serpa and Zach Koch are seeded second.
Elkington’s Central Section-winning 1 minute, 36.91 seconds is 0.05 seconds behind Palo Alto’s Alex Liang. Clovis’ 200 free relay of Seth Nabors, Ryan McVicar, Koch and Hauss, captured the section’s first state gold last year in 1:23.60. This year, the Cougars (1:23.71) are seeded behind San Ramon (1:22.35).
Also in line on the boys side to contend for state medals, which go to the top six in each event, are Hauss in the 200 free and 500 free (seeded sixth in both), Elkington in the 100 butterfly (eighth), Buchanan’s Tanner Olmos in the 500 free (eighth), Clovis West’s 200 free (fifth) and 400 free (fourth) relays and Clovis’ 400 free relay (third).
For the girls, Tulare Western’s Mallory Korenwinder is seeded third in the 100 breaststroke after placing fifth at state last season. Clovis’ Averee Preble is seeded sixth in the 500 free and Buchanan’s Stephanie Bartel seventh in the 200 IM.
To get to swim against some of the best people in the state, and some of the best in the nation, honestly, I couldn’t be happier.
Buchanan swimmer Stephanie Bartel on participating in the CIF State Championships
“I’m pretty happy with how our section looks,” Clovis coach Peter Tragitt said. “Southern California and pockets of Northern California are traditionally quite a bit stronger than us. But this year, especially relay-wise both on boys and girls, we’re seeded really well, which is exciting.”
Clovis West’s Skylar Elkington, who wasn’t fully tapered last week while winning the 50 and 100 free at the section Division I championships, could improve on her seedings of 11th and 12th.
And Clovis West’s 200 free relay, which adds freshman Abby Samansky to returners Elkington, Caitlyn Snyder and Sarah Snyder to a team that placed second in the state last year, is a contender to improve on its 12th seed.
“I want to make sure I can drop some time in my events,” Elkington said. “This past weekend, I didn’t do as well as I would have hoped for, so I hope to do better than that. Maybe place top eight or top 16 and the relay, I hope to do what we did last year or maybe even win it. That would be awesome.”
While some of the state’s elite swimmers, such as Santa Margarita Catholic’s Grant Shoults (who set national high school records in the 200 and 500 free last week) are skipping this weekend’s meet to focus on the U.S. Olympic Trials, the CIF State Championships won’t lack star power.
Granada-Livermore’s Maxime Rooney, who set a junior world record in the 200 free in 2015, will compete in relays only and headlines a field that also includes Palo Alto’s Liang (200 and 500 free), Los Altos-Hacienda Heights’ Albert Gwo (50 free, 100 free), Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills’ Bryce Mefford (200 free, 100 fly), Aptos’ Christopher Staka (100 free, 100 back), San Ramon Valley-Danville’s Hank Poppe (50 free, 100 breast), Ayala-Chino Hills’ Kenisha Liu (200 free, 100 free), Glendale’s Alexis Margett (200 IM, 100 fly), Menlo-Atherton’s Izzy Henig (100 free, 50 free) and Crean Lutheran-Irvine’s Emily Eastin (100 fly, 100 back) and Elise Garcia (50 free, 100 free).
“I’m so excited for state,” said Bartel, a junior who set Central Section records in the 200 IM, 100 back and 100 free at last week’s Division I meet. “To get to swim against some of the best people in the state, and some of the best in the nation, honestly, I couldn’t be happier.”
CIF STATE SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Second annual meet at Clovis Olympic Swim Complex:
- 8:30 a.m.: Boys diving finals
- 2:30 p.m.: Swimming preliminaries
- Admission: $10; children/students (ASB card)/seniors 65-plus $7
- 8:30 a.m.: Girls diving finals
- 2:30 p.m.: Swimming finals
- Admission: $12; children/students (ASB card)/seniors 65-plus $8