Clovis High’s boys freestylers saved their best for last Saturday to provide the Central Section’s signature performances of the second CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships.
First, the Cougars’ Graham Hauss, Jacob Rolih, Jesse Serpa and Zach Koch led from start to finish, edging top-seeded San Ramon Valley-Danville by 0.74 seconds while winning the 200-yard free relay for the second straight year in an All-American time of 1 minute, 23.12 seconds.
“It feels good,” Koch said. “We’ve been looking forward to it all year and we finally did it.”
Later, the team of Hauss, Rolih, Seth Nabors and Koch proved even more dominant in the 400 free relay, finishing 0.90 seconds ahead of second-place Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills in an All-American 3:03.35 as Clovis captured the only two gold medals on a day that saw 15 Central Section entries – eight individuals and seven relays – reach the medal podium at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex with a top-six finish.
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Central Section competitors earned six medals during the inaugural state meet last year.
I couldn’t be more proud of my brothers.
Graham Hauss, who swam the lead-off legs for Clovis High’s state-title winning 200 and 400 free relays
“It was really awesome to come home with both the wins in the relays,” said Hauss, who also medaled individually in the 200 free and 500 free. “I just wanted to try and get the best lead I could for my team, getting out there and making sure we were still in it. They just finished it. They did awesome. I couldn’t be more proud of my brothers.”
The Cougars entered the state meet seeded second in the 200 free relay and third in the 400 free relay.
Then Clovis finished fourth during Friday’s preliminaries in the 200 free relay behind San Ramon Valley, Granada-Livermore and rival Clovis West.
But in the final, the Cougars went 0.48 seconds faster than the team of Nabors, Ryan McVicar, Koch and Hauss swam last year while winning the 2015 state title.
“It took a lot of hard work. We had – not a rough swim yesterday, but it wasn’t our best,” Serpa said. “We weren’t the first seed, so that really pumped us up to go fast and do what had to be done.
“It’s a testament to all the months we put into it. It’s really nice to have something to show for that. We were pretty confident coming into it. We knew there were some guys who are really fast, but we’re fast, too, and we gave it our all.”
15 Central Section entries – eight individuals and seven relays – who reached the medal podium with a top-six finish at the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships
Clovis finished third in the boys team standings with 107 points and Clovis West fifth with 89. Oak Ridge won with 136 points.
After finishing behind Clovis West during preliminaries in the 400 free relay, Clovis left their rivals in their wake as the Golden Eagles (Jacob Roberts, Austin Krietemeyer, Preston Mayer and Matt Elkington) finished third in an All-American 3:04.71.
“Last year watching both relays win Valley championships and a state title, I just wanted to contribute to that this year,” Clovis’ Rolih said. “That’s what I got a chance to do this year, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
The relay titles capped a grand day for Hauss, who also reached the medal stand by placing sixth in the 200 free (1:38.62) and fifth in the 500 free (4:28.85), both All-American times.
Clovis West’s Elkington also was a quadruple medalist, placing fourth in the 200 free (1:37.74), sixth in the 100 fly (49.23) and fifth as part of the 200 free relay (joining Roberts, Craig McCoy and Tyler Cotton in 1:24.87). All of his individual and relay times were All-American.
“I’m disappointed in most swims,” said Elkington, who had the fastest time in the 200 free and helped power the fastest 400 free relay during preliminaries. “But it was a good season and a good year, so I can’t be too let down.”
The Clovis boys finished third with 107 points, and Clovis West was fifth with 89. Oak Ridge won with 136.
Girls: Korenwinder has section’s top individual performance
Tulare Western’s Mallory Korenwinder had the section’s top individual performance, finishing second in the 100 breast in an All-American 1:01.40. She was fifth in the event last year.
Korenwinder led through 50 yards, but got caught by Terra Linda-San Rafael’s Halle Morris down the stretch. Morris finished in 1:01.30.
“I thought I had her at the end, but overall, it was good,” said Korenwinder, who also placed ninth in the 100 butterfly, winning the B final in a consideration All-American 55.05. “I’ve raced her a lot so it was an honor to swim against her and for her to win. It’s definitely an improvement from last year, and for that I’m thrilled.”
Buchanan’s Stephanie Bartel and Clovis’ Jillian Hatch and Averee Preble also medaled individually.
Bartel was sixth in the 200 individual medley in a consideration 2:02.96, then later placed eighth in the 100 back in a consideration 55.54.
“Going out I knew the girls would be fast, I just had to keep my cool and keep my confidence,” Bartel said of the 200 IM. “I didn’t want to go out too fast and die. Bringing it home, I just knew I had to keep my head down and get a medal.
“I was really excited to show off a little bit of what I’ve done. Even though it’s not my best time, I couldn’t be happier with it.”
Hatch, who didn’t qualify individually for the state meet last season, finished fifth in the 200 free (1:49.12), 10th in the 500 free (4:55.43) and joined Preble, Adie Collard and Audree Preble on the second-place 400 free relay (3:25.68).
“It was really surprising,” Hatch said of her podium finish in the 200 free. “I had a rough Valley’s, but this is my last high school meet. I wanted to make it a good one and finish strong. It was a good race, my best time. There’s nothing really more I could ask for.”
Averee Preble, a freshman, was fifth in the 500 free (4:51.31) and 11th in the 100 fly (55.77).
Hopefully I can keep this event over the next few years and hopefully move up the podium.
Clovis freshman Averee Preble, who finished fifth in the girls 500 free
“I was really wanting to get on that podium,” Preble said. “That was my goal since the beginning of the season. To do it as a freshman, I’m really happy. Hopefully I can keep this event over the next few years and hopefully move up the podium.”
The other medal finishes went to Clovis West’s freestyle relays, as Abby Samansky, Caitlyn Snyder, Sarah Snyder and Skylar Elkington placed third in the 200 (1:34.86) and fifth in the 400 (3:27.75).
Individually, Elkington was seventh in the 50 free (23.54) and 10th in the 100 free (51.51).
“I’m happy with how I did today,” said Skylar Elkington, a junior and the younger sister of senior Matt. “My 100 wasn’t what I wanted, but my 50 I’m really pleased with. I dropped three-tenths of a second and that’s quite a bit in a 50. Even though I was really close to getting sixth, I’m happy with it.”
Crean Lutheran-Irvine won the girls title.