The inaugural CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships will be fast.
The presence of two potential national record-setters, as well as multiple All-America swimmers in each of the 11 boys and girls events suggests that.
But a large part of the state’s elite are skipping the meet Friday and Saturday at Clovis West High’s Clovis Olympic Swim Complex because of conflicts with the summer club long-course season.
So you won’t find Saugus-Santa Clarita senior Abbey Weitzeil, the current American junior record holder in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, or Bellarmine Prep-San Jose’s Aidan Burns, a member of the U.S. Junior National team and 500 free specialist, in Clovis this weekend.
And swimmers with Olympic aspirations such as Weitzeil and Burns simply can’t devote another week to high school swimming with big meets — incluing the junior national championships in San Antonio in July — looming ahead of the Olympic Trials in 2016.
“If I want to really train for (Olympic) trials seriously, I’m going to have miss it,” Burns told the Wall Street Journal.
Despite the absence of Weitzeil, Burns and a host of prominent competitors from the swimming-rich Southern Section, there could be national records set this weekend.
Crean Lutheran-Irvine’s Ella Eastin enters with a qualifying time that is 0.08 seconds from the overall national high school mark in the 200 individual medley (the 1:53.82 of Minot-North Dakota’s Dagny Knutson in 2009), having posted an independent school record 1:53.82 at the Southern Section D-II championships.
Alex Valente of Dos Pueblos-Santa Barbara has a legitimate shot of running down the national record of Bolles School-Florida’s Joseph Schooling (45.52 in 2013) in the 100 butterfly, having swam 46.00 during the Southern Section D-I finals.
On top of that, there are 167 All-America swims (84 boys, 83 girls) entered in an event that will award medals to the top six.
“We’ve had a lot of top kids pull out but it’s still going to be a very fast meet,” Clovis West coach Adam Reid said. “And it’s going to be a great event.”
Unlike the state track and field meet, with a long history of attracting the state’s best before it was moved to Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2009, the first state swimming meet is a work in progress.
The state’s quest to draw all of swimming’s elite is complicated by the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and the steppingstone events ahead of the trials.
But Clovis West officials hope to put on a first-class meet — they have spent months refurbishing and modernizing the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex — in hopes of attracting more and more elite swimmers over the course of its three-year contract with the CIF to host the event.
“Our goal is to host the best high school meet from a meet management standpoint,” Reid said. “And we will have some really fast swimming. Hopefully, kids will come here and find out how great a meet it is and will spread the word and we’ll build the numbers of the top end kids.”
Nick Giannandrea: (559) 441-6103, @NickG_FB
State’s best in town
CIF SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Friday: Girls diving begins at 8:30 a.m. with boys and girls swimming preliminaries at 2:30 p.m.
- Saturday: Boys diving begins at 8:30 a.m. with the boys and girls swimming finals at 2:30 p.m.
- Location: Clovis West’s Clovis Olympic Swim Complex