Sacred Heart Prep senior Ally Howe is the defending Central Coast Section swim champ in the 200 IM and 100 back. So, when Gators' coach Kevin Morris put in his entries for the West Bay Athletic League championships, he did the obvious thing when it came to Howe.
He entered her in the 500 free and 100 breast.
"She will be the prohibitive favorite in almost every event, and, since SHP is the prohibitive favorite to win the meet, we're taking this opportunity to have her try some unusual events one last time," Morris explained before the meet. "Also, those two events are probably our weakest as a team, so Ally is always happy to fill in whatever the team needs. We have other swimmers who are also strong in Ally's best events."
Despite having Howe in "off" event, Morris wound up looking like a genius as everything worked out as planned. The SHP girls scored 504 points to successfully defend their league title in their own pool and Howe won both of her individual events. And how.
Howe set league and school records in both the 500 free and 100 breast, clocking 4:44.53 and 1:04.05, respectively.
The 500 time not only surpassed the automatic All-American time of 4:52.31, but it's the second-fastest in CCS history behind Jasmine Tosky's 4:43.96 for Palo Alto at the 2009 CCS meet.
"Ally Howe's 500 free was impressive," explained Morris. "She earned the 50 free, 100 free, and 200 free CCS cuts in the first two, four, and eight laps, respectively. Her 50 time was 0.08 away from the time that won the 50 (24.80), and she would have won the 100 and 200 individual events. Her time would have won CCS last year by over four seconds."
Howe also swam the leadoff leg on the 200 medley relay team that clocked 1:47.02 to set league and school records. Senior Selby Sturzenegger, sophomore Kayla Holman and freshman Kathryn Bower finished off the relay.
In the 200 free relay, Howe led off again and the Gators won in 1:36.52 for another league and school record with the same relay members as the medley squad.
Howe now holds all eight individual school records and is a member of all three relay teams that hold school marks.
Sturzenegger added a victory in the 200 free (1:55.11), Bower won the 50 free (24.80) and 100 free (54.37) with Holman winning the 100 fly (59.77).
Castilleja finished second with 277 points with Heidi Katter winning the 100 back (55.39) and anchoring the 400 free relay to victory in 3:47.89.
In the boys' meet, Sacred Heart Prep also defended its title. The Gators piled up 571 points to hold off Menlo School, which had 424.5.
Chris Hinrichs led the Gators by winning the 200 free (1:46.72) and 500 free (4:50.88). He also swam on the winning 200 free relay (1:30.08) and 400 free relay (3:22.57).
Nelson Perla-Ward won the 100 free for SHP in 49.93 and Will Conner took the 100 back in 57.10. Conner swam on the 200 medley and 400 free relays with Perla-Ward adding legs on both free relay squads.