Sports

Local swim All-Americans ranked among the nation's best

Palo Alto's Andrew Liang and Sacred Heart Prep grad Ally Howe are not only headed to Stanford in the fall, but they've left quite a swimming legacy for next year's aspiring prep stars.

Liang and Howe proved themselves to be among the best in the nation this past season, performances that surfaced this week in the annual National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) high school All-American lists.

Liang finished among the top 25 in the nation in five events this past season. His best effort was a 47.09 in the 100-yard butterfly, which ranked him No. 3 in the country and No. 1 in the state.

Liang also tied for No. 7 in the 50 free with a 20.14 that is believed to be No. 1 in the state. He also ranked No. 15 in the 100 free (44.25), was a member of the 200 medley relay team that was No. 10 in the country and No. 4 in the state with a 1:31.28, and anchored the school record-setting 400 free relay that clocked 3:04.14 to rank No. 24 nationally.

Joining Liang on the medley relay was William Lee, Scott Powell and Winston Wang, while Alex Liang, Lee and Andrew Cho swam the first three legs on the 400 free relay.

One of Liang's teammates at Stanford this fall will be Curtis Ogren, who ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 200 IM (1:44.90) and No. 5 in the 100 breast (53.81) to cap a sensational career at St. Francis. His 200 IM established a national private schools record.

Another incoming Stanford freshman, Patrick Conaton of Fordham Prep in Bronxville, N.Y., ranked No. 11 in the 100 back at 48.53.

Howe, meanwhile, led the nation in the 100 back with her national private school record of 51.54 that ranks No. 2 all-time for private or public schools.

Howe also ranked No. 4 nationally in the 200 IM with a 1:57.75, No. 4 in the 500 free (4:44.53) and No. 23 in the 100 free (50.12).

Howe also swam on the Gators' 200 medley relay that ranked 12th in the nation with a 1:43.25 and on the 400 free relay squad that was No. 13 with a 3:25.03.

Joining Howe on the relay teams were Selby Sturzenegger, Kayla Holman and Kathryn Bower. Both relay times were school records, giving Howe a part of every school mark at Sacred Heart Prep, including all eight individual events (excluding diving).

Palo Alto freshman Grace Zhao also placed her name among the nation's best this season. She ranked No. 23 in both the 50 free (23.04) and 100 breast (1:02.58), but was the No. 2 freshman in the nation in both events.

Gunn junior Jenna Campbell, meanwhile, ranked No. 8 nationally in the 200 free (1:47.10).

Joining Howe this season at Stanford will be a handful of standouts who also ranked among the best.

Janet Hu of Oakton High in Vienna, Va., was No. 2 in the 50 free (22.11), No. 2 in the 100 back (52.35) No. 4 in the 100 fly (52.46), and No. 7 in the 200 IM (1:58.94).

Heidi Poppe of San Ramon Valley was No. 2 in the 100 breast in 59.85 while Lindsey Engel of Crean Lutheran in Irvine was No. 4 in the 100 free (49.00) and No. 9 in the 50 free (22.71).

And Stanford coach Greg Meehan likely can't wait until the fall of 2015 when the world's finish distance swimmer, Katie Ledecky, is expected to join the Cardinal.

All the junior from Stone Ridge High in Bethesda, Md., did this season was set a national Independent (private) Schools record in the 200 free (1:42.38) -- fastest ever for private or public -- plus a national prep mark and American record of 4:28.71 in the 500 free.

Many of the top incoming freshmen will be competing at the Speedo Junior National Championships, July 30-Aug. 3 at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex in Irvine. That meet will be followed by the Phillips 66 National Championships, Aug. 6-10 at the same venue.

In other swim news:

A handful of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (PASA) swimmers have been named to represent Pacific Swimming at the 2014 Western Zone Championships on Aug. 6-9 in Federal Way, Wash.

PASA athletes include Anthony Sebastian (10-under boys), Guy Zamir (11-12 boys), Gabrielle Anderson (13-14 girls), Sophia Balmaceda (13-14 girls), Sydney Keller (13-14 girls), Grace Tramack (13-14 girls), and Brian Copley (13-14 boys).

PASA also will be represented on the Pacific Swimming team for the 2014 North American Challenge Cup, Aug. 7-9 in Veracruz, Mexico -- Brooke Schaffer (11-12 girls), Sophia Sebastian (11-12 girls), Ryan Kim (11-12 boys), Matte Snow (13-14 girls), Zoe Lusk (13-14 girls), Claire Lin (13-14 girls), Emily Wilkinson (13-14 girls), Aaron Kuo (13-14 boys), and Kelvin Tay (13-14 boys).

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