Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 25, 2010

Smit, Tosky have a busy summer ahead of them in swimming

by Rick Eymer

The summer is only getting started for swim standouts Julia Smit and Jasmine Tosky. If things work out well for both, they could be spending a lot of time together.

While Smit is still finishing up her schooling at Stanford and Tosky has yet to begin her junior year at Palo Alto High, the two have a lot in common — both still have a lot to prove.

Despite earning Olympic relay medals in Beijing at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Smit still is searching for individual honors. Despite setting four Central Coast Section records the past two seasons, Tosky wants to prove herself on the national level.

Both will have that opportunity this summer. They'll be competing at the ConocoPhillips National Championships in Irvine from Aug. 3-7, with the top finishers advancing to the Pan Pacific Championships, also in Irvine, beginning August 18.

While Smit should compete in both meets, Tosky has a backup plan. If she fails to qualify for the Pan Pacs, she could be eligible to compete in the Junior Pan Pacs, which will be held in Maui, Hawaii, from Aug. 26-30.

Both Smit and Tosky continued their preparations for the big meets in August with solid performances at the annual Santa Clara International Invitational Grand Prix last weekend at the George F. Haines International Swim Center.

Smit helped close the meet on Sunday in one of her signature events — the 200 individual medley. She's a two-time NCAA champion in the 200-yard IM and a three-time NCAA champion in the 400-yard IM. No matter how she feels, she takes ownership of the event as the American recordholder in each race.

She won the 200-meter IM on Sunday with a 2:12.84, taking the lead during the breaststroke and holding off all comers with her strong freestyle.

"I'm definitely more in tune with that event," Smit said. "It's something I look to and I feel I know the race and can do well even when I'm tired."

Smit, who is two quarters short of a degree, will continue to train at Stanford until the 2012 London Olympics.

"London is the big goal and there are other goals along the way," she said. "There are the Pan Pac Championships and world championships and I'd like to win my first individual international medal."

Tosky, meanwhile, challenged for the victory in the 200 fly, just getting out-touched by college-bound Dagny Knutson, 2:11.33 to 2:11.41. Tosky was fourth in the 200 IM in 2:14.85, completing an outstanding meet that featured six top-four finishes in nine individual events. She also swam on relays.

"My goal was just to make the 'A' final. The first day I kind of underestimated myself," said Tosky. "I refocused and understood a little more. I knew myself a little better. It's a little frustrating (not to win) but it's not a downer. It was fine; a learning experience."

Tosky made it a habit to be on the awards podium during the four-day meet. On Friday, she stood next to California's Dana Vollmer after finishing second to the Olympian in the 100 free. Part of her was excited just to be competing with some of the top swimmers in the United States.

"In a small way inside I'm saying 'Yes!,'" Tosky said. "But I can't stop here. I'm trying to reach for where they are."

She's off to a terrific start. In addition to her time of 55.90 in the free she competed against Vollmer and Stanford grad Elaine Breeden in the finals of the 100 fly, finishing fourth in 1:00.04.

Vollmer set a meet record in the fly with a 57.73. Breeden was second in 59.37 and Christine Magnuson was third in 59.92.

"This marks a new beginning for me," Tosky said. "I'm starting to get out there more. All the work is starting to pay off."

Tosky, who won two events in record time at last month's CCS championships, is just meeting some of the top American swimmers as she continues through the summer leading up to nationals in August.

"They are showing me what I need to do and the effort it takes," she said. "The goal is the nationals and I have to continue to train hard for that meet."

Stanford senior David Mosko finished third in the men's 200 fly, finishing in 2:00.79 in a race that included world record holder Ryan Lochte, who is recovering from a knee injury.

"I've been doing a lot of volume training and I feel like I have a lot of endurance, Mosko said. "The rest is starting to help develop more speed. That's the next step of my racing."

Mosko also finished third in the men's 1,500 free with a time of 15:42.54, and was eighth in the 400 free (3:58.00).

In other events during the weekend:

Stanford senior Liz Smith was third in the women's 200 breast, matching Megan Jendrick's 2:29.62. Smith also finished fourth in the women's 100 breast and fifth in the 400 IM in 4:45.68.

Stanford senior Kelsey Ditto was second in the 800 free (8:38.71) and placed fourth in the 400 free in 4:13.73.

PASA's Maddy Schaefer (also a two-time CCS champion this year) finished fifth in 56.17.

PASA's Ally Howe had to consider her seventh-place finish in the women's 200 back a success. The 14-year-old swam 2:17.76 in a race that included Olympian Elizabeth Beisel. Stanford junior Natalie Durant was eighth in 2:18.36.

Tosky and Howe joined Schaefer and Sarah Liang to guide the PASA 400 medley relay to a third-place finish in 4:16.91.

Stanford senior Kate Dwelley swam on the winning Terrapins' relay team, which finished in 4:12.31. She also was sixth in the 200 free (2:01.83).

Locals were also well-represented in both the women's 50 free. Smit was fifth in 25.66, Cardinal junior Samantha Woodward was seventh in 25.84 and Schaefer was ninth in 25.98.

On Saturday, Tosky finished fourth in the women's 400 IM race that also included Olympians Liz Beisel and Caitlin Leverenz. Beisel won the event in 4:39.12 while Tosky went 4:44.71.

Stanford's Betsy Webb was sixth in the 100 back in 1:03.06.

Stanford sophomore Matthew Swanston, a member of the Canadian National Team, finished seventh in the men's 200 back with a time of 2:04.33.

PASA finished fourth in the women's meet with 386 points. Stanford Swimming was seventh with 282. In the men's team race, PASA finished fifth with 392 points.

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