Athletes prove that talent can top technology
Palo Alto's Tosky, Sacred Heart Prep'sKremer set records at CCS swim finals without high-tech suits
Jasmine Tosky and Tom Kremer both wore full-length, high-tech suits a year ago at the Central Coast Section Swimming and Diving Championships. Both were highly successful.
Due to a ban on the suits, none of the athletes who competed Saturday in the section finals at the George F. Haines International Swim Center were aided by technology.
While eight fewer section records were set than the year before (10 vs. 18) and 48 fewer automatic All-American times registered (76 vs. 124), Tosky and Kremer showed they certainly didn't need the faster suits to go faster.
Tosky set two CCS records on Saturday and four total in the two-day meet while Kremer broke two school records and helped in lowering a third in the finals.
On a day more fitting for sitting in front of a fire, the athletes regained the spotlight while overcoming the lack of faster suits plus the cold and windy weather. Bellarmine swam off with its 26th straight boys' title by scoring 384 points while Mitty took the girls' crown with 292.5.
The Palo Alto girls, after losing to Mitty by just three points last season, came in with high hopes of dethroning the Monarchs. All the Vikings lacked was another one or two Toskys. Paly finished with 256.5 points for second.
After winning CCS titles in the 200 IM and 500 free in her freshman season, Tosky turned to the 200 free and 100 fly this weekend. The results were the same. She crushed the CCS mark in the 200 free in Friday's prelims with a 1:44.47 and then lowered it again Saturday with a winning 1:44.11. That time ranks No. 3 all-time in U.S. history for 15-16 year olds.
Both of Tosky's 200 free times surpassed the listed state record of 1:45.14 by Karlee Bispo of Downey (Modesto) in 2008, according to the CalHi Sports record book.
Tosky also won the 100 fly in 52.77, breaking her own CCS record of 52.84 from the prelims. That, too, ranks No. 3 all-time for 15-16 year olds and, like the 200 free, was an automatic All-American time. Both her fly times surpassed the listed state record of 53.54 by Tara Thomas of Beckman (Irvine) in 2007.
Tosky also anchored the 200 medley relay team to second place in 1:47.06, an automatic All-American time but slower than same foursome swam last season when the Vikings set the CCS record of 1:44.31. Mitty won the race and just pulled away from there in the team competition. Tosky finished her outstanding meet with a sizzling 47.63 anchor leg on the 400 free relay to bring Paly from third to second in 3:28.20. Tosky's relay leg is one of the fastest in high school history. The national record for the public school's non-relay 100 free is 48.15.
Tosky did all of this without the aid of the full-length, high-tech golden suit she wore last season.
"I still have it," she said. "It's packed away. I will never wear it again, not even for fun."
Quite obviously, she doesn't need to — not after the times she put up Saturday.
"I thought they were decent times," Tosky said. "I was hoping for better. A little closer to national marks."
Tosky actually came very close to breaking the Girls Public High School national record of 52.41 in the 100 fly. That mark was set in 1996 by Misty Hyman, who later starred at Stanford and won an Olympic gold medal in the 200 fly. Tosky's 200 free, believed to be the fastest in state history, was just off the public schools national record of 1:42.81.
"I guess I expected more out of myself," Tosky explained. "There's just something in me that wants more."
Sacred Heart Prep's Kremer also was left wanting a little more, especially from the 100 back. While he twice broke his own school record, once in the prelims (50.46) and again in the finals (50.05), it still wasn't quite good enough.
"I really wanted to go under 50 (seconds)," he said. "It was a good time, but I've gone 49-high (with his club team)."
Kremer was happy, however, with his 200 free victory. His time of 1:37.45 was his first CCS individual crown, broke the school record of 1:38.90 by Alex Navarro and just missed the CCS mark of 1:37.11.
"I'm really happy with the 200 free," he said. "I thought that was the tougher one to get. It was more of a wildcard."
In addition to the automatic All-American times in his individual events, Kremer added a leg on the third-place 200 free relay team that lowered the school record to 1:26.41. He also led off the 400 free relay team (3:08.34) in a sizzling 46.40 that would have gotten him third in the open 100 free. Philip Bamberg, Andrew Savage and David Culpan joined Kremer on the fast relays. The Gators finished third in the team race with 156.5 points, tying their previous best showing.
The Gunn girls also had an outstanding meet with 220 points and a fourth-place finish, even though coach Mark Hernandez felt his squad could have finished as high as second had everything gone the Titans' way. Still, Gunn broke the school record in the 200 free relay that it set in the prelims with a 1:34.51 in the finals — faster than the listed CCS record. The Titans, however, finished second to St. Francis' 1:34.16. Gunn also broke the school record in the 400 free relay (3:28.88) that was relegated to third due to Tosky's sizzling anchor leg.
Gunn sophomore Julia Ama had a school record of 23.43 in the prelims of the 50 free (she was second in the finals in 23.54 to St. Francis' Maddy Schaefer's national independent schools' record of 22.24). Gunn junior Emily Watkins broke the school record in the 100 breast (1:06.34 in the prelims) and finished fifth in the finals. Gunn sophomore Casey Lincoln also broke a school record in the 500 free with a 4:55.20. Sophomore Rachael Acker scored big points in the 50 free, 200 free and on the relays along with senior Teva Levens.
The Menlo-Atherton girls, who were 31st last year, finished 19th with 29 points. Senior Sarah Winters broke her own school record in the 200 free with a 1:52.57. It was her third school mark in three races. She also finished fifth in the 500 free with a season best of 5:00.62, No. 2 in school history.
The Palo Alto girls also received some solid efforts from junior Sarah Liang (second in the 100 breast, third in 200 IM); freshman Molly Zebker (sixth in 200 IM); junior Grace Greenwood (fifth in diving); and sophomore Margaret Wenzlau (fourth in 100 fly).
Paly was leading the meet, 153-148, over Mitty after the 100 free but was outscored by the Monarchs in the 500 free (38.5 to 4.5) and Mitty took the lead for good.
"Yeah, I knew the 500 would kill us," said Paly coach Danny Dye, who was missing sophomore Abby Duckett, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury this season after taking second in the 500 last year. "Abby would have helped, but she had to take care of her shoulder and that is the more important aspect. In honesty, she would have helped just as much being on the 400 relay. I then could have put Sarah Liang on the medley (relay) and we would have won that. It would have been a 12 point swing and really got the momentum going.
"The 100 back was a tough one (Paly was outscored by Mitty, 26-9). Probably the biggest hurt was the four ninth-place finishes; you can't move up points and can only go down. All in all, they swam a great meet, it was a tough day but I am very proud of them. And all of the point-getters come back, so that gives us incentive for next year."
In the boys' meet, Palo Alto finished sixth with 109 and Menlo-Atherton finished a solid ninth with 88.5 after taking 35th last season with just six points. Gunn was 28th and Menlo School 30th.
Palo Alto was led by sophomore Byron Sanborn, who won his first CCS individual title in the 100 breast with a personal best of 57.75, one of the fastest times in CCS history and No. 2 all-time at Paly. Sanborn also swam a personal best of 1:53.20, an automatic All-American time, while finishing ninth. That ranks him No. 3 in school history. Had he made the finals, his time would have gotten him fifth. He also swam a leg on Paly's third-place 200 medley relay team (1:39.43) and anchored the 400 free relay squad to a 3:14.88 time with a sizzling 45.82 split.
Paly freshman diver Cole Plambeck set a freshman school record by scoring 452.30 points on 11 dives while taking fourth. That ranks No. 3 in school history.
Menlo-Atherton had a solid meet, taking seventh in the 400 free relay in a season best of 3:14.22, junior Kei Masuda tied for fifth in the 100 fly in a season best of 52.04, No. 2 in school history; junior Nick Henze was 11th in the 100 free in 47.28, his personal best, and the Bears were seventh in the 200 free relay in 1:29.54, a school record.