Gunn girls double dunk Paly in a pair of rivalries
Titans topple Vikings as Acker hands Paly All-American Tosky her first-ever loss in an individual event
Rachel Acker and Jasmine Tosky have been good friends since becoming teammates on the Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics swim team. Both will be in that role when they compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.
Acker and Tosky also are rivals, Acker at Gunn and Tosky at Palo Alto. While they have faced each other on relays over the years, it's rare when they meet in the same individual event. However, that rare moment arrived Wednesday when the teams met in their annual showdown for city bragging rights and the result was fairly historic.
When it comes to high school swimming, Tosky has been unbeatable. Coming into this season, she had never lost an individual race — whether in a dual meet, the league finals or Central Coast Section Championships.
Streaks are meant to be broken and Acker took care of Tosky's string of success while helping the Titans pull off a big victory while moving closer to clinching the SCVAL De Anza Division regular-season title.
Tosky, a national recordholder in the 100 fly and the state recordholder in the 200 free, was moved into the 100 free against Gunn in order to take points away from the Titans.
Acker had other ideas and beat her rival for the first time with a fast 50.18 clocking. Tosky was second in 50.80, her first-ever defeat in a high school individual event.
"She usually swims the 200 free and 100 fly," Acker said, "so it was kind of a shock (to see her in the 100). I had heard rumors at the pool that she might be there, so I was a little bit nervous."
While both have been training usually twice a day with PASA since the beginning of April and came into this meet with no rest, Acker looked the strongest in the 100 as she pulled away early.
"I'm really happy with that swim," said Acker. "It's really good since I'm not rested."
And for handing Tosky her first-ever loss?
"I think it's special," Acker said.
"That's my girl," said Gunn coach Mark Hernandez, when told of Acker's feat. "That's why we love her."
Palo Alto coach Danny Dye scored the meet out four different ways and each time there was a four-point difference. Thus, he decided to put Tosky in the 100 against Acker, hoping to take away Gunn's potential advantage.
"My hope was having her (Tosky) go up against Rachel in at least one of the races," Dye said. "It (the result) a shock, just because of the myth of Jasmine."
In addition to her unbeaten streak, Tosky set a national public schools record in the 100 fly while winning the CCS title last year. She also won the 200 free and posted the fastest relay splits.
"But, she knew going in it was going to be a tough race," Dye explained. "I don't want to take anything away from Rachel, because she's a great swimmer."
Acker also won the 50 free in 23.64 and swam leadoff legs on the winning 200 free relay (1:37.83) and 400 free relay (3:34.81) as the Titans beat the Vikings, 97-89.
Gunn went into the final relay with a six-point lead, forcing Paly to finish 1-3 just to tie. It didn't happen as Acker sped to a 50.67 clocking on the opening 100 to give her team almost a four-second lead. Tosky closed in 50.55 but was too far behind by the time she entered the water.
The victory put Gunn (5-0) in position to win the regular-season title over the Vikings (4-1). Each team has one dual meet remaining.
Gunn beat Palo Alto two years ago for the first time in 17 years, but Tosky was competing for PASA in a US Swimming meet in Ohio. She swam in last year's dual against Gunn and the Vikings won.
Wednesday's victory by Gunn was even more impressive because the Titans were missing two of their key swimmers — seniors Julia Ama and Casey Lincoln. Ama is away competing at the Brazilian Olympic Trials and Lincoln was at Yale University for Admin Week.
Despite missing those two, Gunn had plenty of depth and first-place points to hand Palo Alto the rare loss.
The Titans swept all three relays, got the two wins from Acker, a triumph from freshman Jenna Campbell in the 100 fly (58.35), a victory from sophomore Fiona Hon in the 100 back (1:01.75) and a win from senior Maggie McKenna in the 100 breast (1:08.47).
"That's pretty exciting," Hernandez said of the team victory. "I thought we had a chance if we swam well, and we swam better than I thought. We had a lot of good performances from kids who work out with us."
Tosky did win the 200 free in 1:52.11 with teammate Molly Zebker taking the 200 IM (2:13.76) and 500 free (5:15.85). Serena Yee won the diving as the Vikings won just four times.
In the boys' meet, Palo Alto evened the score with a 108-78 triumph to improve to 5-0 while closing in on the regular-season dual-meet championship.
The Vikings won 11 of the 12 events with seniors Rollin Lau and Byron Sanborn winning twice along with sophomore Andrew Liang.
Lau took the 200 free (1:50.08) and 500 free (5:05.90), Sanborn won the 200 IM (1:58.95) and 100 breast (59.10), and Liang captured the 50 free (22.13) and 100 free (48.82) with times that rank among the best in the CCS.
All three also contributed two winning legs on the three relays.
In West Bay Athletic League action on Wednesday, the Sacred Heart Prep boys and girls won meets. The boys defeated visiting Menlo School, 127-43, while the girls downed Castilleja, 124-44, and Menlo, 130-37. Castilleja beat Menlo, 97-61.
SHP senior Tom Kremer had the fastest times of the day as he won the 50 free in 21.52 and 100 fly in 50.48, just missing school records in both races (21.46 and 50.26). He also swam legs on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Harrison Enright added solid wins in the 200 free (1:50.41) and 500 free (4:57.81) and Bret Hinrichs took the 200 IM (2:03.65) and 100 back (57.20).
In the girls' meet, SHP's Ally Howe set a school record while winning the 500 free (4:56.03), breaking the previous mark of 5:11.10 set by Katie Sutherland in 2005. Howe also won the 100 breast (1:08.45) and swam on two winning relays.
SHP senior Erin Sheridan took the 200 free (2:00.06) and 50 free (25.42). Selby Sturzenegger added wins in the 100 fly (1:01.43) and 100 back (59.30), Erica Myers won the 200 IM (2:19.31) and 100 free (56.65) and the SHP relay teams swept all three races.
Sacred Heart Prep will join with Palo Alto in the annual Section Challenge on Saturday at Palo Alto High, starting at 9 a.m. The meet will feature many of the top teams in Northern California.