By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Palo Alto Swim Club coach Tony Batis won't be there in person when Palo Alto High junior Jasmine Tosky and fellow Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics' teammate Maddie Schaefer open the Junior Pan Pacific Championships next week at the Kihei Aquatic Center in Maui, Hawaii. He'd made plans months ago to vacation in Europe.
No matter where he is, though, when the races are on he'll be in some Internet Café rooting on his swimmers.
Besides, his job is nearly finished. His goal was to provide Tosky and Schaefer with the environment of a big-time swimming event to help them prepare for just such a meet. He can check that one off his to-do list.
"She already has a good idea of who she is and she wants to be," Batis said of Tosky, who spent the summer getting the idea she could be one of the best. "She's quick to learn and one of her strengths is when you give her a task or challenge she's able to adjust to that. She's a unique talent."
If there was a college swimming coach in the United States who had never heard her name before, Tosky is likely at the top of their wish list by now.
Tosky's performance at the USA Speedo Junior National Swimming Championships last week was her own debutante ball, a coming-out party of the spectacular variety.
"She's a very driven kid who likes to race," said PASA coach Ricky Silva, who worked with Tosky at the 13-14 level.
The Palo Alto Swim Club won the team title, with the girls' team adding 304 points to the total, more than doubling the Terrapins girls' second-place total of 133 points.
"You can point things out in the pool and adjust in the pool but you can't recreate the environment, the stands and the surroundings of a big meet," Batis said. "We're trying to get both of them comfortable with the atmosphere so when it comes time to the Olympic trials, where there's nothing but cameras, they will be used to it."
Tosky and Schaefer will participate in individual events at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships and will likely add a relay or two to their calendars. But they won't get to splash around with teammates Camille Cheng, Ally Howe, Sarah Liang and Rachael Acker, each of whom helped PASA set a record in a relay or two in Irvine last week.
"We wanted to place an emphasis on team results," Batis said. "In many ways, that helps take the pressure off. We wanted to score well as a team. Now they are two of the 20 women and 20 men who are representing the United States."
Florida grad John Morse, the head coach for Nashville Aquatic Club the past 24 years, heads the women's team.
The final medal count from last week's junior national championships is impressive. Tosky won five events, placed third in two others and swam on three relay teams, two that set meet records. Schaefer won two events, reached the championship final in another and participated on all three relay teams.
"Everything was set up with the bigger picture in mind," Batis said. "In a couple of years the girls will be ready for what lies beyond. This summer was a good testing for them to understand what it takes to survive in that environment."
PASA's Adam Hinshaw will also be attending the Hawaiian party. He qualified for the Open Water competition, and will also compete in the 1,500 free.
Batis will just have to make sure to keep checking his watch and keep the time difference in mind.