By Colin Becht
Palo Alto Online Sports
Adam Hinshaw wasn't even supposed to be at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford campus this week. When his team needed him, though, he showed up -- big time.
"I was supposed to finish my meet at nationals, but my coach (Scott Shea) wanted me to swim at Junior Nationals to score points for our team," he said. "So I wasn't really expecting to swim at this meet at all."
Because of the late schedule change, Hinshaw, a member of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, is a Junior National champion, taking the gold medal in the 400 individual medley on Tuesday with a time of 4:18.95.
Halfway through the race, Hinshaw found himself in third place, 1.22 seconds behind Metro's Carlos Omana. However, 100 meters of breaststroke later, Hinshaw had gained a slight lead over Omana and then cruised to victory in the freestyle.
"Breaststroke is normally my worst stroke, so when I was passing him, I was surprised," Hinshaw said.
It also meant the race was all but over as Hinshaw blew his competition out of the water in the freestyle, his best stroke, swimming the 100 meters in 59.2 seconds to win the race by nearly three seconds over Omana.
Hinshaw, who will attend California in the fall, bested his time in the prelims Tuesday morning by more than five seconds.
"I felt pretty bad at my prelim swim this morning," Hinshaw said. "My coach gave me a few tips on my backstroke. I didn't push the backstroke as hard and it helped me swim faster on the last 200 (meters)."
Shea said Hinshaw's win was a nice payoff for a swimmer who has given a lot to PASA, such as staying around to compete for another week.
"He's the hardest worker I've ever coached," Shea said. "When it comes down to it, it's like a shark smelling blood in the water. He kind of goes after it."
After receiving his gold medal, Hinshaw acknowledged that it was probably worth giving up the time off, "but I'd still like to go on vacation."
Hinshaw's victory was just the first major achievement for PASA on Tuesday. His individual victory was followed by PASA's 'A' women's 400 freestyle relay crushing the meet record, which was originally set last year by PASA, en route to a championship.
The team of Jasmine Tosky, Julia Ama, Camille Cheng and Rachael Acker finished in 3:46.68 to obliterate the meet record of 3:48.24, which was accomplished by Tosky, Cheng, Acker and Maddie Schaefer, who will be a freshman at Stanford this fall.
"I wasn't sure how our relays would do without Maddie, but I think we're going to do pretty well," Tosky said. "Julia and Rachael are really stepping in."
Both Acker and Tosky swam their portions of the relay in under 56 seconds, times that would have been fast enough in the 100 free finals to place second and third, respectively.
Tosky, having just competed in the FINA World Championships in Shanghai two weeks ago and the ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships last week, said she elected to take it easy this week.
Tosky, who set meet records in last year's junior national meet, will swim in the relays as well as the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and possibly the 50 free.
Finishing immediately behind PASA 'A' in the relay was PASA 'B,' comprised of Stanford incoming freshman Haley Sims, Alicia Grima, Carly Reid and Ally Howe. That quartet earned the silver medal with a time of 3:50.24.
Jeremie Dezwirek held a lead in the finals of the 200 backstroke for the first 150 meters, but was unable to hang on down the stretch and took the bronze with a time of 2:03.13.
Acker competed in the 100 freestyle finals before her gold in the relay, finishing in 56.43 seconds to earn fourth place. Ama finished fifth in the consolation final while fellow relay teammate Cheng took seventh in the bonus final. Both Ama and Cheng failed to qualify for the Olympic Trials with Ama just missing the necessary time of 57.19 by .09 seconds.
Howe earned her qualification into the Olympic Trials in the 200 backstroke by winning the bonus final in a time of 2:18.33.
The PASA men's 400 free relay team placed second in the consolation finals, finishing in 3:31.74. Byron Sanborn posted the fastest time of the foursome, followed by Andrew Liang, Connor Stuewe and Hinshaw.