It was just a week ago that the Palo Alto girls swam away with the 200-yard freestyle relay at the Central Coast Section Championships. Evidently, that wasn't good enough.
On Saturday, the same Vikings relay team swam off with a state title at the the first-ever CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex at Clovis West High.
The quartet of sophomore Grace Zhao, junior Kayleigh Svensson, freshman Zoe Lusk and freshman Claire Lin stopped the clocks in 1:33.88 to establish a meet record and lower the school mark of 1:34.50 from 2011. And, it was an automatic All-American time.
The record-setting effort was the icing on the cake for the Palo Alto swim program as the girls finished sixth in the state as a team while the boys took eighth. Both squads were the top point-getters from the Central Coast Section.
"I could not be more happier or more proud," said Palo Alto coach Danny Dye.
JSerra of Orange County won the girls' title with 201 points with Paly tallying 97. Gunn was 15th with 48 while CCS champ Mitty was 14th with 50.5. For the boys, Northgate won with 192 while Paly had 72. Gunn was 22nd with 33 points.
While athletes stayed home for various reasons, most to train with their club teams for the summer season, those who attended the first state meet were rewarded with fast times and invaluable experience. Moreover, history won't record who wasn't there, but who was.
"The kids really got into it," said Dye. "It was fun and exciting."
If there was one local individual standout, it was Paly's Zhao. In addition to leading off the record-setting 200 free relay team in 22.80, she finished second in the 50 in a personal best of 22.79, an automatic All-American time. She also clocked a personal record of 1:01.96 while taking third in the 100 breast, also an All-American time, as Stanford recruit Ella Estin won in 1:00.33.
Gunn senior Jennifer Campbell also was busy on the final day as she splashed to a silver medal in the 200 free in 1:46.41 and a fourth in the 500 free in 4:50.28, both All-American times. She also led off the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams that finished 12th and 14th, respectively, in 1:46.85 and 1:37.33.
The Palo Alto boys were led by sophomore Alex Liang, who finished second in the 200 IM in 1:48.21, finished 11th in the 100 fly (49.21), and anchored the 400 free relay team to third place in 3:04.41 with a sizzling 44.81. All three races produced automatic All-American times.
The 400 relay squad of Daniel Sing, Andrew Cho, Winston Wang and Liang clocked the No. 2 time in school history.
Palo Alto junior Reed Merritt started the day by taking second in the 1-meter diving, finishing with 554.05 points for his second-best total for 11 dives.
Castilleja freshman Izzi Henig finished third in the girls 100 free in 49.55, a personal best and automatic All-American time.
The Gunn boys had one finalist in sophomore Michael Lincoln, who finished seventh in the 500 free in 4:33.53. Teammate Daichi Matsuda was 15th in the race in 4:36.46.
Junior Trent Tosky was 12th in the 200 IM in 1:52.91 and swam on the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams that finished 13th and 15th, respectively. Luke Chui, Christian Znidarsic and Lincoln swam on the free relay with Chui, Matsuda and Joao Ama making up the medley relay squad.
Elsewhere, Palo Alto freshman Sofia Sigrist was 15th in the girls 500 free in 5:04.01, Stanford-bound Estin won the 200 IM in 1:54.31 and Los Altos junior Albert Gwo, who swim for Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics during the summer, won the 50 free (19.90) and 100 free (44.60), both personal bests.