Rio Swim Team Wins 2012 Championships
Rio swim ended the 2012 season on a high note with successes in league and section championships. Both girls and boys repeated as Capital Athletic League champs and girls again claimed the section title while setting numerous records.
Undefeated in league meets, the team entered the league championships April 27 with hopes of continuing their win-streak.
Although the powerhouse varsity and junior varsity women’s teams expected a sure win at the meet held at Rio’s pool, the dwindling number of varsity male swimmers was a cause for concern. As a result, the junior varsity men’s team was reduced to only five swimmers, and underclassmen like sophomore Kyle Kulper were put up against the varsity teams of El Camino and Antelope.
“There weren’t many guys in varsity so I knew some of us would get moved up,” Kulper said. “I’m glad it happened though, because I gained varsity experience and got to race some incredible swimmers.”
Although El Camino and Antelope won early races on the men’s side, as the meet rolled on, Rio started emerging as the expected victor.
The poolside thundered with cheering, as both Rio girls and guys won their races.
Swimmers like junior Erin Van Zanten cheered for their teammates during every race, and the same support was received.
“I really loved the fact that the whole team was motivating each other,” Van Zanten said. “The whole team felt unified, and I think that definitely helped all of us swim well.”
After Friday’s prelims, Rio held a solid lead going into finals on Saturday.
Junior varsity and varsity girls won by championships by a wide margin. Through the help of the added junior varsity swimmers, varsity guys were also able to pull a victory, followed closely by Antelope and El Camino. Surprisingly, even though they were reduced to five swimmers, the junior varsity men were able to pull off a third place, doing well against the odds.
For seniors the meet was especially satisfying, as both girls and boys have won the league championship for the past four years.
On to Sections
Though the swim season ended for many at league championships, select swimmers who met a qualifying time started preparing for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Section Championship earlier this month. In the event at Tokay High School in Lodi, Rio swam against schools like Granite Bay, Laguna Creek and Davis.
The girl’s team surpassed all expectations, setting new school and section records.
The long lasting section record of 1:36.71, set in 1995, for the 200-freestyle relay was broken by senior Lexie Franz, sophomores Morgan McClure and Robyn Butler, and junior Catherine Woo, who beat it by almost a second with a 1: 35.94.
The 400 free relay record of 3:28:56, set by Davis in 2011, was also broken, this time by Franz and fellow senior Hailey Ferko, Woo, and sophomore Taylor Yamahata, with a time of 3:28:44.
Franz also went on to break the Rio record in the 100 backstroke, with a time of 56.80 seconds.
“We had a small, but strong group of girls during sections,” Franz said. “I think we did very well seeing as we were able to break two section records. I’m so proud of all of the girls.”
Woo and Butler also broke Rio records in the 100 free and 50 free.
Woo finished the 100 with a time of 52.17 earning a second. Butler had a time of 24.10 in the 50 free and a fourth in finals.
Junior Kyra Sanborn was impressed by her teammates’ performance.
“I got to swim with people who made it to Olympic trials so it was really cool and a bit of an honor,” Sanborn said.
The men’s teams did not have as pronounced success as the women, but many swimmers met personal goals and had personal best times.
Sophomore Kyle Kulper, who entered in the 100 backstroke with a time over a minute, attained his sub-minute goal during a consolation heat, with a time of 59.62 seconds.
Sophomore Gavin White had similar success, dropping almost 10 seconds in his 500 freestyle, earning a time of 5:11:18.
“It was really fun to watch your teammates obliterating their old records,” White said. “That feeling makes you so pumped!”
In varsity, junior John Price supported the team by placing in finals in the 100 freestyle and placing in consolations in the 50 free. After an intense swim-off to claim the last spot in the varsity men’s 100 freestyle, he placed second in the finals with a time of 46.91. Even though he was the only varsity male who swam in the finals, all of the varsity men did well. senior Jeff Choi was able to attain his sub-minute goal in the 100 backstroke, earning a time of 59.83 seconds, two seconds from his entered time.
The swim team’s success was made possible due to the strong coaching skills of head coach Chris Nissen, who has recently announced his retirement.
“Chris Nissen’s aptitude of hard work motivated the swimmers to swim their very best. His leadership was an important part of swim training, and we’re glad his last swim season ended on a high note.”