By Bill Bell
LOS ANGELES, CA., Sept. 28. HE may not be ready for Athens, but Adam Hewko may be a name to reckoned with come the Olympics in Beijing in seven years.
The Anaheim (CA) Servite High sophomore is a star in both water polo and swimming, and at last year's Division I CIF Championships won the 500 free in 4:29.19 to rank fifth nationally among 15-16 boys.
Two-sport athletes are about as rare in Southern California as sunshine, but not many kids reach the top in both polo and swimming. Perhaps the most
notable was Brad Schumacher, a UOP All-America who was a member of the U.S. National polo for some years in the mid-'90s but opted to try and make the Olympic team in swimming — which he did, earning a gold medal in the 800 free relay at Atlanta.
As a poloist, Hewko was the only freshman to be named to the All-CIF Division II team — and there were 18 teams in the sport's six divisions too.
Hewko tied the Southern California Swimming 400 yard Individual Medley record last year as a 14-year-old (4:04.77). The standard was originally set seven years ago by current University of Southern California All-America Mark Warkentin.
Aging up this year, Hewko ranked sixth among 15-16 boys in the 400 IM with his 3:59.5 clocking.
His prep coach, Servite's Jim Sprague, has seen many outstanding performances during his 32-year-career, but few from an athletes as young as Hewko. "Not under the circumstances that he comes in on," Sprague said. "He only spends three months of the year playing polo (during the fall semester)."
Hewko formerly trained with Coach Brian Pajer's Irvine Aquazot (AZOT) team, that also features U.S. Nationals 400 IM champ Kristen Caverly among its swimmers.
Now, however, he is back at Irvine Novaquatics training with two other top high school age
distance swimmers, Ryan Lean and Haley Peirsol, under the coaching of Brent Lorenzen.
Lean won the "Rookie of the Meet" honors at Nationals recently while Haley is the younger sister of 200 meter backstroke world champion, Aaron Piersol.