CIF/Central Coast Section Swimming Championships: No Title, But Still Winners

by Keith Peters

Leaving a swim meet with wet clothes is not unusual, unless you’re a coach. Then, wet clothes on the ride home is a badge of success. It’s a badge Ro Davis has worn before, and one the Palo Alto High swim coach wanted to wear proudly again after this year’s Central Coast Section Championships at Independence High in San Jose.

While his boys and girls teams navigated the dual-meet season undefeated and the girls were a strong bet to swim off with their second CCS title since the fall of 1995, it didn’t happen.

Dry clothes proved little consolation for Davis. “We weren’t as balanced as I would have liked,” Davis said of the overall picture, which showed Mitty winning its first-ever CCS girls’ title with 238, nine better than Palo Alto. “Mitty was a little more consistent in each event.”

Davis had figured the meet could go to Mitty, Palo Alto or Presentation, with those three teams separated by no more than 10 points. On paper, Paly looked to have a two-point edge. But, as Davis noted, “Never underestimate the competition.”

As the initial shock of not winning wears off this week, however, the Paly teams will discover just how good their performances were on the windy and overcast day that was speckled with sunshine throughout.

“Our girls swam superbly, and our boys were right there with them,” Davis said. “When the girls get past the team thing, they’ll see just how good their times are.”

For the record, the second-place finish by the Paly girls and the strong third-place showing by the Viking boys–their best in 10 years–was the best combined effort by any school in the CCS. The next best was by St. Francis (fourth by the girls and tie for fifth by the boys), while Menlo School’s boys (tie for fifth) and girls (seventh) also showed well as an overall program.

The Paly girls set nine school records, won three CCS titles, established two section marks and clocked six automatic All-America times. The Viking boys, meanwhile, established eight school marks, won four CCS titles, set one section mark and clocked three automatic All-America times.

So, who needs wet clothes?

“We did great,” said Paly senior Caroline Kilian, who had a hand in three wins, including two CCS records. “We all swam really well. We got up for our relays. We can’t be disappointed with that. I’m happy with it. “It would have been nice, in our senior year, to win it. But, you can’t win them all.”

Fellow senior Jeff Hopwood agreed. “It hurts to lose a team title by so little, after working so hard,” explained Hopwood. “But, they opened the meet with a record and they closed the meet with a record.”

That opening 200 medley relay squad of sophomores Haley Champion and Danielle Page, plus seniors Hilary Peterson and Kilian, set a CCS mark of 1:48.00 in the prelims before winning the finals in 1:48.46. In the final event of the meet, the 400 free relay, the Paly girls blew away the CCS record of 3:34.30 set by Menlo last year with a sizzling 3:31.17 by Champion, Peterson, senior Andrea Clewley and Kilian.

From Palo Alto Weekly

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