BUFFALO, NY, April 27. BABY, it was c-c-c-c-c cold outside the second weekend of last month here, but inside Flickinger Natatorium Indian River was heating up the water to a boil.
When the final splashing was concluded, Coach Chris Ip's IRCC women's and men's teams had extended their unprecedented national junior college title-winning streak once again.
IRCC's ladies won their 20th-straight NJCAA Championship (24th overall) while their male colleagues made it 28 straight titles.
Nixon was still in the White House and Jimmy Carter was an obscure governor in Georgia when IRCC's men began their remarkable streak, at 28 the longest streak by any US collegiate team in any sport at any level.
The meet was held March 6-9.
IRCC's Ft. Pierce, FL. ladies scored a 779-278 win over Lincoln College (Lincoln, IL). The men scored a much closer 692-438 win, also over Lincoln, which was runner-up for the fourth-consecutive year.
Ip was named both women's and men's Coach of the Year. IRCC's Ashleigh Bastak, with wins in the 50-100-200 free, was named woman Swimmer of the Year. Her teammate, sprinter Camillo Becerra, was named male Swimmer of the Year for his three wins (and three NJCAA records) in the 50-100 frees and 100 fly.
* * * * *
In the women's meet, IRCC won every event save the 500 free and 200 fly, which in both instances went to Urska Ros of Monroe Community College's, located in nearby Rochester, NY.
Ros scored a pair of firsts and a second, with her only non-No. 1 finish coming in the 100 fly. Here she lost to Natalie Cohee, who also scored two golds and a silver, 55.68-56.05.
After IRCC scored an easy 1:35.08-1:42.98 200 free relay opener over Monroe, Urska won the 500 (4:59.68) but IRCC women took second and third (Miyriam Sansregret, 5:14.12).
Cohee next won the 200 IM (2:05.32) with teammates Noelle Pulomena (2:08.90) and Liz Proffitt (2:10.41) next.
Ashleigh Bastak's 23.71 50 free win paved the way for a 1-4 IRCC sweep and the next day she picked up a second gold in the 200 free (1:52.80 to Tiffany Cohee's 1:54.90). The latter is Natalie's sister and her runner-up finish also produced a 1-4 IRCC sweep.
Moving up a notch on the podium from her runner-up finish in the 200 IM, Pulomena scored a 4:35.42 400 IM win to start Day 2's action.
Next came Cohee's 100 fly victory, followed by Bastak's 200 free victory, Proffitt's 1:07.32-1:07.90 100 breast win over teammate Jessica Reed. The winner is sister of University of Alabama men's backstroker Jordie, and she was a triple gold medalist at last season's championships (both breaststrokes, 200 IM).
IRCC's Sara Wooten, last year's female Swimmer of the Year, won the 100 back for the second-year running with a 57.90-1:01.16 over teammate Kristen Kram.
Wooten set the NJCAA record last year with her 56.95.
The 800 free relay ended Day's 2 action and was another romp for IRCC, 8:00.83-8:14.58 over Lincoln.
On the final day, 500 free runner-up Sansregret took the 1650 free (17:56.77) and Wooten made her final NJCAA swim a memorable won as she earned her fourth individual gold with a 2:04.40-2:12.12 win in the 2000 back over teammate Kram. Wooten's 200 record from last season is 2:02.89.
Bastak raced to her third gold with a win in the 100 free, a nail-biting 51.78-51.79 squeaker over Tiffany Cohee. IRCC ladies also went 3-6 in this race to complete the only such of the meet.
Pulomena's 2:22.46 won her the 200 breast gold, with 100 champ Proffitt hot on her heels, at 2:22.64.
Ros won the 200 fly and IRCC the 400 free relay, 3:28.53-3:46.59 over Lincoln.
Diving golds went to IRCC's Wendy Shoemaker (1-meter, 771.20 points) with teammate Shawah second; and the latter on the 3-meter board (829.00) with Shoemaker runner-up (816.50).
* * * * *
On the men's side, Becerra was sensational, swimming racing to his three golds and three national records – 19.92 for the 50 free, 48.32 100 in the fly and 43.94 for the 100 free.
Overall, IRCC won 15 of 19 events, losing only the 200 IM, the 100-200 breast and the 1650 frees.
However, winner of three of those four races was Lincoln's Ramiro Palmer, who won the medley in 1:54.33 and swept the breaststrokes in 56.53-2:04.40.
Vincennes' Chris Richey won the mile by nearly 45 seconds with his 15:45.85-16:31.09 over Lincoln's Joe Krysak. The former was also second in the 500 free.
IRCC's Brian Glaser picked up backstroke golds via his 51.89-1:54.95 swims and also was runner-up in the 200 IM. Teammate Luke Wilkens won the 500 free (4:37.07) and was second to Becerra in the 100 fly (pr 49.76).
Last year's NJCAA spring kingpin, IRCC's Raymond Rosal, who won the 50-100 frees (20.35-44.31), won the 200 free this season (1:37.79) and took seconds to Becerra in the 50 (20.11) and 100 frees (44.23).
The champs' Michael Guindon was the meet's other individual swimming winner with a 4:17.04-4:17.81 400 IM triumph over Lincoln's Ronald Kestner.
Diving golds went to IRCC's Brandon Northcott (3-meter board, 1076.30 points) with teammate Josh Cooper (947.45) second. On the 1-meter board, Cooper scored a 989.30-979.50 win over Palo Alto's Aaron Robinson.
Not surprisingly, IRCC took all five relay titles too.
The California Community College Championship meet will be next weekend at Pasadena City College's new pool, and Coach Terry Stoddard's PCC Vikings are among the favorites.
– Bill Bell