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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Hinshaw shatters Spitz’s record at Leagues

In swimming, a tenth of a second can separate victory from defeat, a place on the podium from a place on the bleachers.

A tenth of a second was all senior Adam Hinshaw needed to break the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League’s 40-year-old 200-yard freestyle record on May 6.

At the De Anza Athletic League Finals meet at Saratoga High’s pool, Hinshaw finished his race with a time of 1:40.40, just ahead of all-time great swimmer Mark Spitz’s SCVAL record of 1:40.50.

At the peak of his swimming career, Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Michael Phelps is the only person who has surpassed this feat, with his eight golds at Beijing in 2008.

An alumnus of Santa Clara High, Spitz had held the SCVAL record in the 200 freestyle since 1968.

“I knew the record going into the race, and it was my goal to break it,” Hinshaw said. “I don’t really shoot for [records], but if I happen to see one that’s achievable, I’ll try to get it.”

Going into Leagues, Hinshaw’s best time in the 200 freestyle was a 1:37.70. However, he swam that time last year at CCS after tapering—a process of rest and recovery before big meets. At Leagues, Hinshaw did not have the benefit of a taper.

“I felt terrible [during the race], because I was tired,” Hinshaw said. “I had a hard workout the day before and it took a lot of mental and physical effort to go that fast.”

Hinshaw said that the fact that Spitz, who set 33 swimming world records in his career, held the record made him happier.

“I was happy because it’s an old record and it’s always fun with the old records,” Hinshaw said, “especially [the record of] Mark Spitz, who’s a really big Olympian.”

In addition to the 200 freestyle, Hinshaw scored points for Saratoga at Leagues in the 500 freestyle, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. He also managed to break his own year-old League record in the 500 by about half of a second, with a time of 4:29.82.

Two weeks after Leagues, Hinshaw broke another record—this time in the 500 freestyle. His brother Ben held the previous CCS record of 4:21.54 for two years, until Hinshaw hit the wall with a time of 4:19.08. Hinshaw finished first in the 500 freestyle and second in the 200 freestyle at CCS Finals.

Varsity swim coach Kristen Thomson attributed Hinshaw’s success to his dedication and effort.

“He’s an excellent swimmer,” Thomson said. “He’s got a great work ethic. He definitely deserves every bit of it.”

Thomson envisions great things in Hinshaw’s future.

“People still know Mark Spitz’s name,” Thomson said. “Who knows? Years from now, if this record ever gets broken we’ll be saying Hinshaw’s name.

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