Individuals compete at states, fall short of previous times; defending champ Xie chooses to skip state meet

May 24, 2016 — by Pranav Ahuja and Emily Chen

At Clovis West High School on May 20, juniors Stefanie Ting and Anna Zhou, sophomore Jeanette Khowong and freshman Lei Otsuka competed at the CIF Swimming and Diving State Championships. In the end, their preliminary times were not fast enough for them to qualify for a second swim in the finals on May 21.

 

At Clovis West High School on May 20, juniors Stefanie Ting and Anna Zhou, sophomore Jeanette Khowong and freshman Lei Otsuka competed at the CIF Swimming and Diving State Championships. In the end, their preliminary times were not fast enough for them to qualify for a second swim in the finals on May 21.

Also notable was the team was without senior Jack Xie, who, despite qualifying for states, chose not to compete because his parents arrived from China at the same time. Xie decided to skip this meet so as to help his parents settle for his graduation and college orientation.

Though he missed the state meet, UC -Berkeley-bound Xie will keep busy during the summer, competing in events in China. He has not decided which competitions he will partake in but will likely swim in an open water competition in Taiwan.  

At the state meet, Ting, Zhou, Khowong and Otsuka placed 30th in the 200-yard Medley Relay and finished with 1:51.42. Without sophomore Colina Guan, who could not attend the state meet, the team finished with a time that was about three seconds slower than the time they got at CCS. In the 100-yard breaststroke event, Ting placed 27th with a time of 1:05.57 (1:03.89 was her CCS preliminary round time) and Otsuka placed 30th with 1:05.63, which was not far off her CCS finals time of 1:05.52.

“After the race, we were a little disappointed since we didn't get a best time, but we still felt happy that we had this experience of going to states,” Khowong said.

But while the state meet did not end as they hoped, the swimmers still made a splash during the season and at CCS. Ting, who finished the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:04.36 in CCS, placed sixth and made the All-American consideration cut.

Individually, Otsuka finished with a time of 2:10.54, placed 14th in the 200-yard IM and finished 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke event, finishing in 1:05.52.

Khowong finished 14th in the 100-yard backstroke event with a time of 58.87 and 16th in the 100-yard butterfly event with a time of 58.49.

For the second year in a row, Xie won his individual events in the 200-yard IM event and the 100-yard butterfly event at CCS. Xie’s times of 1:47.43 for the 200-yard IM event and 47.40 for the 100-yard butterfly event both met All-American Automatic cuts.

[Placing first] released my pressure because the first time you win, you feel really good,” Xie said. “But the second time, you need to defend the championship, so there’s so much pressure.”

The boys’ varsity swim team placed 13th out of 44 teams with a score of 52 at CCS at the Santa Clara International Swim Center from May 13-14. The women’s team placed 15th out of 41 teams with a score of 50.

In the finals on May 14, the women’s 200-yard Medley Relay team of Ting, Khowong, Otsuka and sophomore Colina Guan started the day off for Saratoga with a seventh-place finish and a time of 1:48.66, which met a California State consideration cut. The men’s 200-yard Medley Relay team of Xie, seniors Graham Schmelzer, Harrison Yang and junior Nathan Ching placed 11th with a time of 1:38.66.

An asset to the team this year, freshman Annika Donez competed in the 1-meter diving event in CCS. She placed 17th overall, with a score of 269.25.

In the preliminary rounds of CCS on Friday, Xie placed first in the 200-yard IM event and 100-yard butterfly event, Ting placed third in the 100-yard breaststroke event and the team of Ting, Khowong, Guan and Otsuka placed fifth in the 200-yard Medley Relay. The team of junior Anthony Barthell, freshman Nick Burry, Schmelzer and Xie placed ninth in the 200-yard Medley Relay. Otsuka placed 16th in the 200-yard IM event and 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke event, and Khowong placed ninth in the 100-yard backstroke event and 15th in the 100-yard backstroke event.

The week before on May 6-7, the team competed in the league meet at Gunn. According to boys’ varsity swim coach Christian Bonner, though the team did well collectively, there was some disappointment for a handful of swimmers.

“There were close to 10 swims where people missed individual CCS cuts by a couple fractions of a second,” Bonner said.

But all said and done, the team can be proud of both their individual and team accomplishments throughout the year and will continue look for ways to improve.

“Off-season is an opportunity to improve, whether it’s through swimming or other sports,” Bonner said. “Anything that is lost can be found again except for time wasted.”