Swim team surges in first meet

March 23, 2009 — by Lauren Kuan and Tim Rollinson

Both the boys’ and girls’ swim teams began their seasons with dominating victories over Lynbrook at home on March 12. The girls’ 100m backstroke was the only varsity event that Saratoga lost and the girls’ 50m freestyle was the only event in which no Falcon swimmer qualified for CCS.

“It’s amazing how many people qualified for CCS at the first meet,” said girls’ coach Kristin Thomson. “We have never had that many at a first meet.”

The boys’ team, which placed second to Bellarmine at CCS last year, is led by seniors Ben Hinshaw, Matt Murray and Brad Murray. The boys are looking to take the De Anza Division and CCS titles. The three dominated at the first meet, earning a cumulative five individual victories and contributing to all three relay wins.

Young talent has also surfaced for the boys. Sophomore Adam Hinshaw won the 200m and 500m freestyle races, and freshman Ian Burns dominated the 50m freestyle and finished second in the 100m freestyle. The final score was a whopping 115-55 victory for the boys.

“The first meet went really well,” said varsity coach Christian Bonner. “I have really high expectations for the rest of the year.”

On the girls’ side, juniors Elisabeth Murray, Lauren Opatrany and Megan Nolet led the team, winning a combined five individual events and each helping out on the relay teams. Freshman Natalie Cheung and sophomore Caroline White each contributed a win in the 100m breaststroke and 50m freestyle, respectively. The final score for varsity girls was 118-61.

The highlight of the meet was not the individual events, but the relays. Five of the six girls’ relay teams and four of the six boys’ teams made the CCS cutoff times.

Some of the highest level of competition came from two very unlikely swimmers; juniors Kyle Borch and Christine La made a splash in their first ever high school swim meet. Former track runners, La and Borch both made the transition to the pool this season.

Borch qualified for CCS in the 200m and 400m freestyle relays but narrowly missed the cut in the 100m and 200m freestyle, coming up two seconds short in both.

“I’m hoping to make CCS in an individual event,” said Borch. “It was a rush making it on the relay team though.”

La also qualified in the 200m freestyle and the 200m medley relay. She missed the CCS mark in the 50m and 100m freestyle by less than a second in both events.

“I was really nervous going into the meet,” said La, “but nothing bad happened, which was a relief.”

There were many other close calls throughout the day. Several swimmers missed CCS qualifications by as little as five one hundredths of a second but were told by coaches to keep there chins up as this is only the first meet of the year.

Other CCS qualifiers include freshman Rebecca Chen for the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly, along with sophomores Debbie Lin in the 500 freestyle and Justin Chung in the 100 backstroke and the 200 freestyle relay. Junior Norah Patzman also qualified for both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays and senior Erica Kumala qualified in the 100 freestyle.

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