For Sven Campbell, swimming is not about championships or other people's records. "I like to just focus on improving myself," said the Campolindo High junior. "I could care less about titles, it's all about the times."
Medals may not be particularly important to Campbell, but he sure earned a lot of them this high school swimming postseason. In an incredible two-week stretch at the Diablo Foothill Athletic League championships and North Coast Section finals, Campbell tallied six meet records in individual events. He was also a part of three relay records in the postseason and has been named the East Bay Boys Swimmer of the Year.
Campbell's NCS performance was particularly impressive. First, he beat defending champion David Morgan of De La Salle in the 100-yard freestyle in a meet-record time of 44.22 seconds. Two events later, he was back in the water swimming leadoff for Campolindo's 200 freestyle relay. Though the group finished second, Campbell's leadoff split of 20.23 broke former Olympian Ben Wildman-Tobriner's 2003 record in the 50 freestyle. In the next race, Campbell obliterated his record in the 100 backstroke, finishing in 48.16 seconds. He's the only swimmer to ever go below 49 seconds at the NCS meet. In all three swims, Campbell achieved his goal -- going faster than he ever has. "When I start thinking about specific times I start psyching myself out," he said. "I guess it was sort of expected I should go after some of those (records), but for me it's more or less stress improving yourself and put out what you can for the team. "It was kind of mind-blowing. I wasn't expecting three individual records that day."
Campbell was just as thrilled about being part of another dominating team performance. The Cougars won their eighth consecutive NCS team title, with Campbell playing a big role in the last three. "The high school season is my favorite time of the year," said Campbell, who has qualified to swim at the U.S. Olympic swim trials in the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle. "It's amazing, we're really just one giant family. I know it's a cliche, but we all love each other and build off each other so much."