August 1, 2012
End of Season – Meet Recap, Summer Sectionals, 2012
Buenaventura Swim Club had 11 athletes participate in the Speedo Champions Series known as “Sectionals”. This is one more than our stated goal of 10 athletes that we set out to achieve at the beginning of the year. The Speedo Champions Series – “Sectionals” is divided into an Eastern Zone, a Western Zone, a Southern Zone, and a Central Zone. As part of Southern California, we compete in the Western Zone. For many of our Senior and National Group swimmers, Sectionals was the grand finale of our summer season. It is worthy to note, the only meet for 18 & under swimmers that is more prestigious than Sectionals is Junior Nationals. Junior Nationals is the pinnacle of achievement for our high school kids, except of course, every 4 years when Olympic Trials rolls around.
This summer, Sectionals was contested in Santa Clarita. Our kids managed the hot weather well and as my old college coach would sometimes say, “We Had Some Good Swims, and Some Not So Good Swims”. Even though some swims were not best times, the overwhelming majority certainly were. This is the expectation for an end of the season shave and taper competition. The team of Chesna Biolley, Melissa Yu, Solie Laughlin, Brigid McNally, Gabi Romero, Jack Luna, Nick Vargas, Austin Takeda, Stewart Harrison, Niles Biolley, and Danny Colvin, represented Buena well. There were many races, too many to list here, but you can visit socalswim.org and click on results for Southern California and then select “Sectionals” to review all the results.
Some highlights included Brigid McNally earning a 7thand 10th place in the 800 and 1500 Freestyles respectively. Brigid surprised many people (but not those of us who see her train everyday) with another significant drop in time. In her 800 meter freestyle, she narrowly missed the Junior National time standard by just over a second. An exciting consideration is the fact that the world record is an 8:14 and Brigid did a 9:04. She has 50 seconds to drop in this race in order to achieve a world record. This may sound like a lot, but to put it into perspective (and to plant the seed), Brigid dropped exactly 50 seconds from last summer to this summer, in just over 1 year. Stay tuned for further developments.
Chesna Biolley was our highest scorer by earning a 4thplace finish in the 200 Breast. In an exciting race, where she was first at the half way point, Chesna fell off the lead, but still finished with a Junior National Time Standard. Consequently, Chesna will be traveling to Indianapolis, August 13-17, to compete in her first ever “Juniors”, where she is seeded 31stout of 75 swimmers in her marquee event, the 200 Breast.
Nick Vargas continued to show promise with some great swims. By finishing 6thplace overall in his 5K open water event, Nick is starting to emerge as one of the premiere open water swimmers in the country. In a very exciting finish, he was part of the lead pack that was jumbled together fighting to the end. Nick also had a great performance in his 400 Free, by making the consolation Final with a time of 4:06.97.
Solie Laughlin continued to drop significant time in her 200 Back and shows the attitude and promise of a Champion Swimmer. Niles Biolley did what he always does; give his best effort with a smile on his face. He too is destined for continued success. Melissa Yu, Austin Takeda, Jack Luna, and Stewart Harrison continue to develop into leaders of our team and I believe they are all close to accomplishing something very special provided they stay focused and give their best effort.
After the first two days of competition, Buena was in the running to win the small team division, but we slipped out of contention due to our lack of depth and our inability to offer relays, which count as double points.
In the 5 years I have been a coach with Buena, I have witnessed great progress as we continue to achieve new milestones. I am proud of what we have accomplished, especially considering our humble beginnings. As I plan for the next season, I’m really looking at the next quadrant of time that leads us to Olympic Trials in 2016. We are always considering the long term development of our athletes. Some need to perform well NOW, as their goal is to gain entry into the college of their choice, some have the benefit of being younger and having time on their side before looking into colleges. What I hope all parents and swimmers understand is that by the time our athletes are in high school, it is time to WORK. This is the time that we must be very specific with what we do and commit to our goals. We still have a long way to go to reach our potential. We are successfully sending swimmers to quality colleges and hope to grow the number of kids that continue their swimming careers at top notch schools.
With all the positives, there is always room for improvement. One area we need to improve on is the depth of our contributors. The sign of a good program is to have lots of fast swimmers, not only a few standouts. Scoring at Sectionals in relays is our next big step, and it is just a matter of time. Good job to those of you who achieved Sectional time standards, and in so doing, helped our team reach one part of our team goal. Let us now look forward to the next season, and the next 4 year cycle. I’m sure there will be many ups and downs, with plenty of challenges along the way. Just remember one thing….WE MUST ENJOY THE PROCESS!