Corsair swimmers stroke through spring break
While the rest of Santa Monica College was on spring break last week, the SMC swim team suited up, jumped in the water, and practiced daily for the upcoming Western State Conference Championships at Bakersfield College starting this Thursday and lasting until Saturday.
“We’re trying to get the team to swim faster than they have ever swam in their lives, and we’re getting there,” said Head Swim Coach Steven Contarsy. “They are exhausted and tired, and that’s exciting.”
Liu led the pack at the Pasadena Invitational on Saturday April 7, and placed first in four events; the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:14.13, the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 28:69, the 100 freestyle with a time of 53:58, and the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:00.33.
“We had pretty good swims,” said Contarsy. “My breaststroker Aaron Clements won with a 1:01.70 on the relay and that is pretty fast. When we start getting to the point where we’re going to break a minute, that’s a pretty solid time.”
Both men and women won the 400 medley relays with times of 3:43.16 and 4:25.54 respectively taking first place in the SMC quad meet held on Friday, April 6.
Other SMC swimmers that won first place for their individual events include: Clements with a time of 4:26.86 for the men’s 400 medley, Patty Salgado with a time of 57.10 for the women’s 100 freestyle, Juju Allison with a time of 1:04.33 for the women’s 100 backstroke, Katya Shatalova with a time of 5:21.39 for the women’s 500 freestyle, and Tucker Hopkins with a 2:26.27 for the men’s 200 breaststroke.
“Aaron Clements is up and coming, and Patty Salgado is making a big run, “ said Contarsy. “Christian Savaria is getting close and Katya Shatalova is right there as a distance swimmer. Juju Allison is right there at state cuts, and our relays are pretty close to qualifying. There are five relays on the men’s side, and five relays on the women’s side. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Contarsy was satisfied with the overall performance of the team commending swimmers who came close to the state qualifying times at SMC’s quad meet on Friday, April 6, and who did well at the Pasadena Invitational the next day.
“We had some times that are approaching the state qualifying time from people who haven’t qualified for state yet,” said Contarsy. “So that was the goal today, prepare for tomorrow.”
Some SMC swimmers like Liu and Jeff Lum were unable to attend the meet on Friday due to class scheduling conflicts, but Liu participated on Saturday at the Pasadena Invitational.
The goal of the SMC Swim team is to place in the top three teams in the upcoming WSC Championships.
The prelims of the WSC Championships begin Thursday, April 19th at 10 a.m. at Bakersfield College with the top 16 swimmers returning for the finals at 5 p.m. each day in an intensive competition lasting through Saturday.
SMC’s diver Noah Nevins injured his hand in a car door and was unable to compete in the diving championships last weekend at El Camino College.
Nevins last competition was at LA Valley College, Mar. 23, where he got first place in the three-meter of the men’s division.
According to Contarsy, on the following weekend after the LA Valley meet, Nevins slammed his hand in a car door and broke two fingers.