Ten Swimmers Headed to State Championships

Ten swimmers, consisting of nine men and one woman, will represent Santa Monica College at the CCCAA Swim and Dive State Championships from Thursday, May 3 to Saturday, May 6. The meet will be held at De Anza College in San Jose, which is a recent change from its typical location in East Los Angeles.

The team last performed at the Western State Conference Championships in mid-April, when SMC took third in total after the men’s team placed second and the women’s team finished seventh.

Colin Casey, winning first in all three events he competed in at the conference, will be headed to state to participate in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly, as well as the 100-yard backstroke. Head coach Brian Eskridge says that this has been the most male students, including Casey, going to state for the team that he has seen at the college since around 2012. “His main focus has always been stated, and we knew he was going to win conference pretty easily, so we’ve been really gearing him up,” Eskridge said.

Brian Mcateer will do a 200-individual medley, which is a combination of several strokes, and the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. Martin Berggren and Edmund Teo will both participate the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. Matt Holt, originally focused on water polo, has shifted attention to swimming and will do the 200, 500, and 1650-yard freestyle.

With no individual events, Tristan Quiane and Musashi Saito will be swimming during the relays, those being the 200, 400, and 800-yard freestyle and the 200 and 400-yard medley.

Two divers, Alex Watson and Henri Helin will be diving one and three-meters respectively. Watson, currently 29, has had shoulder and ankle problems during the season, but still finished in first place during the last competition. “I used to dive up until I was about 17 years old, so I have a lot of anxiety with it,” Watson said about the age gap in his swimming career. “I’m just pushing through the pain every conference, every meet.”

A swimmer since last season, Helin has only started diving this year but was placed second, behind Watson. Shocked by the results that he will be attending state, Helin wished he had started diving earlier. “It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve always wanted to try diving,” Helin said. “It’s super scary at first, and it’s kind of like a mental thing to go up the high-dive and not thinking about hitting your head on the board and all that.”

The women’s team currently has six swimmers. Shayna Simmer will be swimming the 100-yard butterfly and the 200 and 400-yard individual medley. With only six swimmers, the team has competed against teams over twice their size and has still beaten larger teams. Most recently, the team was just 0.23% away from the sixth-place position won by Citrus College, a team with 16 female swimmers.

Given the female team’s progress over the season, Simmer has enjoyed swimming with them and is getting ready to compete at state. “I’m honestly very, very nervous, I was very surprised that I even made it,” Simmer said. “I thought that best case, I was going to make one event and I ended up making all three, so now I’m even more nervous, but I’m really excited about it.”

With state only a few days away, the team has been practicing daily with everyone in high spirits. “Everybody’s showed a lot of improvement at the conference,” Casey said. “I think we’re going to do really good.”