Men's Swimming & Diving

State swimming returns to East Los Angeles College after COVID layoff

Cuesta College men's swimming has a number of strong swimmers at the 2022 CCCAA State Meet.
Cuesta College men's swimming has a number of strong swimmers at the 2022 CCCAA State Meet.

(MONTEREY PARK) -- For seven seasons from 2011-2017, East Los Angeles College's Swim Stadium was a haven for record-setting performances. But in 2018-2019, the state meet shifted up North to De Anza College. A return to ELAC was expected in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic not only cancelled the championship that year, but the meet was nixed again along with most competition throughout the state in 2021. 

Finally after a 5-year absence, ELAC wil host the 2022 CCCAA State Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, Thursday-Saturday, May 5-7. With 52 meet records set during the previous state meets here, only time will tell if the '22 edition will produce more records. 

MEN'S PREVIEW

The defending state team champion from 2019 for the men--Sierra College--is in contention again after a strong performance in winning the Big 8 Conference title. Orange Coast (Orange Empire Conference champs), an 8-time state champ who last won in 2018, and Cuesta, the Western State Conference champions, are also contenders.

Other conference champions were Long Beach City (beat Mt. San Antonio in the final relay to win title) winning the South Coast Conference crown, PCAC champ Grossmont, Coast Conference winner West Valley, and Central Valley Conference champion College of the Sequoias.

The '22 meet will have the prelims session at 9 a.m. on each of the three days with the finals beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday-Friday and Saturday's evening session starting at 4 p.m.

Here is an event-by-event look at the state meet (race events in yards):

THURSDAY, MAY 5

Event #2: 200 freestyle relay: Top Seed--Cuesta 1:23.98. The relay seed times don't always tell the story. Often, teams can make up the difference with the adrenaline flowing. In this case Cuesta will be challenged by Sierra, American River, Orange Coast and anyone else who may step up to make the final 8 finals cut. 
Event #4: 500 freestyle: Top Seed--Tatsuki Inouye, Orange Coast, 4:37.13. This race may end up going to the final touch as Cuesta's Stash Perry and Allan Hancock's Max Pecile also have 4:37 and change marks coming in.
Event #6: 200 individual medley: Top Seed--Srboljub Filipovic, Golden West, 1:52.57. Sierra's Jake Reuter (.12 behind) and Orange Coast's Andrew Leong (.56 behind) should put the pressure on Filipovic in this versatile stroke event.
Event #8: 50 freestyle: Top Seed--Lucas Esenwein, Cuesta, and Ethan Smith, Orange Coast, 20.53. This could be the ultimate sprint duel as 20 swimmers in qualifying are all within a second of the top 2. The Prelims will create early excitement in who will indeed advance to the top 8 final.
Event #10: 400 medley relay: Top Seed-Orange Coast, 3:23.38. The Pirates have a decisive almost 5-second advantage over next seed Sierra and certainly are the favorite here.
Event #12: 3-meter board: Top Seed--Jude Dizon, Sequoias, 282.25 points. The diving field is the smallest ever at a state meet and the next highest point score was delivered by Palomar's Donovan Taylor at 239.9. 

FRIDAY, MAY 6

Event #14: 200 medley relay: Top Seed--Orange Coast, 1:32.14. Again OCC has a bit of an advantage, 1.3 seconds ahead of #2 seed Sierra and then it's a more than 3-second lead over #3 Cuesta.
Event #16: 400 individual medley: Top Seed--Matthew Simpson, Orange Coast, 4:02.50. Simpson holds a full second lead over Cypress' Ethan Umpornpuckdi and 2.38 over Sierra's Reuter. Diablo Valley's Conlan Brydon has the only other sub 4:11 time in the event. 
Event #18: 100 butterfly: Top Seed--Ethan Smith, Orange Coast, 48.01. Smith is a clear favorite, .85 of a second ahead of teammate Leong. 
Event #20: 200 freestyle: Top Seed--Stash Perry, Cuesta, 1:41.92. Perry's time makes him a strong favorite, 1.10 ahead of Palomar's Timothy Godin and 1.38 over Sequoias' Joshy Peters. One darkhorse is Rio Hondo's Xander Dimitriadis who swam 1:43.50 at this pool a few weeks ago in the South Coast Championships and may have more fuel in the tank.
Event #22: 100 breaststroke: Top Seed--Arthur Moraes, De Anza, 56.63. This has the makings of a mad dash to the finish between Moraes, Golden West's Filipovic (56.80), Cuesta's Andrew Lopez (56.83), and Palomar's Kevin Brunia (57.28). 
Event #24: 100 backstroke: Top Seed--Tatsuki Inouye, Orange Coast, 49.63. Inouye's closest challenger is Sierra's Evan Terry at 50.02 and then it's a gap of 1.4 seconds for the next fastest seed.
Event #26: 800 freestyle relay: Top Seed-Orange Coast, 6:55.32. The Pirates have an impressive 3-second lead over #2 seed Sierra and no one else has established under 7:06. 
Event #28: 1-meter board: Top Seed--Jude Dizon, Sequoias, 241.35 points. The smaller board appears to be 4-diver battle between Dizon, Grossmont's Jake Nelson (241), Palomar's Taylor (226.75) and San Joaquin Delta's Tony Arteaga (222.45). Degree of difficulty and execution will be the difference for the winner. 

SATURDAY, MAY 7

Event #30: 1,650 freestyle: Top Seed--Stash Perry, Cuesta, 16:36.35. Perry's quick times in the 200 and 500 and his 10-plus second seed lead over the rest of the field makes him a clear-cut favorite in the mile. While swimmers often are able to shave significant seconds off their best times, it's hard to believe that Perry won't do the same. American River's Tomas Townsend had the next best mark at 16:46.81.
Event #32: 200 backstroke: Top Seed--Matthew Simpson, Orange Coast, 1:48.19. Simpson's biggest competition is his Pirates teammate Inouye (just .17 of a second back), who is capable of winning three gold medals based on his seed times. 
Event #34: 100 freestyle: Top Seed--Lucas Esenwein, Cuesta, 45.22. Like the 50, the strong large field can turn this race into anyone's guess. Sierra's Espinoza has the only other under 46.0 time at 45.34.
Event #36: 200 breaststroke: Top Seed--Srboljub Filipovic, Golden West and Jake Reuter, Sierra, 2:04.49. Filipovic also has a chance at three event titles but not if Reuter puts on his jets here. Next best to date is Sierra's Joshua Smet at 2:05.74.
Event #38: 200 butterfly: Top Seed--Ethan Smith, Orange Coast, 1:48.53. On Derby Day, Smith is the class of the field and Beyer's numbers suggest a 2.53 second advantage will be tough to beat. The next three fastest swimmers are all from Sierra in Tommy Collins, Aidan Thompson and Caleb Tracy. 
Event #40: 400 freestyle relay: Top Seed--Orange Coast, 3:04.56. Sierra is right with the Pirates squad at 3:04.82, but depending on the circumstances of whether the race has significance to team final scoring, other teams may emerge in the meet's final race. 

WOMEN'S PREVIEW

Orange Coast, state champions in both 2018 and 2019, hope to 3-peat after winning the Orange Empire Conference title. The other conference team champions coming into the state meet are Long Beach (South Coast), Santa Barbara City (Western State), San Diego Mesa (PCAC), San Joaquin Delta (Big 8), Sequoias (Central Valley), and West Valley (Coast). 

Here is an event-by-event look at the state meet's women events (race events in yards):

THURSDAY, MAY 5

Event #1: 200 freestyle relay: Top Seed--Cuesta 1:40.23. Sierra is .68 of a second back and then Riverside City, Delta and Long Beach are all in striking distance under 1:42. Orange Coast at 1:42.18 can never be counted out either. 
Event #3: 500 freestyle: Top Seed--Marie Lucquet, West Valley, 5:11.90. Lucquet is a heavy favorite here with #2 seed and OCC's Giselle Quinonez 4.31 seconds off the pace.
Event #5: 200 individual medley: Top Seed--Risa Akatsu, Santa Monica, 2:09.01. The Corsairs swimmer is a prohibitive favorite with a 6.74 second lead over the next in the field-Fullerton's Anoushka Jaievsky Fullerton at 2:15.75. 
Event #7: 50 freestyle: Top Seed--Ruby Gonzalez, Santa Rosa JC, 24.33. Nothing like a sprint to see who will top themselves as the field is fierce with seven swimmers under 25. Next best after Gonzalez thus far is Orange Coast's Journey Werner at 24.61, then Bakersfield's Emma Jeffries at 24.73.
Event #9: 400 medley relay: Top Seed-Orange Coast, 4:07.09. The Pirates should battle it out with Sierra (4:10.64) as no one else is under 4:13. 
Event #11: 1-meter board: Top Seed--Lorelai Carney, Riverside CC, 236.77 points. A small A cut field is led by the Tigers' diver who should be challenged by Sierra's Laurel Plewe (215.30), and LA Valley's Anahit Cholokyan FR LA Valley (207.70).

FRIDAY, MAY 6

Event #13: 200 medley relay: Top Seed--Orange Coast, 1:50.50. The state meet record in this event was set by Orange Coast in 2016 (1:44.27), but the Pirates will have to fend off Sierra, Bakersfield and Diablo Valley among others for the '22 win.
Event #15: 400 individual medley: Top Seed--Marie Lucquet, West Valley, 4:44.23. The skilled Viking has a decisive edge of 5.68 seconds and could have 2 gold medals by the end of this finals race. 
Event #17: 100 butterfly: Top Seed--Kanyada Doughty, Hartnell, 57.84. Doughty's faces a tough race with Cuesta's Ryanne Bartolome (58.48) and Ohlone's Mia Lam (59.35) her closest competitors. No one else had an under 1-minute seed mark.
Event #19: 200 freestyle: Top Seed--Risa Akatsu, Santa Monica, 1:53.91. Akatsu certainly will need to maintain a sharp pace as SRJC's Gonzalez (2.04 seconds) could be in striking distance. 
Event #21: 100 breaststroke: Top Seed--Rylee Beidleman, Modesto JC, 1:06.63. The NorCal swimmer has an edge here, but expect San Diego Mesa's Sydney Fortune (1:07.10) and Las Positas' Ashley Sand (1:07.60) to go after gold as well. 
Event #23: 100 backstroke: Top Seed--Ryanne Bartolome, Cuesta, 58.15. Only Long Beach's Atiya Yuwana has joined Bartolome in the under-minute club. 
Event #25: 800 freestyle relay: Top Seed-Orange Coast, 8:08.25. No surprise here as West Valley has the next best time of 8:11.54.
Event #27: 3-meter board: Top Seed--Lorelai Carney, Riverside CC, 256.27 points. Carney has a chance for 2 titles as she will be battled by Plewe, Cholokyan and American River's Jadyn Reeves.

SATURDAY, MAY 7

Event #29: 1,650 freestyle: Top Seed--Giselle Quinonez, Orange Coast, 18:21.01. No swimmer has as big a difference in fastest time than Quinonez who established a whopping 27-second gap to the rest of the field. Mt. San Antonio's Laila Topinio has the edge for the silver at 18:48.34 (10 seconds faster than the third top seed). 
Event #31: 200 backstroke: Top Seed--Ryanne Bartolome, Cuesta, 2:06.67. The speedy Cougar has a near 4-second edge over Modesto's Hayley Rivera. Bartolome certainly is capable of winning all 3 of the events she entered (also 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly). 
Event #33: 100 freestyle: Top Seed--Journey Werner, Orange Coast, 53.30. So many of the women events feature athletes who if they swim to form as top seeds should win a number of the events. However, the 100 is one where Sequoias Jillian Lambert (.26 back) is a second favorite. American River's Haven Fasami, Delta's Sophia Schwartz, Santa Barbara's Ensley Letterman, and Fresno City's Taylor Anderson are also part of a fast field. 
Event #35: 200 breaststroke: Top Seed--Rylee Beidleman, Modesto JC, 2:22.75. Clearly the top breaststroke swimmer in the state to date, Beidleman holds a 4-second lead over next fastest seed in Mesa's Fortune, but West Valley's Lucquet happens to be a third seed, which makes for a quality final. 
Event #37: 200 butterfly: Top Seed--Risa Akatsu, Santa Monica, 2:08.72. The only top seed in three different events, Akatsu is a Women's Swimmer of the Year candidate and her 5.1 second faster time than next best Hartnell's Doughty has Risa in a great position to accomplish a 3-gold medal performance. 
Event #39: 400 freestyle relay: Top Seed--Orange Coast, 3:38.32. Sierra and Cuesta will try to push the Pirates' here. OCC owns the top seed in four of the five relay races. 

Release by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA/CCCAA State SID for Swim/Dive Championship