Fairfield, CA. Solano College played host to the 2019 Bay Valley Conference Swimming Championships, over April 18-20, 2019. This meet features the 4 schools from the Central Valley Conference (Clovis Community College, Fresno City College, Merced College, and College of the Sequoias) as well as the schools from the Bay Valley Conference (Laney College, College of Marin, Solano College, and Shasta College). Clovis Community College women's team held off College of the Sequoias in a very tight race to win their 2nd conference title in the past 3 years, while the men finished a respectable 3rd place behind conference champions, Merced College, and runners-up, College of the Sequoias.
The women's team race was one of story-books. During the sixth and final session of the meet, there were lead changes after each of the five women's events in which each of the three schools in contention, (Clovis, COS, and Merced) led for part of the session. Coming into the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, Clovis held a 7 point lead over COS. A COS win of any kind would have scored 64 points and a 2nd placed finish by Clovis would have yielded 56 points, thus giving COS the championship title by only 1 point. However, the Lady Crush relay held their nerve and the team of Chloe Telian, Helen Harris, Jade Standing, and Dani Denton held off a very strong challenge from the COS team to touch first and take the title!
The Lady Crush swimmers topped the podium on the majority of the events on the meet, winning 13 of the 21 events in the meet! Sophomores led the charge, as Kristina Copeland and Hannah Carbajal each won three individual BVC titles. Copeland earned first place in the 200 free, 500 free, and 1650 free, while Carbajal touched first in the 50 butterfly, 200 individual medley, and 400 individual medley. Carbajal also finished 2nd in the 200y breaststroke, which brought her accumulation of points to a tie for the highest point scorer in the meet, earning her a share of the title of Bay Valley Conference Women's Swimmer of the Year along with Helene Takamura of Laney College. Other event winners include a trio of freshmen. Dani Denton placed first in the 50 and 100 free events. Sammie Rockey was the champion of the 100 and 200 breaststroke events. Chloe Telian bested the field in the 200 butterfly. The Crush took the gold in two relay events, as well, winning the 400 freestyle relay (as explained above), as well as putting together a dominating performance in the 800 freestyle relay with the team of Copeland, Rockey, Harris, and Sara Barcelos keeping a, now, four year streak of winning this event.
As one would imagine, the great success yielded some school records. Dani Denton's time in the 50 freestyle overtook the record set earlier this year by Ari Hernandez, who missed out on competing in the Conference to lead a mission trip in Mexico, during this week's Spring Break, but was able to compete in diving events at the NorCal regional championships, last week. Sammie Rockey has now achieved the honor of being the queen of all breaststroke records, replacing the records in the 50, 100, and 200 breaststroke events, at the BVC Championships.
The women's team fielded thirteen student-athletes who all contributed scoring efforts, and it is important to add that without the scoring efforts of every team member, the Crush would not have taken the conference title. Next up for the Lady Crush is the CCCAA State Championships in Cupertino, hosted by DeAnza College, on May 2-4. At the time of post, Copeland and Rockey are qualified for individual swimming events, while Jade Standing qualified in 1m and 3m diving events, last week, at the NorCal Diving regionals, while there will be many contributors to State relay-only efforts, including Katie Amendt, Barcelos, Carbajal, Denton, Arianna Hernandez, and Harris.
The men's meet didn't provide the fireworks that the women's meet offered, however, the number of men's swimmers finishing in the top 8 finalists were very high and very broad. Merced College dominated the meet from start to finish, leaving a good race for second place between College of Sequoias and Clovis. In the end, the depth of a very good COS men's side overcame a strong, last day challenge from the Crush men's team.
Returning CCCAA All-American Dante Ramos provided the men's only championship title, as he topped the field in his signature event, the 1650 freestyle. Ramos finished sixth in this event at the State meet in 2017, and after taking a year away from college swimming, will hope to return to the finalists in the event in this year's competition! Ramos also finished 2nd in the 500 freestyle as well as 3rd in the 200 freestyle. At the time of post, Ramos is qualified to represent the Crush in all three of these events at the CCCAA State Championships in Cupertino, hosted by DeAnza College in May. Also qualifying for the CCCAA State meet is sophomore returnee, Stuart Mallam. His runner-up effort in the 200 breaststroke yielded a time worthy of qualifying for the State level also allowing his 100 breaststroke to be accepted as a bonus event for the competition.
While the Crush men's swimmers did not individually top the podium in any further events, their relays constructed some great competition with their BVC rivals, highlighted by a tight race in the longest relay event, the 800 freestyle relay. This race, which consists of 4 swimmers each swimming an individual 200 freestyle, takes about seven minutes to play out, in this case, the lead changed at least 6 times between Clovis and Merced. In the end, the team of Ramos, Mallam, Daniel Jones, and Colin Plank fell just short of the finishing in the lead. The team of Plank, Mallam, Ramos, and Jones also rewrote the school record book, as their 400 medley relay replaced the team from 2017 to put their names into the record book.
Ramos and Mallam will be joined, at the state meet, by returning CCCAA All-American, Jaylan Neal, and freshman, Joshua Depaz, who will both compete in diving events, which were qualified at the NorCal Regional Championships, last week in Cupertino. Neal was the top placing diver in the 1m event for the BVC, and Depaz was the top scorer in the 3m. Neal was also the top diving scorer overall from the BVC, which earned him the title of BVC Diver of the Year. The foursome will culminate their season by competing at the CCCAA championships in Cupertino in May.