By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Palo Alto swim coach Danny Dye sat down one recent evening and doped out this week's SCVAL De Anza Division Championships, set for Friday in the Vikings' pool.
Adding up points based on the swim seeds and guesstimating on the diving, Dye came up with his boys beating Monta Vista for the title, 421-420, and his girls holding off the Matadors, 423-422.
While he scored a little high for his boys in diving and a little low for his girls, Dye was right on one count -- he figured the Vikings would sweep the diving titles.
Paly did just that with freshman Reed Merrit taking the boys' crown and freshman Mimi Lin the girls on Tuesday at Gunn High.
"Diving's always been a strong component of our team," Dye explained. "I was very happy with diving today."
With Paly senior Cole Plambeck missing for personal reasons (he'll be back to dive at the Central Coast Section finals), Merrit filled in nicely and nearly broke Plambeck's school record. Merrit scored 504.70 points to narrowly miss Plambeck's mark of 505.65 by less than one point while taking over the No. 2 spot in school history.
"That's OK," Dye told Merrit afterward. "You're only a freshman You don't want to break the record in your first year."
Lin, meanwhile, won her 11-dive program with 462.20 points, well back of Michaela Fossati's 2006 school record of 538.95 points. Lin now ranks No. 3 in school history, also trailing Heather Peng's 469.00 total from 2004.
"I knew Reed's talent level when he came in," Dye said. "He's got natural talent. Mimi is so strong and athletic. They're great athletes and they're only going to get better. It's great to build a program on."
With Lin and senior Serena Yee (439.40) going one-two and Nadya Nee finishing eighth (358.30), that went a long way in helping the Vikings tally 54 points.
For the boys, Paly scored 52 points Jonathan Kosaka (346.00) finishing second and Scott Hillen fourth (329.65).
All the diving points will be added into the swim totals following the 50 free at Friday's championship meet, which gets under way at 2 p.m.
The Gunn boys scored 27 points with Jason Steinberg finishing fifth (309.75) and Miko Mallari taking sixth (307.80) to lead the Titans. The Gunn girls scored 19 points with Vivian Zhou's third place (417.48) leading the way.
Palo Alto won the boys' and girls' league finals last season. The boys need only to finish ahead of Monta Vista to successfully defend, but the Paly girls need to finish first and have Los Gatos take second ahead of Monta Vista to win the overall championship.
All three area leagues will hold their swim trials this week.
The SCVAL De Anza Division will hold the girls' prelims Wednesday and boys' Thursday at Paly. The Peninsula Athletic League will hold prelims on Wednesday and Thursday (3:30 p.m. each day) at Burlingame with finals Saturday at 2 p.m. And the West Bay Athletic League will conduct prelims on Wednesday (4 p.m. at Sacred Heart Prep, with finals set for Thursday at 4 p.m.