Ever since Sacred Heart Prep joined the West Bay Athletic League in 2009, there has been one constant when it comes to swimming -- the Gators have been unbeatable.
Both SHP teams splashed their way to a fifth straight title at the WBAL Championships on Thursday in Atherton, the girls scoring 472 points to out-distance Harker (317) and the boys tallying 585 points to defeat rival Menlo School (450).
SHP junior Ally Howe made up for missing one event last season, due to illness, by winning a pair of events and swimming on two winning relays.
In preparation for next weekend's Central Coast Section Championships, Howe wanted to find out where she was in the training department. She discovered she's probably ahead of last year's schedule by setting a meet and school record of 22.81 while winning the 50-yard free. Howe also set a meet mark while winning the 100 back in 53.57, just off her school mark of 53.11 from last year's CCS prelims.
Howe's 50 free and 100 back times are automatic All-American times. The 50 is also one of the fastest in CCS history.
Clearly, Howe is in fine shape to go after the 200 IM crown and defend her 100 back title in the section finals.
Howe also led off the 200 medley relay that locked a season best of 1:48.29, breaking the league record, and anchored the 400 free relay to victory in a rather pedestrian 3:44.02.
Howe factored in on four of SHP's six victories as the Gators piled up the points with their depth. Selby Sturzenegger won the 100 fly in 58.18 and swam on the winning 200 free relay squad that clock 1:42.20.
Menlo freshman Jocelyn Chan won the 200 free in 1:56.19 to help the Knights produce 179 points and finish fifth. Castilleja sophomore Heid Katter captured the 200 IM in 2:04.13 while helping the Gators score 216 points and finish fourth.
In the boys' meet in the Sacred Heart Prep pool, the Gators won seven events with Scott Jollymour and Chris Hinrichs winning twice and swimming on two winning relays. The individual titles were their first in the WBAL finals.
SHP won five titles a year ago and returned only one individual champion (Harrison Enright in the 500 free). Still, the Gators prevailed in a big way.
Jollymour took the 50 free in a 21.83 to move among the top five in school history, and added a 48.80 season best in the 100 free. He also anchored the 200 free relay (1:29.79) and led off the 400 free relay that clocked a fast 3:18.55.
Hinrichs anchored the 400 relay and was the third leg in the 200 free squad. He also won the 200 free (1:49.76) and 500 free (4:56.53). Teammate John Howard added a victory in the 100 back in 58.51.
Menlo School managed a lone victory by Johnny Wilson in the 100 fly (55.57).
At the boys' prelims for Friday's SCVAL De Anza Division Championships at Palo Alto High, two school records fell on Thursday.
Palo Alto junior Andrew Liang was the fastest qualifier in the 50 free while breaking his own school record with a sizzling 20.81 that earned him automatic All-American status. Gunn freshman Daichi Matsuda lowered a 1985 school mark in the 500 free to 4:36.14.
Paly sophomore William Lee, meanwhile, established a meet record with a 50.47 leader in the 100 back. He just missed his own school record of 50.45.