The Central Coast Section swimming meet usually features athletes who become major collegiate stars and, occasionally, international stars. The meet also features seniors swimming in their final competitive event.
Either way, it's a special event for everyone involved. This year's meet will be held at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, with girls diving getting things started Friday at 9 a.m. The swimming preliminaries begin at 2:30 p.m.
On Saturday, boys diving is at 9 a.m., with swimming consolation and finals beginning at 2:30 p.m.
It's an event that rewards depth, with the top 16 finishers earning team points.
Menlo-Atherton's Izzi Henig was a double winner last year as a sophomore in the 50 and 100 free. She is seeded second in the 50 free this year behind St. Francis' Brooke Schaffer.
"I love CCS," Henig said. "It's probably my favorite meet of the year. You can feel the energy around you. It's an incredible experience.
Menlo's Scott Little swam in the consolation final of the 50 free last year, tying for 13th place with Sacred Heart Prep's Luke Rohlen. He won the West Bay Athletic League title this season with a personal best 21.58.
"I'd like to take it one more step," he said.
Rohlen finished second to Little in the WBAL finals in 22.08. He swam faster in last year's CCS meet.
"The CCS meet is ultimately about bonding with your teammates," Rohlen said. "It's a huge deal. We get videos from alumni wishing us good luck."
Rohlen, also a top water polo player, came to swimming late. He still caught the fever.
"I didn't swim until I got to high school," he said. "I fell in love with the sport."
Sacred Heart Prep sophomore Gabby Ma remembers being in awe at her first CCS meet.
"It was really exciting and I was nervous at the same time," Ma said. "I was racing against the big kids. My teammate were helpful and made it fun. It's a great atmosphere."
Like most of the CCS swimmers, Ma finds herself competing against club teammates.
"You're in a different mode when you race against each other," she said. "It's fun seeing club members."
Castilleja senior Natalie Tuck, who will be competing at California in the fall, said seeing her teammates improve throughout the season is part of her inspiration.
"It's really exciting to see your teammates make the cut," she said. "There's definitely more energy. This is the most exciting part of the season."
Tuck finished third in both the 200 IM and 500 free last year and she'll see some of the same competitors this year.
"There are a few new girls at the club level doing the 200 IM and I get to train with them, every day." Tuck said. "At CCS, you're racing against your good friends. In a way, you're all teammates."
Thanks to her club experience and Castilleja's academic rigors, Tuck feels fully prepared for her next chapter at Cal.
"More than anything I think learning time management at Castilleja will pay off next year," said Tuck, who plans on taking science classes with long lab hours.
This weekend she'll be mixing technique, talent and experience into what she hopes is a successful end to her high school career.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2017 at 4:19 pm
on May 12, 2017 at 4:19 pm
I guess it would be too much to ask for the article to mention any of the swimmers from public schools or heaven forbid Gunn High School.
It might offend the paper's wealthy sponsors. Too bad the PAonline sports section is turning into a prep school yearbook.