It had been raining off and on all day on April 9, but the rain held off for the competition, which had a full contingent of swimmers and divers for both teams as well as a healthy crowd of spectators. The showdown between these two top teams was split: the Patriot boys beat the Wolverines but the Lady Wolverines beat the Patriot girls.
Other than the plethora of competitors and intensity of competition, the thing that differentiated this meet was the presence of diverse divers, all competing off of the low board.
They ranged from lithe athletes able to defy gravity for a few seconds as they twisted and flipped in mid-air before gracefully slipping into the water to those more aerobatically challenged, making their biggest splash upon entry and often getting an appreciative applause from the crowd for their watery explosions, if not high marks from the judges.
On the swimming side, there were several standout performances among the Heritage varsity boys, who won 119-67 and are now 3-0 on the season.
Nick Brix was a double winner in the 100 butterfly (59.35 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:03.40), the latter a North Coast qualifying time. Nick Araujo won the 200 freestyle (1:53.65), Clint Freeman won the 200 IM (2:13.68) and Kurt Holzmuller won the 500 freestyle (5:10.64). In addition, Heritage won the 400 freestyle relay (3:31.70), thanks to Nick Araujo, Clint Freeman, Karl Mehta and Zach Harris.
For Deer Valley, Aaron Wayne, the winner of a scholarship to Stanford, won two events: the 50 freestyle (22.20) and 100 freestyle (50.48) and swam on two of Deer Valley’s winning relay teams. The DV varsity boys dropped to 2-1 in league competition.
The Wolverine varsity girls fared better, winning 103-83, but the Patriots had two double winners. Shelby Ross won the 200 freestyle (2:07.85) and 500 freestyle (5:42.14). Madison Applegate took the 50 freestyle (25.65) and 100 freestyle (55.20) – both are North Coast qualifying times.
The DV girls are 3-0 in league competition while Heritage dropped to 2-1. On the JV side, the Heritage boys won 108-44 for a 3-0 league record, while the Deer Valley girls won 110-75 and are also 3-0 league. The losers dropped to 2-1.
While the meet had mixed results, Heritage Coach Craig Carson is impressed with what he sees from his swimmers this season. “The varsity boys were second in the league last year,” he said. “We have only two meets left: Freedom and Liberty. If we can get by them, we have a pretty good chance of winning the league championship, which would be the first time.
“They have been focused on this as their goal all season. They are a very tight-knit group of kids who work well together and support each other. Most of them have already bettered their best times from last season.”
With only three senior boys on the team, prospects look bright for next year as well.
The girls team has also made progress from its fifth-place finish last year, according to Carson. “We are hoping that we can be in the top three for sure (this season),” he said. “If we can get by Liberty and Freedom, we have a chance to be second with the girls, which would be their best showing ever.
“Madison is a real shot in the arm for us; she’s a freshman. She’s able to swim any events we put her in. We try to target her and Shelby against the other team’s strongest swimmers. They did a good job.
“They (Deer Valley) outdepthed us. They had several more swimmers providing depth that scored well in those third, fourth and fifth places that make it hard for us. But many of the girls are swimming for their best times for the season. They are way ahead of where they were last year. I am really proud of both the boys and girls in how they swam.”