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Swimmers of summer

Canyons Aquatic Club members strive to make Jr. Olympics

Posted: July 16, 2008 11:55 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Summer has begun, swimmers have taken their marks, and the referee has blown his ear-piercing whistle.
This season, the Canyons Aquatic Club (CAC) swimmers have set a new ultimate goal: To make the Junior Olympics, which will take place on July 30 at Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

It is the paramount target for all of the CAC swimmers this summer. But that's not all.

From the Junior Olympics, the swimmers that place from first to eighth place will head onto the championship finals, and the ninth to the sixteenth place in consolation round.

Alex Kim, a Canyon varsity swimmer who qualified to swim in the Foothill League finals only a few months ago, said that the practices are twice as intense this season.

"Not only do I have morning and evening practice, I also do one-on-one with my coach every week," Kim said.

During his freshman year, Kim swam at the central Junior Olympics during the short course season and made it into top 16 in his age group for the 50-, 100-yard freestyle and 100 breastroke as well as a CIF consideration time for 200 freestyle relay.

"Right now I'm training especially hard to make it into Junior Olympics," he said.

Chris Lee, a West Ranch varsity and CAC's Senior Development swimmer, said his goal is to make it into the top 16 at the Junior Olympics competition.

Valencia sophomore Kevin Martinez said that he is preparing to go on to finals for the Junior Olympics, as well.

"I'm also working to make at least three sectional times in my 100-, 400-, 800-yard freestyle," he said.

"They are practicing nearly five hours daily," added coach Vicky Connelly. "Two hours of swimming in the morning, an hour of dryland activities, then additional two hours of swimming in the evening."

The coaches have been pushing their swimmers as hard as ever, but swimmers admit that it will all be worth it in the end.

"I really respect coach Conwell because of how hard he pushes me to get better and better," said West Ranch sophomore Riley Mita.

Mita also mentioned that his coach was the reason that he was able to get an automatic CIF time for 500 yard freestyle, 100 backstroke, the 200- and 400 freestyle relay, setting nearly half of the school records.

To make swimming more fun and to bond with her swimmers, Connelly occasionally swims with them.

"Even though she hasn't swam competitively for couple years, she can beat me and some of the Senior Blue swimmers," said Canyon incoming-freshman Matteo Kim.

Kim has not swam in his high school team yet, but his 50 yard freestyle (25.81) is only 3.21 seconds away from getting an automatic CIF time.

With more than 350 swimmers, Canyons Aquatic Club competes in the Southern Californian Swimming region, where it is second best.

The team epitomizes its most notable alumni Anthony Ervin, who was a gold medalist in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Recently, Hart senior Jordan Danny followed Ervin's footsteps and qualified to swim in the Olympic trials in Omaha.

Danny came in 19th place.


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