Alert to all regional prep swim schools:
Hitch up those Speedos, adjust your goggles.
The Blue Devil Armada is about to set sail on Lodi.
When the Sac-Joaquin Section swim meet gets underway with preliminary rounds Thursday (girls) and Friday (boys), Davis High is expected to begin an assault that could provide the locals with two more titles.
“We have a lot of very strong swimmers returning,” veteran Devils coach Tracy Stapleton told The Enterprise, adding he figures his girls team could easily repeat as champion while his boys were solid and “can definitely” move up a notch from last year’s second-place finish to Granite Bay.
Stapleton believes there are more school records waiting to fall when final swims take place on Saturday at Tokay High. Along the way, there could be some additional DHS swimmers with new section standards as well.
With a deep pool of talent, Stapleton knows swimmers like Kathleen Benjamin, Chenoa Devine, Matt Whittle, Alex Rieger, Jonathan Pun and quick relay teams are going to bring in buckets of points…
“You know they’re going to hit. The big question is where the utility swimmers … are going to fall?” continues the coach. “Are they going to make big finals? (Consolation) finals? Will they be out of finals? That is the interesting part. Those people are the difference in a meet that is five, six, 10 points.”
Blue Devil girls — runaway victors in 2013 for their 18th section title — might not have such drama come Saturday, but the boys race was a different story last year. DHS’ second-place finish was just 4.5 points behind Jesuit (239.5-235). Granite Bay (231) was in third.
“Rank-and-file” competitors (as Stapleton calls them) like junior Vivian Crow (100-yard butterfly), distance sophomore Lanna Kozlowski, freshmen Sean Kos and Tucker Fisk could bring those hoped-for secondary points.
Stapleton explains that “one 10th- (or) 11th-place finish” would have put the Devil boys over the top last season.
“That’s what makes it fun,” the coach says. “You literally can have your Rudys. That one person steps up, nails it and puts us over the top.”
But there certainly is plenty of big-point potential headed south.
Coming out of the Delta Valley Conference finals, at which Davis swimmers established eight new league marks, the locals now have bigger fish to fry.
Of the 29 Blue Devils headed south, eight have at least a piece of a DHS school record.
Senior Whittle holds the school marks in the 100-yard fly (48.26) and 100 backstroke (50.02), but won’t race the latter on Saturday as he’s committed to two relays, the 100 fly and the 200 individual medley.
“The boys 200 medley relay is going to break the section record,” Stapleton says, pointing to his team of Pun, Fisk, Whittle and Riley Hickman. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Hickman’s 1:38.27 is a Devil 200-freestyle standard and he’s also expected to make waves in the relays and the 100 free.
Benjamin, Emma Barksdale, Rieger and Devine will take a crack at the 200 medley section mark that three of them helped set last year (1:44.26). That 2013 quartet featured graduated Tara Halsted in place of Devine.
The girls 400 free relay squad (Benjamin, Rieger, Heather Johnson and Devine) will go after another SJS record Davis holds at 3:26.51.
Individually, sophomore Devine owns all-time school benchmarks in the 200 free (1:49.61) and 500 free (4:49.18).
“If I was asked, ‘Chenoa in the 200 and 500 (freestyle) … is she going to win?’ ” Stapleton says. “I would be stunned if she didn’t win. She’s an out-of-this-world talent.”
Devine will have her periscope up looking for the Sac-Joaquin records of Downey’s Karlee Bispo (1:45.14) and Granite Bay’s Alyssa Anderson (4:42.20) in those events.
Notes: Gates at Tokay High open at 8:30 a.m. each day with swimming starting at 10 a.m. … Of the DHS senior swimmers, Rieger is headed to Georgia Tech; Johnson will be staying put, playing water polo at UC Davis; Whittle is ticketed for Cal; Pun is going to Pacific; Alex LaFreniere is Cal Poly-bound and Benjamin will be swimming for UC Santa Barbara. … Stapleton’s assistant coaches are Dakotah (nee Mohr) Sturla and Jake Allen — both former Blue Devils. Allen, who swam for Stanford where he helped set an American collegiate record in the 200 freestyle relay, holds the SJS section 50 (20.35) and 100 (44.72) free records. He set them in 2007.
All-time Blue Devil swim records
Girls (distances in yards)
200 medley relay: 1:44.26 (Alex Rieger, Emma Barksdale, Kathleen Benjamin, Tara Halsted 2013)
200 freestyle: 1:49.61 (Chenoa Devine 2013)
200 individual medley: 2:01.11 (Tara Halsted 2013)
50 freestyle: 23.29 (Amanda Larsen 2005)
100 butterfly: 54.76 (Beverly Nguyen 2012)
100 freestyle: 50.88 (Denali Knapp 1996)
500 freestyle: 4:49.18 (Chenoa Devine 2013)
200 freestyle relay: 1:36.31 (Marissa Lafreniere, Emma Barksdale, Heather Johnson, Chenoa Devine 2013)
100 backstroke: 53.85 (Denali Knapp 1996)
100 breaststroke: 1:02.45 (Sarah Agee 1997)
400 freestyle relay: 3:26.51 (Alex Rieger, Marissa LaFreniere, Chenoa Devine, Tara Halsted 2013)
Boys (distances in yards)
200 medley relay: 1:33.95 (Connor Stapleton, Jonathan Pun, Matt Whittle, Riley Hickman 2012)
200 freestyle: 1:38.27 (Riley Hickman 2013)
200 individual medley: 1:47.31 (Keenan Newman 2003)
50 freestyle: 20.35 (Jake Allen 2007)
100 butterfly: 48.26 (Matt Whittle 2013)
100 freestyle: 44.72 (Jake Allen 2007)
500 freestyle: 4:34.91 (Keenan Newman 2001)
200 freestyle relay: 1:25.69 (Keenan Newman, Markus Henning, Phillipe Chordas, Jay Stampfl 2003)
100 backstroke: 50.02 (Matt Whittle 2014)
100 breaststroke: 55.74 (Matt Whittle 2012, Keenan Newman 2002)
400 freestyle relay: 3:06.23 (Matt Whittle, Andrew Block, Jonathan Pun, Riley Hickman 2013)
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-320-4456.