Blue Devils

Strong DHS swimmers head to sections

By May 11, 2011

When the Delta Valley Conference champions hit the water Thursday and Friday in the Sac-Joaquin Section swim trials at Tokay High, Davis High teams have to let it all hang out to compete for yet another regional crown.

Despite having 16 section crowns under their caps, the Blue Devil girls haven’t won a team title since 2006; the DHS boys have been in dry dock since ’03.

But, as usual, there will be enough blue-and-white torpedoes in the pool to put the locals at least on the leaderboard once the waves subside during Saturday’s finals.

Girls coach Doug Wright and boys mentor Tracy Stapleton both know their teams have shots, but lots of things have to break the Devils’ way …

“(Our chances) of winning another title are good,” Wright believes. “But we will have to swim great and St. Francis might need to swim a bit flat in some races. (The Troubadours) are deeper, but we will just have to do the best we can and see what happens.”

Last year, DHS finished second to St. Francis, 330-288.

However, as evidenced by slick performances at the recent DVC meet, Davis has some red-hot swimmers in Beverly Nguyen (200 individual medley and 100 butterfly), Marissa LaFreniere (50 and 100 freestyle), Rachel Johnson (100 and 200 free) and Keelia Houston (100 fly and 100 backstroke).

A deep roster that could include key points from Michelle Greenough, Jane Chen, Kathleen Benjamin, Hannah Levien, Christine Chu, Kim Zhu, Alex LaFreniere, Madison Molotky, Heather Johnson, Hailey Wright and Kim Johnson, might have the Blue Devils right there come Saturday afternoon.

“The girls have become technically better swimmers, not just with their strokes, but more noticeably with how they race,” Wright continued. “We have top-end talent, but a good amount of depth. I have been proud of how hard the girls have trained … but also how hard they’ve raced.”

As for the boys, Stapleton says he’s pleased with his crew’s effort in preparation for sections:

“We just need to swim our best. If that allows us to win sections, then great. The focus (this week) is on doing your best.”

And with freestyle wizard Wade Allen (50 and 100) and Kyle Nadler (200 IM and 500 free) leading the way, DHS could be the surprise of the pool.

In preparation for the trials on Friday (girls trials are Thursday), the local boys have “tapered well, focusing on technique and high-intensity work,” according Stapleton.

With Dylan Newsom (200 and 500 free) and Matt Whitte (200 IM and 100 breaststroke) joining Cameron Franke (50 free and 100 breast), Marc Blumberg (200 free and 100 fly) and Adam Raabe (500 free and 200 IM), there are a lot of Blue Devil points there for the taking come Saturday.

Stapleton points to depth — with swimmers like Kyle Saltveit, Paul Dailey, Scott Perry, Connor Stapleton, Jonathan Pun, Yunus Texcan and John Varley — as another key ingredient in making section title No. 10 happen.

“You get a guy who’s slated for 15th to finish in eighth … those unexpected points can make a big difference,” Stapleton said.

“It’s all about the process of preparing and focusing on doing your best. As a coach, my greatest memory of every season is working with athletes who buy into the program, train consistently and with focus. After that, everything seems to fall into place.”

Jesuit, Rio Americano and Granite Bay figure to join the Davis boys in a four-way battle for supremacy of the region’s waterways.

Notes: Competition begins at 10 a.m. every day through Saturday’s finals. … DHS boys hold three Sac-Joaquin Section records: in 2008, Jake Allen’s 44.72 in the 100 free established the standard. A year, before his 20.35 shattered the 50-free mark. With Wade Allen winning the last two 50 titles, it makes that event the personal property of the Allen family (Jake took three straight championships 2005-07.) Thanks to Jake winning the 100 those three years — and another brother, Trevor, taking the last two — the 100 free also has a perpetual Sac-Joaquin trophy in the Allen living room. DHS’ Keenan Newman set two section records in winning the 100 breastroke (55.74) in 2002, and taking the 200 IM (1:47.31) in 2003. Newman won that event four straight years. No one has come within four seconds of the mark since. … Former Devil Denali Knapp (1996) has the region’s girls 100 backstroke record, 53.85. DHS girls also hold the 200 medley and free relay records (1:45.49 and 1:36.71, set in 1995).

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8047.

Bruce Gallaudet

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