The California Community College Athletic Association 2019 State Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships will again feature a formidable defending state women's champ in Orange Coast College while the men's title may be between Big 8 Conference foes Sierra and Diablo Valley. For the second straight year, De Anza College will be the host of the 3-day event, Thursday-Saturday, May 2-4.
On the women's side, OCC bring back four swimmers who made up various parts of four defending relay state champs, including Meghan Cluck, double state champ Kennedy Hood (50 and 100 freestyles), Kylie McCormick, and Cheyenne Morris. This season, Kluck has the state's best seed times in three different events and Pirates' teammate Riley Crow is a force in the two butterfly events.
Orange Coast won 18 events to win their fourth straight Orange Empire Conference title with Crow smashing the conference record in the 200 butterfly and Kluck doing the same in the 200 breaststroke. The pair were named Co-OEC Swimmers of the Year.
Besides Kluck, the meet's top female may be San Joaquin Delta's Madeline Wittkowske, who is the state leader in the 200, 500, and 1,650 freestyle events. She is the defending state champ in the mile swim.
In the men's competition, four teams come into the state meet with 900-plus point scoring performances in winning their respective conference team titles in Mt. San Antonio, school record 964 to capture the South Coast Conference crown, Riverside with 957 to win the Orange Empire title, Sierra's 914 that won the Wolverines their fourth straight Big 8 championship, and Grossmont, the winners of the PCAC tilte with 908.
Sierra was the state runner up last year and has top times in two relay events and along with familiar foe Diablo Valley, the two Big 8 squads have top 5 state times in all five relays.
Top individual swimmers include defending 1,650 freestyle champ Daniel Ilin of Sierra, last year's 400 individual medley winner Jason Harary of Mt. SAC, and Riverside's Erick Fathoni, who has the state's best seed times in the 200 freestyle and 200 IM.
Here is an event-by-event look at the favorites:
W-200 Freestyle Relay: San Diego Mesa (1:39.72), Sierra, Orange Coast, American River, Santa Rosa, Diablo Valley and Santa Barbara City are all within .66 of a second of each other.
M-200 Freestyle Relay: Diablo Valley (1:23.08), Riverside (1:23.91), Sierra (1:24.14), and Ventura (1:24.18) all are capable of winning the event.
W-500 Freestyle: Wittkowske's 5:10 is the state best seed. She won the silver last year in 5:08.7.
M-500 Freestyle: Ilin took second last year, losing by just .20 of a second and his 4:33.42 current seed is more than five seconds faster than anyone else. His 4:26.43 state swim last year was even better.
W-200 IM: Diablo Valley's Mia Ruffin (2:09.59) is expected to be challenged by American River's McKenzie Ayala, OCC's Morris, and Allan Hancock's Izzie Fraire, and Orange Coast's McCormick who was third last year.
M-200 IM: Fathoni (1:50.11) and Harary (1:51.09) should make this versatile event a 2-man battle. Harary was state runner-up last year. Riverside's Javier Bernal has a slower seed time than when he took third in 2018 in 1:52.07.
W-50 Freestyle: The sprint last year was a 1-2-3 OCC finish and expect defending champion Hood (24.10 last year) and runner-up Kluck (top seed at 23.45) to be challenged by as many as six other swimmers all in the 24.51 to 24.71 range.
M-50 Freestyle: Ventura's Cooper Fuchs (sixth in last year's final) leads the field at 20.31, .30 faster than the next fastest seeded swimmer.
W-400 Medley Relay: Sierra (3:58.21) was the only team with a seed under 4 minutes, but OCC's Kluck, McCormick and Morris were part of a super fast 3:52.60 win last year.
M-400 Medley Relay: The largest seed time margin in any relay was turned in by Sierra in this event at 3:23.83, 4.7 seconds ahead of anyone else in this year's field.
W-1-Meter Diving Board: Last year saw a state points record set by Cypress champion Alejandra Gomez (254.10) and this year American River's Amy Crayne had a high NorCal score of 254.75 while no other diver reached the 200-point mark.
M-3-Meter Diving Board: Delta's Josh Hamby is back to defend his state title as he scored a North best 277.35 this year ahead of De Anza's Joseph Heilman (274.35).
W-200 Medley Relay: Sierra (1:49.09) will be tested by Orange Coast, SD Mesa, Las Positas, Diablo Valley and Santa Rosa.
M-200 Medley Relay: Mt. SAC (1:30.17) has nearly a 3-second seed time faster than the rest of the field.
W-400 IM: El Camino's Ida Due (4:32.99) has nearly a 6-second advantage and Morris, last year's silver medalist, is again in a good spot with this year's second-best seed time.
M-400 IM: Mt. SAC's Harary, the defending state champ, set a conference record coming in and is the only swimmer under 4 minutes this year at 3:59.83. While no event is a sure thing, this is as close to a prohibitive favorite as it gets.
W-100 Butterfly: Orange Coast's Crow established the best seed (56.85), but Ruffin and McCormick (7th last year) are within distance of the Crow's nest.
M-100 Butterfly: Pierce's Mario Marshall set a WSC conference record of 49.53 to be the favorite. Santa Monica's Oliver Kabilka and Colin Casey and Mt. SAC's Ethan Trieu are all a low 50 plus.
W-200 Freestyle: Last year, Wittkowske lost by just .44 of a second as she took second. Her 1:52.55 is the top seed this year and her biggest challenger could be Mesa's Allyson Hansen (1:53.09).
M-200 Freestyle: RCC's Fathoni set a Orange Empire conference record in 1:38.51 and that is the time to beat with Ilin, 1:39.44 silver medal swim last year, in striking distance.
W-100 Breaststroke: Kluck (1:04 flat this year), last year's second place finisher, will go stroke for stroke with Pasadena City's Carmen Ung (school record 1:04.33). The two finished in a dead heat for first in this event at the Pasadena Invitational.
M-100 Breaststroke: Sierra's Noah Scholar (fourth in last year's final) tops the field at 56.47 with teammate Jaysen Westlake next at 57.08.
W-100 Backstroke: Foothill's Maiha Mizuta heads the field at 57.59 and Mesa's Julie Parsons (placed third last year) is right behind at 57.76.
M-100 Backstroke: This one expects to be a war to the wall with Mt. SAC's Trieu (50.39) and Sierra's Gary Woo (50.41) separated by just. 02 of a second as the top two seeds. Woo was sixth in 2018 and SMC's Casey was eighth.
W-800 Freestyle Relay: Delta has the top time so far at 7:56.6 while OCC is in the running at 7:59.73 as well as SD Mesa at 8:00.24.
M-800 Freestyle Relay: Always a fan favorite, this event features Sierra and Mt. SAC already under 7 minutes and Riverside not far behind. Last year, OCC set a state meet record at 6:39.59.
W-3-Meter Diving Board: Crayne could challenge the state points record after recording a 265.30 score at the North finals (record 263.05). Next best is South champ and San Diego Mesa's Maya Fielding (188.85).
M-1-Meter Diving Board: Hamby will try to be a double state champ in two straight years (265.05 this year), but Heilman (256.40) and Rio Hondo's Aaron Augustine (252.15) will try to spoil the bid.
W-1,650 Freestyle: Wittkowske is the defending state champ and she has already shaved 25 seconds of that winning time (17:31.81 seed). Due will try to keep up (17:40.04).
M-1,650 Freestyle: Last year, Ilin won the title at 15:58.11 and SMC's Matt Holt was second. This year, Holt has the fastest seed time (16:21.44) but expect the two to battle again for the mile gold.
W-200 Backstroke: Mesa's Parsons took the silver last year but her state-leading seed time doesn't approach her 2:04.93 of 2018. Mizuta is the second fastest this year (2:08.4).
M-200 Backstroke: Harary placed fifth last year, but he has a significant 2.5 second faster time than the field at 1:50.44.
W-100 Freestyle: Hansen has the top seed mark (52.18) but she will have her arms full to try to beat defending champ Hood (52.43 last year), Bakersfield's Daran Towns (53.03) and DVC's Taylor Cossu (53.20).
M-100 Freestyle: Seven swimmers are less than a second behind current top seed Las Positas' Esteban Perez Del Rio (45.09). Talented sprinters Fuchs and Marshall are expected to be in the medal mix.
W-200 Breaststroke: This event has all the makings of a classic. Kluck set an OEC conference record for the top seed in the event at 2:23.18 and Hancock's Fraire also set a WSC record of 2:23.55. Sierra's Danielle Brown (seventh last year) is at 2:24.52 and PCC's Ung set a school record of 2:24.72.
M-200 Breaststroke: Sierra has the monopoly on the seeds behind top 3 swimmers Joseph Dutra (2:05.75), Scholar and Westlake. Scholar took fourth last year in 2:04.02 and Westlake placed seventh.
W-200 Butterfly: Crow set an OEC record of 2:05.99 and has a giant 5.69 second margin ahead of the next fastest seeded swimmer.
M-200 Butterfly: This figures to be a hotly-contested swim with Mt. SAC's Jonathan Olvera (1:52.55) and Casey (1:52.60 who finished sixth last season) also dealing with last year's silver medalist Bernal of Riverside (1:52.47 at the '18 meet) and longshot Michael Humphrey of Pasadena.
W-400 Freestyle Relay: The OCC trio of Kluck, Morris and Hood won this event last year and the Pirates have the top seed at 3:37.91. Diablo Valley will try to overtake them (3:38.18).
M-400 Freestyle Relay: Time will tell how important this race is by meet's standings end with Diablo Valley (3:06.08), Riverside (3:06.56), and Sierra (3:06.64) all trying to get the gold.