Men's Swimming & Diving

SD Mesa's Crabtree Swimmer of Year Again, OCC Captures Both Team Swim Titles

Orange Coast women's team celebrates 2018 state team championship.
Orange Coast women's team celebrates 2018 state team championship.

Complete CCCAA Championship Meet results (PDF)

CUPERTINO—It was a double-double for Orange Coast College as the Pirates won the CCCAA State swimming and diving team titles for the men and women, the first double-double since Golden West five years ago.

While the women dominated by a 128.5 points advantage, the Pirates men used itheir second state meet relay record to capture the 2018 crown in beating feisty Sierra by just 15.5 points.

"Everyone kept telling me, hey you got it, and I'm sitting there seeing Sierra in the standings right with us," said Orange Coast aquatics coach Anthony Iacopetti. "I was nervous all weekend, and it wasn't until we had a big score in the 100 freestyle that I felt we were finally in a position to win it."

Even after Hayden Hemmens won the 200-yard backstroke for OCC in event 32, Sierra had taken a brief 436-435 lead. In event 34, the Pirates came up large, scoring a monster 74 points in the 8-swimmer final, including the second through fifth places in order that lifted Orange Coast back in control.

"We were so strong in the sprint freestyles and this team worked very hard to be ready. As it turned out we needed all five of those relay wins."

The women's team won four of the five relays, but it was an easier recipe to the state title than the men's squad.

"We won all 18 swim events at the conference championships, so we knew what kind of talent we had with our women's team," said Iacopetti. "That last day, it just seemed like every race we had some one in the lead or near the lead. We were prepared to do our best in every event."

While the team titles belonged to Orange Coast, it was San Diego Mesa's Brandon Crabtree, who will go down in state swim history as one of the all-time greats. He became a two-time Men's Swimmer of the Year, also performing the feat in 2016, as he set his second state meet record of the meet with his triumph in the 100 freestyle (see capsules).

Orange Coast's Hayden Hemmens shared the Co-Swimmer of the Year with Crabtree by winning three events as well, the 200 and 500 freestyles and 200 backstroke. Mt. San Antonio's Ashley Tse was the Women's Swimmer of the Year by also winning three events, including the state record in the 200 breaststroke. Three women and two men earned two titles each and 18 different swimmers/divers accounted for the 30 individual crowns. 

In all, the meet produced five state meet records, which brings the count to 57 records smashed since the 2010 season. Orange Coast's men won its 19th state team crown while the women won their seventh.

Women Standings: 1. Orange Coast 522, 2. Santa Rosa 393.5, 3. Diablo Valley 353, 4. San Diego Mesa 306, 5. San Joaquin Delta 254, 7. Santa Barbara City 223, 8. Mt. San Antonio, 193, 9. Palomar 161, 10. Las Positas 150.

Men Standings: 1. Orange Coast 571.5, 2. Sierra 556, 3. Golden West 353, 4. Diablo Valley 320, 5. San Diego Mesa, 275, 6. Pasadena City 273, 7. Cuesta, 184, 8. Santa Monica, 182, 9. Riverside City 169, 10. Las Positas 137.

Complete Meet Results:

 See event-by-event capsules that follow:

Event 29: Women's 1,650 Freestyle
Champion: Madeline Wittkowske, San Joaquin Delta, 17:56.97
Wittkowske took the lead with 75 yards left from San Diego Mesa's Samantha Schmidt and prevented defending state champ Melissa Cienega from performing a triple gold in the freestyle as the Mustang won the mile swim. Schmidt settled for second at 17:58.44 and Cienega tried to catch up but took third in 17:59.55. She still finished as a double state champ in two straight seasons. Orange Coast's Cheyenne Morris was fourth at 18:02.95.

Event 30: Men's 1,650 Freestyle
Champion: Daniel Ilin, Sierra, 15:58.11
Ilin raced out to a lead in the first 25 and never looked back with a dominating performance, winning the men's mile swim by more than 17 seconds. Ilin breaks the 16-minute mark for Sierra's first men's gold of the meet. Matt Holt of Santa Monica placed second in 16:15.20 while Sacramento City's Matt Lemire, who for about 500 yards tried to stay with the speedy Ilin, placed third at 16:16.02. From the early first heat, Diablo Valley's Troy Fournier was fourth at 16:21.76.

Event 31: Women's 200 Backstroke
Champion: Lauren Weins, Orange Coast, 2:04.25

Weins trailed by as much as 2.25 seconds going into the final 25 yards, but somehow passed by San Diego Mesa's Julie Parsons to win an exciting backstroke title. Parsons took second at 2:04.93 with San Francisco's Sophia Greco placing third in 2:07.40.

Event 32: Men's 200 Backstroke
Champion: Hayden Hemmens, Orange Coast, 1:46.36

Hemmens would not be denied in picking up his third state title of the meet and beating defending state champ Pasadena's Samuel Jo in the process. Hemmens led from the get-go and posted a 2-second win over Jo (1:48.27). Aleksandr Siniy (Sierra) grabbed third in 1:51.62, just ahead of Diego Pabalan (Orange Coast) 1:51.71. "I kind of grew up swimming against Samuel when he was faster than me when we were younger," Hemmens said, "Winning three titles means a lot, and to win the backstroke against Jo  really was a special win because our team is more known for our freestyle swimming."

Event 33: Women's 100 Freestyle
Champion: Kennedy Hood, Orange Coast, 52.43
Hood led a trio of Pirates to the wall in just .23 ahead of teammate Lilli Lindgard and .48 in front of third-place Meghan Kluck (52.91). Kluck had led after the opening 50 with a speedy 24.99 first leg. Hood was a double champion having also a gold in the 50 freestyle.

Event 34: Men's 100 Freestyle
Champion: Brandon Crabtree, San Diego Mesa, 43.83—State Meet Record
Crabtree picked up state meet record No. 2 with his third title of the meet as he smashed a 9-year-old record in the 100 free by .19 of a second. Crabtree will go down in CCC swim history as one of the greatest ever with his 6-for-6 run in state gold medals in 2016 and 2018. Crabtree was followed by four Orange Coast swimers with Donny Hadden and Reece Hemmens tying for second at 44.91. Michaal Jones (45.06) and Dawson Sloan (45.37) were the next two Pirates at the wall. SD Mesa Coach Nathan Resch said, "It's remarkable how Brandon could come back after two years and perform at an even better level than he did in 2016. He worked so hard to return here. He won six titles in six events, that's just unheard of in state championships."

Event 35: Women's 200 Breaststroke
Champion: Ashley Tse, Mt. San Antonio, 2:17.50—State Meet Record

Tse capped her third title of the meet with a new state meet record in the longer breastroke, beating last year's record by 1.38 seconds. The Mountie set a wicked pace at 31.14 over the first 50 and by the time she headed into her last 50 it was a certainty that she would break the record. Santa Rosa's Taylor Sargis placed second at 2:21.81 and Orange Coast's Kylie McCormick was third in 2:25.57.

Event 36: Men's 200 Breaststroke
Champion: Bang Kai Chao, Diablo Valley, 2:02.35
Although Noah Scholar of Sierra took the early lead, Chao would pull ahead by the half-way mark and fought his way to the gold, just .57 of a second in front of DVC teammate Adam Fishbaugh (2:03.92) with Scholar taking third in 2:04.02.

Event 37: Women's 200 Butterfly
Champion: Sayeh Faridnia, West Valley, 2:08.25
Faridnia landed her second gold medal of the meet, leading from start to finish. Faridnia took second in the event last year but was determined to not have a letdown in the longer fly event. Sierra's Rory Nuuhiwa placed second (2:10.86) and Palomar's Jordann Heimback was third in 2:11 flat.

Event 38: Men's 200 Butterfly
Champion: Javier Bernal, Riverside City, 1:50.52
Bernal battled it out with Pasadena's Roman Rostomyan as the two traded leads, but it was Bernal who had just enough to edge his worthy opponent by .4 of a second for the longer fly title. Santa Monica's Colin Casey placed third at 1:51.32.

Event 39: Women's 400 Freestyle Relay
Champion: Orange Coast (Meghan Kluck, Lilli Lindgard, Cheyenne Morris, Kennedy Hood), 3:23.24
The Pirates won their fourth relay title of the meet, but it was far from easy with Santa Barbara City (second, 3:24.23) and Diablo Valley (third, 3:34.99) trying to chase them down. Hood, who won two individual titles, did her part to win with a strong final 50 in 27.23.

Event 40: Men's 400 Freestyle Relay
Champion—Orange Coast (Hayden Hemmens, Michael Jones, Reece Hemmens, Donny Hadden), 3:00.62—State Meet Record
It was appropriate that the OCC men's team used a state meet record to finish 5-for-5 in relay races in a rout to clinch the state team championship. Sierra, the team that stuck with the Pirates throughout the meet, was a distant second at 3:06.04 with Pasadena in third at 3:08.45. San Diego Mesa took fourth in 3:08.70. Hadden's anchor leg of 44.75 was all about breaking the state meet record held by OCC from nine years earlier of 3:01.21.


Women's Swimmer of the Year: Ashley Tse, Mt. San Antonio
Co-Men's Swimmers of the Year:
Brandon Crabtree, San Diego Mesa; Hayden Hemmens, Orange Coast 
Women's Coach of the Year: Anthony Iacopetti, Orange Coast
Men's Co-Coaches of the Year: Chris Breitbart, Sierra; Nathan Resch, San Diego Mesa
Women's Outstanding Performance of the Meet: Tse, 200 breaststroke state record
Men's Outstanding Perfomacne of the Meet: Crabtree, 100 butterfly state record
Women's Diver of the Year: Alejandra Gomez, Cypress, 1-meter and 3-meter champion (state meet record in 1-board)
Men's Diver of the Year: Josh Hamby, San Joaquin Delta, 1-meter and 3-meter champion 
Women's Diving Coach of the Year; Shane Butler, Cypress
Men's Diving Coach of the Year: Robert Wimberly, San Joaquin Delta