Falcons race into states

After a record-breaking first-place win at the CIF San Diego Section level, 10 members of the TPHS swim and dive teams advanced to the CIF Swimming and Diving Championships in Clovis, California from May 11 to 13.

At the San Diego Section CIF championships, TPHS swim and dive won first place for their men’s team and third place for their women’s team. The times made at both this section-level championship and at the previous week’s League Finals qualified 11 TPHS swimmers, from both boys and girls teams, to advance to the statewide CIF championship.

On May 11, Ezra Purcell (12) competed in the Boys Diving Finals, placing seventh in the state.

The following day, preliminary rounds for all swim competitions took place for both boys’ and girls’ athlete groups. Times made in individual and relay races allowed the TPHS Boys Swim and Dive team to finish seventh in the state.

This year’s success at the CIF section level marks the Boy’s Swim and Dive team’s eighth consecutive first-place CIF San Diego section win.

“It’s been a really dominant run and the boys are going to win again next year,” Richard Contreras, Head Coach for varsity swim and dive, said. “And the girls last year were fourth. This year, we [placed] third, just a whisker or two away from second.”

Members of the girl’s swim and dive team, including Rachel Yang (11), Katarina Whitefield (9) and Aya Fergueson (9) advanced to states after placing first in the 200 Freestyle race at the CIF San Diego section championships.

“We moved from 17th to eighth place [for the 200 Free at states], so I’m really happy about that,” Yang said.

In the finals on May 13, the girls’ team raced in the 200 Freestyle, advancing from eighth to finish at sixth in the state.

In addition to this sixth-place ranking, Yang ended at 16th place in her 50 Freestyle race at the state finals.

Disrupted by the effects of the pandemic, the girls’ swim team has struggled in the past few years to regain their status, especially in comparison to their 2019 first-place win at CIF states, which a win that marked the end of their 11-year win streak at the section level.

“Next year, we should probably regain [the CIF San Diego section title],” Contreras said.

The boys’ team saw their own share of unexpected wins.

“We had a great 200 medley relay [at the section level],” varsity swimmer Elek Zettle (11) said. “It was the first event of the meet, and energies were really high at that point. We got second to CCA in that event last year, so we really wanted to get the title back.”

The relay team went farther than this, increasing their joint speed enough to break the previous CIF section record for San Diego.

“And then at states, we broke it again,” Zettle said.

These relays gave freshman swimmers a chance to compete at the state level alongside more experienced swimmers, such as Lukas Stein (9), who stepped in to race alongside Zettle in the 200 medley relay at states when one swimmer couldn’t attend.

“We were all freaking out a little bit because we weren’t sure who was going to swim that leg. But [Stein] stepped up and he really pulled it. He did his part and helped us break the section record again,” Zettle said. “So I’m just so excited for the next couple of seasons because he’s only a freshman.”

Kaito Kermabon, varsity captain of swim and dive, shares Contreras’s and Zettle’s excitement for the team in the upcoming season.

“Half the people that went to CIF states, or at least it feels like it, were freshmen,” Kermabon said. “So it’ll be very good to see how Torrey Pines does in the next three years.”

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