Village News Reporter
The CIF state swim meet May 12-14 at Clovis West High School in Clovis included senior Brock Bushnell competing in two individual events and also being part of two Fallbrook High School freestyle relay teams which had qualified for the state meet.
Bushnell, who graduated from Oasis High School in June and swam for Fallbrook High School under the CIF San Diego Section's Multi-School Teams Status policy which allows athletes from certain schools to compete for a specified other team, was in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle races. The quartet of senior Doug Pearce, junior Ian Ritchie, senior Kai Maestas, and Bushnell swam the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Bill Richardson is Fallbrook’s boys swim coach and Sean Redmond is the Warriors’ girls swim coach, but Richardson is an on-campus coach who had AP testing that Friday when the preliminaries were contested so Redmond accompanied the team to Clovis.
“This was the largest one ever,” Redmond said of the state meet. “There were over 950 swimmers and about 300 teams there.”
The first CIF state swim meet was in 2015; Fallbrook’s Bobby Guerra closed out his senior year by winning the 500-yard freestyle race and finishing third in the 200-yard freestyle. Joseph Greenwood dove for Fallbrook in the state meet both in 2017 and 2018. The swimmers, divers, or relay teams in each event with the four best marks for both Division I and Division II combined at the San Diego Section meet qualify for the state meet.
Bushnell and Del Norte sophomore Jacob Chu both had 50-yard freestyle times of 21.14 seconds at the section finals May 7 at Granite Hills High School to share the Division I championship in that event. Four Division II swimmers had faster times, which gave Bushnell alternate status and eventually gave him a lane in the preliminaries when three of the four Division II qualifiers opted not to make the trip to Clovis.
A San Diego Section finals time of 46.54 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle gave Bushnell third among Division I swimmers and fifth overall. The two faster Division II swimmers scratched out of the state meet, so Bushnell also competed in that event.
Bushnell, Ritchie, Maestas, and Pearce had a 200-yard freestyle relay time of 1:27.03 in the San Diego Section championship race, which was the third-fastest among Division I schools and the fifth-fastest overall. Two of the four faster schools withdrew from the state meet.
Fallbrook was also third for Division I and fifth overall in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the section finals and advanced to the state meet when Bishop’s chose not to participate.
The state meet diving competition took place May 12, the swim preliminaries heats were contested May 13, and the finals occurred May 14. The top eight times from each preliminaries event were worth lanes in the “A” final while the next eight times earned participation in the “B” final. Fallbrook participated in the preliminaries only.
The boys 50-yard freestyle preliminary heats had 43 swimmers. Bushnell swam his preliminaries race in 21.17 seconds for 31st place. Bushnell was one of 39 swimmers in the 100-yard freestyle, and his preliminaries time of 46.82 seconds shared 30th place.
“I thought it was great. I thought he did well for his first time swimming at that high a level meet,” Redmond said.
Two of the 38 boys 200-yard freestyle relay teams were disqualified for starting a relay leg too soon. Pearce, Maestas, Ritchie, and Bushnell were 34th among the eligible teams with a time of 1:28.66. In the CIF section finals, their time of 1:27.03 set a school record, but that time placed Novato High School 23rd in the state preliminaries.
Pearce, Maestas, Ritchie, and Bushnell placed 35th among the 38 400-yard freestyle preliminaries teams with a time of 3:15.98. The school record of 3:12.23 they set in the section finals would have placed 29th.
The state meet included two national high school records being set.
“To be one of the top 40 in the state and be able to participate I think was exciting for them to be able to do that,” Redmond said.