A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

SRJC swim & dive enter ‘championship mode’ at Hawk Invite

Courtesy of Guy Mohr
Andrew Morris jumping off the starting block in the 100 Back.

The Santa Rosa Junior College swim and dive team used the Hawk Invite on March 31 and April 1 as a testing ground in anticipation of the Big 8 Conference and State Championship.

The sunny weather at Livermore was a welcome sight to the Bear Cubs, who had been plagued by harsh weather conditions all season long. “It set us up for some really good performances,” head coach Jill McCormick said. 

The women placed first three times. Ruby Gonzalez led the competition in both the 200 freestyle (2:00.39) and 100 freestyle (53.26) and placed third in the 50 freestyle (25.27). Maia Chase placed first in the 1 M Diving with a score of 193.30 and second in the 3 M Diving with a score of 180.85. Both Lila Clarkson and Ashley Simmons ranked second respectively in the 50 butterfly (29.62) and the 200 breaststroke (2:41.99).

The men collected four first-place finishes. Andrew Morris beat his previous personal best in the 200 backstroke (1:55.74) along with winning the 100 backstroke (52.62) and placed third in the 100 freestyle (47.55). Juan Madrigal managed to place first in the 50 butterfly (23.80) and second in the 100 butterfly (52.47). Greyson McCaw placed first in the 500 freestyle, where he had a personal best performance (4:53.16). 

With both the Big 8 conference and state championship on the horizon, McCormick said the coaching staff was concerned with the strategy needed to put forth the best lineup for the upcoming competitions. “If we were trying to win the Hawk Invite, our lineup would look totally different than it was,” McCormick said. “We were definitely tweaking some things and putting some people in different events at the Hawk Invite knowing that they were going to be swimming tired.” 

The Big 8 conference takes place from April 20-22 at San Joaquin Delta College and is followed by the CCCAA state championship from May 4 to 6 at East LA College, Monterey Park in Los Angeles. 

“The priority right now is setting up each individual to peak and have their best performance,” McCormick said. “We’re in championship mode.” 

To qualify for events at the state championship, swimmers and divers must place among the 16 best state wide times in their respective competition. McCormick underlined Stassi Holzhauer, Gonzalez and Morris as ranking high at the State level. 

The SRJC swim and dive team has a rich history of performing well at both the state and conference level. “Sierra and Diablo Valley College have been our two biggest rivals in the past 20 years,” McCormick said. “I can’t tell you how many times those three teams, including us, have been in the mix trying to duke it out.”

Morris prioritized finishing strong against top tier competition. “There’s a couple dudes that are pretty fast,” Morris said. “If you’re relaxed you will be able to perform better because you aren’t in your head. You can still break the times that you want and have a good time with your teammates while it lasts.”

The SRJC swim and dive team will partake in the Sprint Meet & Shoot Out on Friday at American River College in Sacramento and at the Chabot Invitational on Saturday at Chabot College in Hayward in preparation for the final stretch of the season. “These races are really accessible for everybody and it just has people do things they don’t normally do,” McCormick said. “They’ve got music going. It’s a good environment.

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About the Contributor
Roland Petty
Roland Petty, Reporter
Roland Petty is in his third semester at SRJC. His major is political science and he is planning on transferring to San Francisco State in fall 2023. He spends his time-off reading, hiking and playing basketball.

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