LODI — It pays to listen to mom.
Following his mother's advice, Golden Valley's Connor Hoppe put off shaving until after Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section swimming trials.
"It gives you that mental edge going into the finals," Hoppe said.
The sleeker Hoppe swam his way into the section record books on Saturday in the finals of the section meet at Tokay High, winning the 100-yard breaststroke and drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd as his time of 54.81 seconds went up on the scoreboard.
Hoppe was soon surrounded by friends and family after emerging from the pool.
"It's awesome," said the Golden Valley junior, who also finished second in the 50 freestyle at 21.21. "God has blessed me and I'm just thankful I can swim fast. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'll take that time."
Hoppe came into the finals seeded second after his qualifying time of 57.04. He took the lead early and steadily pulled away from the rest of the field. Davis' Jonathan Pun finished a distant second with a time of 56.73.
Hoppe broke the record shared by a pair of Davis swimmers in Keenan Newman (2002) and Matt Whittle (2012).
"I've been training pretty hard," Hoppe said. "The record was one of my goals. After I swam a 56.4 at the (Central California Conference) meet I realized I could do it. I'm really glad I did."
Merced's Brett Fogelberg raced against Hoppe in the 50 freestyle and the Bears senior came in third at 21.30. Fogelberg also finished eighth in the 100 freestyle (47.57). Merced's Isaac Santana finished eighth in the breaststroke with a time of 1:00.68.
Bears teammate Josh Fluetsch started his day by breaking a school record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:43.74, which was good for an 11th-place finish. The Merced sophomore added a fifth-place finish in the 500 freestyle (4:40.23).
The Merced school record was held by Bart Frey, who is a brother by marriage to Fluetsch's uncle.
"I thought about the record ever since I swam a 1:45.2 at the league championship," Fluetsch said. "I was 0.4 off of the record in trials, so I was going for it today and I got it. I have bragging rights on (Frey) now."
Buhach Colony's Noelle Farrar saw her high school career come to an end with two top-16 finishes. Farrar finished 15th in the 100 freestyle (53.96), then placed 10th in the 100 backstroke (1:01.05).
"That was my second fastest time in the backstroke so I'll take that," said Farrar, who will swim at Cal State East Bay next year. "It's so sad. The last four years went by so fast. This is it for my high school career, but it was a good way to wrap things up."