State

5 swimmers named All-Americans

With a collegiate career and perhaps a shot to swim at the 2012 Olympic Games ahead of him, David LaFlamme was selected Tuesday as one of the nation's top prep swimmers.

LaFlamme, a Beyer High graduate, was recognized as an All-American in two events by the National Interscholastic Swim Association.

One of five Stanislaus District swimmers to receive All-American status, LaFlamme is the only swimmer to earn the distinction for two races.

His top time of 1 minute, 38.04 seconds in the 200 free ranked him No. 5 in California and No. 18 in the nation, while his time of 48.20 in the 100 butterfly was No. 5 in the state and No. 12 in the nation.

LaFlamme was The Bee's two-time boys Swimmer of the Year -- he won three Sac-Joaquin Section titles the last two years -- and will swim for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

The district's other four All-American swimmers should be familiar names, as well.

Downey grad Kassy Bispo, who spent her first few years swimming in sister Karlee's shadow, developed a reputation of her own this spring. She was named All-American in the 100 breast, with a time of 1:04.17 that was 14th in the state and 71st in the nation.

While Karlee just finished her freshman year at the University of Texas -- she set a school record in the 100 free while finishing second at the NCAA Championships -- Kassy will head to BYU in the fall to swim for the Cougars.

"All through high school, I had received All-American consideration because of my times, but it was never a lock that I would make it," said Bispo, who nevertheless earned the honor each of the last three years when the qualifying time was determined. "This time, though, it's an automatic and that feels great.

"This season was a big step for me because my goal was to lower my time in the breast, and I was able to accomplish that. I leave for BYU August 25, and we start swimming in the fall. Of course I'll swim the 100, but I think they'll also get me into the 200 breast and the 200 (individual medley), and maybe the spring freestyle."

R.J. Barton, a teammate of Kassy's at Downey, was honored for his time of 1:53.29 in the 200 medley. His performance was No. 18 in California and No. 114 in the nation.

Barton is off to the University of the Pacific in the fall, where he will be swimming alongside his sister, Ellen.

Johansen's Brooke Fuller is the only non-senior to earn All-American honors. The junior had a top time of 51.71 in the 100 free, 18th in the state and 114th in the nation.

The Bee's girls Swimmer of the Year, Fuller also is one of the area's top water polo players.

While those four expect to remain swimming competitively for years to come, Golden Valley grad Justin Carter is climbing out of the pool.

A two-time all-district performer, Carter's time of 51.70 in the 100 back was 14th in California, 94th in the nation.

Carter's career took a hit in June 2008: He suffered a separated shoulder after colliding with a teammate in the pool.He was training for the 2008 Olympic trials, but the injury forced him out of the pool.

Carter was able to swim his senior year, but it was clear the injury had taken some of his strength. Unable to swim at full speed, Carter made the decision to focus on academics at UC Santa Barbara.

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