Local swimmers fast in USA Sectional meet

Four swimmers with ties to the Stanislaus District, including Downey High senior Tim Richard, qualified for the finals of USA Swimming/Speedo Sectionals in Clovis.

Richard, academically ineligible to swim last spring, was fifth in the 200-meter individual medley (2:07.21), eighth in the 100 breast (1:05.25) and 19th in the 200 breast (2:23.43). Swimming for Ripon Aquatics, his time in the 200 IM would have qualified for the 2008 Olympics Trials. His performance caught the attention of college recruiters, but Richard needs to improve his grades to earn a scholarship.

"I'm focusing on academics now," said Richard, who took summer school in a bid to be eligible for the upcoming water polo season. "I didn't want to be in a classroom this summer, but I knew I had to make up for last year's mistakes.

"I let things go early in the school year and tried to make up for it late in the year. I realize I need to be working hard from the start of the year."

Kate Davey, also with Ripon Aquatics, was second in the 200 fly (2:15.96), third in the 100 fly (1:01.57), eighth in the 400 IM (4:59.45) and 17th in the 200 IM (2:24.44) in last weekend's event.

Former Pitman High star Lesley Young, with Central Valley Aquatics, was fourth in the 100 breast (1:12.82) and fifth in the 200 breast (2:36.75).

Former Downey standout Brian Haile, now swimming with Riverside Aquatics, was first in the 100 breast (1:02.59) — a time that would have earned him a berth in th 2008 Olympic Trials. The meet was at the Clovis North Swim Complex, which boasts two 50-meter pools, and featured 600 swimmers from California and Nevada competing for 24 spots in the finals of each event.

District swimmers who also participated but did not make the finals included David LaFlamme, Natalie Heihn, Daniel Heihn, and R.J. Barton from Ripon Aquatics, and Adam Rice, Kassy Bispo, Terrance Coughran, Brooke Fuller and Brad Fuller from Modesto Pirate Aquatics.

These swimmers qualified and are expected to swim at the 18-and-under Junior Nationals in Federal Way, Wash., Aug. 8-14: Davey, Richard and LaFlamme. Former Downey standout Kassy Bispo also qualified, but will instead prepare for her freshman year at BYU.

"There will be college freshman and the best high school swimmers from around the country," said Richard, who will swim an ambitious five races. "It's going to be tiring, but I want to push myself and see how I do when I'm tired.

"There will be times later on when I'm tired and have to swim, so I want to be prepared when the time comes."