Local swimmers shine at state championships

Abbey Liao/Special to the Town Crier
The St. Francis High girls 400 free relay team – clockwise, from top left, Brooke Schaffer, Sydney Harris, Nicole Oliva and Audrey Holden – placed second at CCS and the state meet.

Los Altos High’s Danielle Carter and St. Francis High’s Brooke Schaffer not only competed in the state swimming and diving championships for the fourth year in a row – they also returned from last weekend’s meet with medals in hand.

Carter placed second in the girls 100-yard backstroke, while fellow Los Altos resident Schaffer took second in the 50 and 100 freestyles, plus anchored a pair of relay teams that finished in the top three.

“I was really happy with it,” Schaffer said of her showing at the meet, held Friday and Saturday at Clovis West High. “I was especially impressed with the relays; we haven’t placed that high in state before.”

The 400 free relay team – which also featured Nicole Oliva, Audrey Holden and Sydney Harris – placed second in a school-record time of 3 minutes, 22.31 seconds. Schaffer’s 200 free relay team that included Oliva, Harris and Megan LaCroix set a school record with a third-place time of 1:33.93.

“We dropped 1.5 seconds from our CCS time,” Schaffer said. “We all get super hyped for the relays – they’re the most fun.”

Schaffer set a personal record in the 50 free (22.76) and though she also finished second in the 100 free, the UCLA-bound senior said she was “a little disappointed” with her performance in that race.

Carter wasn’t thrilled with her effort in the other race she participated in Saturday; she placed 12th in the B Final of the 100 butterfly with a 55.50.

“My fly was OK,” the Cal-bound senior said. “I took in water in the last 25 (yards) and had to suck it up and not breathe.”

Carter’s 100 back wasn’t without obstacles, either.

“I’m one of the fastest underwater in that race, not to brag, and I knew I could get out ahead of everybody – and that part was good,” Carter said. “But I got stuck on the lane line in the last 25 (yards). In the back, you can’t really see – you’re looking up and have to practice for it by swimming in a straight line – and I obviously haven’t perfected that yet.”

Yet despite her entanglement with the lane line, Carter swam a solid 54.67.

“I was seeded second and felt pretty comfortable going in,” she said. “I knew I could succeed in that race.”

St. Francis junior Oliva succeeded as well. She placed third in the 500 free (4:46.03) and seventh in the 200 free (1:48.20), breaking her own school record in the latter.

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