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SWIMMING: San Mateo's Chen, El Camino Girls Star at PAL Ocean Finals

Bearcat junior sets two more boys meet records; Alfajora and Lam help Colts defend team title.

San Mateo High’s Ronald Chen added to his quickly growing legacy as he broke two meet records at the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division swimming championships on Saturday afternoon at Westmoor High.

The first came in the 200-yard individual medley and the second in the 100 breaststroke.

Chen broke away in the 200 IM, finishing in 1 minute, 55:47 seconds to shatter the four-year-old record by seven seconds. The junior won the race by 14 seconds over Half Moon Bay’s Eoin Bloomer.

Later, Chen broke the 100 breaststroke record by over two seconds, winning in 59.56.

Chen, who set the meet’s 200 freestyle record last year, had already earned Central Coast Section qualifying times in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke prior to Saturday.

He added to that list as he stormed back in the anchor leg of the 200 freestyle relay as San Mateo finished with a winning time of 1:35.21 to make the CCS cut by 0.18 seconds. JJ Halet, Shadi Barhoumi and Tom McCall joined Chen on that team, the same foursome that won the 400 freestyle relay in 3:40.46.

“I was just focused on getting my team to CCS,” Chen said. “I saw them dive before me but I had no doubt in my mind that I would catch them.”

The CCS preliminaries are on Friday at the Santa Clara International Swim Center, and the finals are the next day.

The El Camino girls team defended its 2010 PAL Ocean meet title, totaling 284 points, 65 more than runner-up Hillsdale. San Mateo was third with 192 points, and Half Moon Bay fourth (165).

“We have a streak of winning PALs,” said El Camino’s Danica Alfajora, whose team also won the league’s dual meet championship the last two years. “It’s really important (for us).”

El Camino won seven of the 11 girls events. Rachel Lam and Alfajora were both double winners in individual events and swam on two winning relays.

The Colts, who already knew they were heading to CCS in the 200 medley relay, won that event in 1:59.07. El Camino later added a title in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:57.89. Claudia Lum and Morgan Smith joined Alfajora and Lam on both teams.

Alfajora won the 50 freestyle in 26.32. She also finished first in the 100 freestyle (57.23). Lam won the 500 freestyle (5:42.70) and the 100 breaststroke (1:13.13). And Smith won the 100 butterfly in 1:04.96.

The shorthanded Half Moon Bay boys team, which won the PAL Ocean dual meets title, managed one victory. Bloomer earned his way to CCS by taking the 100 backstroke in 58.07.

San Mateo’s Marissa Savoie scorched the field by winning the 200 IM by eight seconds (2:22.18). The senior also won the 100 backstroke in 1:02.35. She had already qualified for the section championships in both events.

Hillsdale’s girls 200 freestyle relay team of Lesley Chiang, Irene Palisoc, K Wilson and Rachel Rosas also reached CCS by finishing in 1:47:65, the Knights’ lone win of the afternoon.

South City recorded two individual championships. Natalie Kwong won the girls 200 freestyle in 2:12.45, and Matthew Kwong took the boys 500 freestyle (5:55.84).

Capuchino’s Anthony Blasko won the boys 200 freestyle in 2:05.17.

The San Mateo program racked up more victories than any other school, with the boys claiming six of the eight wins.

“If we get more boys, we have a shot to win league next year,” Chen said. “We have the talent, we just don’t have the numbers.”

Sophomore J.J. Halet, who will represent the Bearcats in the boys 100-yard freestyle at CCS, broke away from the pack in that event to post a winning mark of 50.85. He also narrowly grabbed victory in the 50 freestyle (23.07).

Westmoor (221 points) collected the boys team championship, topping Half Moon Bay by 40 points. San Mateo was third, one point in front of South City (150).

Westmoor’s team of Sean Moy, Victor Myint, Christopher Lee, Kimo Ma won the boys 200 medley relay in 1:47.87, a strong enough mark for CCS. Lee also took the boys 100 butterfly in 57.40.

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To see Patch's coverage of the PAL Bay Division championships, click . Burlingame's Naomi Thomas and Kawei Tan, Woodside's Alicia Grima and Menlo-Atherton's Kei Masuda all broke PAL Bay records. The Burlingame girls and M-A boys won team titles.

David Grimes May 15, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Great!!! Were any of the winning times personal bests? How do the personal bests from our local qualifiers stack up against the personal bests from the those they will be competing against at the next level? Are any of our local students favored in their events going forward?
Drew Himmelstein (Editor) May 16, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Back-to-back titles for the El Camino girls! Smooth swimming, ladies.

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