LOS ANGELES — Tim Richard received handshakes, high-fives and hugs from his friends and teammates Saturday night after he finished one of the best-ever performances by a Modesto Junior College swimmer.
Richard quickly took charge and won the 200-yard breaststroke for his third victory at the State Community College Swimming and Diving Championships. It was no surprise why Richard, the 6-foot-6 graduate of Downey High, was named the Male Swimmer of the Meet.
"I was surprised by the times I had, but I worked very hard for this," he said. "I have a coach (Kurt Olson) who pushed me through."
The performance by Richard reminded some observers of the three state victories by MJC's Meghan Devlin in 2010, but one of Devlin's victories came in the 200 freestyle relay.
Richard won three individual events, not unlike John Monnich's trio of wins (50 free, 100 free, 200 free) at State in 1987. The Pirates' Caitlin DeNise doubled in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly in 2011.
The latest MJC star won during each night of the meet at East Los Angeles College Swim Stadium. The routine didn't change an attention-getting performance during the morning preliminaries, followed by victory later.
He opened on Thursday night with a win in the 200 IM (1:49.04) and followed it the next night with another victory in the 100 breaststroke (55.58).
Richard ended with what Olson called his best performance of the week. He quickly took charge in the 200 breaststroke and won with a 2:00.6, breaking Bryan Haile's school-record 2:01.18, far ahead of runner-up Connor Greene of Merced.
He also lowered the MJC record in the 200 IM, giving him five school records in the last week.
"It (his performance Saturday night) was a stamp on a very successful campaign for Tim ... and he deserves every second of it," Olson said. "The time and training costs of this sport are high and it's good to see him bask in the rewards."
Richard began his taper the gradual slowdown of workouts before the Big 8 last week and finished it just before the trip to L.A. Rather than peaking a week early, he peaked just right.
"I was a little on edge going into the week, but after I started swimming, I just let everything happen," he said. "I'm super-happy with the way I swam."