Golden Valley's Hoppe beaks Sac-Joaquin Section's 100 breaststroke record

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comMay 11, 2013 

— It pays to listen to mom.

Following his mother's advice, Golden Valley's Connor Hoppe put off shaving down until after Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section swimming trials.

"It gives you that mental edge going into the finals," Hoppe said.

The sleeker Hoppe swam his way into the section record books on Saturday in the finals of the section meet at Tokay High, winning the 100-yard breaststroke by drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd as his time of 54.81 seconds went up on the scoreboard.

Hoppe was soon surrounded by friends and family after emerging from the pool.

"It's awesome," said the Golden Valley junior, who also finished second in the 50 freestyle at 21.21. "God has blessed me and I'm just thankful I can swim fast. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'll take that time."

Hoppe came into the finals seeded second after his qualifying time of 57.04. He took the lead early and steadily pulled away from the rest of the field. Davis-Yolo's Jonathan Pun finished a distant second with a time of 56.73.

Hoppe broke the record of 55.74 shared by a pair of Davis-Yolo swimmers in Keenan Newman (2002) and Matt Whittle (2012).

"I've been training pretty hard," Hoppe said. "The record was one of my goals. After I swam a 56.4 at the (Central California Conference) meet I realized I could do it. I'm really glad I did."

It was a day of mixed emotions for Pitman's Hailee Baldwin. The Pride senior posted her best times in the 200 individual medley (2:08.09) and 100 breaststroke (1:03.95) to finish seventh and third, respectively.

"I posted my best times, you can't be happier than that," Baldwin said. "It's a pretty special day. I've worked hard and I came out and did my best. It's my last high school meet. I'm happy and sad at the same time."

While Baldwin's prep career is coming to an end, Gregori junior Katelin Britton got her first taste of swimming a section meet at the varsity level.

Britton finished 14th in the 200 freestyle (1:54.86) and seventh in the 100 freestyle (52.73).

"I could definitely tell I moved up a level," Britton said. "The girls this year were a lot faster. It gives me motivation to work harder. Every coach I've had has said I'm a hard worker. This will give me motivation to keep working."

Other notable finishes include Merced's Brett Fogelberg, who finished third in the 50 freestyle for the second straight year with a time of 21.30. Fogelberg also finished eighth in the 100 freestyle. Bears teammate Josh Fluetsch set a school record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:43.75, which was good for 11th place. Fluetsch also finished fifth in the 500 (4:40.23).

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