IN THE POOL: Records are meant to be broken, sure, but they're not meant to be blown out of the water. Yet, that's exactly what Golden Valley's Connor Hoppe did in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Sac-Joaquin Section finals May 11 in Lodi.
"Yeah, kinda. I guess," said Hoppe, too humble to come out and just say what the entire section knows that he absolutely dominated his competition at the section meet. Hoppe broke a record, one that had stood for more than a decade, by an incredible .93 seconds, touching the wall in 54.81. Hoppe also finished second in the 50 freestyle with a personal best 21.21.
"I've not seen a record broken like that," says GV coach Bill Gossett, whose been coaching for 25 years. "It's very rare.
Hoppe has qualified for the Junior National Swimming Championships in Irvine Aug. 5-9.
OUT OF THE POOL: As he enters the final summer vacation of his high school days if you call swimming 6,000 to 7,000 yards a day a vacation Hoppe has yet to feel the true crunch of college recruitment. But it's coming. And, with his grades, no school will be out of play.
"It's 4.24," says Hoppe, almost apologetically, when pressed for his grade-point average. "But it should go up next year I'm taking five (advanced placement) classes."
LOOKING AHEAD: At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, with an 80-inch wingspan Michael Phelps' highly touted wingspan is 79 inches Hoppe has the prototypical swimmer's physique. He finished last season at 57.93 in the 100 breast, but didn't crack the top 100 nationally. This year, he finished with the eighth fastest time in the nation. His primary goal for next season: The national record of 53.39 set last month by Campolindo (Moraga) senior Steven Stumph. It's a lofty goal, especially when you consider three swimmers currently ranked ahead of Hoppe will return next year.
"It's something I think about all the time, actually," said Hoppe. "That's one of our goals for next year, to break the national record. It kinda motivates me to get faster and work a little harder."
QUOTABLE: "With Connor, it's almost like being a spectator 'What's he going to do next?' I got so caught up watching him at the section meet that I forgot to take splits. I had to ask another coach what Connor's splits were." Bill Gossett, Golden Valley swim coach