ATWATER — The Speedos change but the results stay the same for the Merced High swim team.
The Bears boys and girls continued their dominance of the Central California Conference by winning the conference championships on Thursday afternoon at Buhach Colony. The boys wrapped up their sixth consecutive title with 555 points. Atwater finished second with 419.
For the girls, it was their fifth in a row, as they edged Pitman 552-542.
“It’s pretty important to us,” said Merced junior Josh Fluetsch, who led the way with wins in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle “We lost a lot of big swimmers from last year. To keep the streak going feels good.”
Fluetsch was one of the stars of the meet. His time in the 200 (1 minute, 44.08 seconds) was the second fastest time in CCC meet history. He then broke the 500 record – set by Turlock’s Jesse Lanzon in 1996 – with a time of 4:42.36.
“I’m delighted with my time,” Fluetsch said. “I had been going 1:47 (in the 200) most of the season. To go 3 seconds faster feels good. We have a four-week break until sections. It’ll give me a chance to work hard for three weeks and then taper the last week. Hopefully I can improve my time by another 3 seconds.”
Fluetsch wasn’t the only swimmer to attack the record book.
Golden Valley senior Connor Hoppe broke his own record in the 100 breaststroke by touching the wall in 55.68.
How fast was Hoppe’s time?
Merced’s Isaac Santana finished second with a time of 1:00.86, which is the seventh fastest time in the meet’s history. It was still over 5 seconds off of Hoppe’s time.
Hoppe, who is headed to Cal on a swimming scholarship, also won the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.39, which was the second fastest time in meet history.
Hoppe was unsure if he broke the record in the breaststroke while he was still in the pool.
“At first I couldn’t see the time because the tarps were blocking the scoreboard,” he said. “I found out later and I was pleased. I’m happy I was faster than I was on Saturday (at the Stanislaus County Championships). As long as I keep getting faster without shaving or tapering, but there’s still a lot of work I need to get done before sections.”
Hoppe now owns three of the top 10 fastest times in the breaststroke in CCC meet history.
“When you think about it, it’s pretty cool,” Hoppe said. “Leaving a legacy is pretty sweet. It’s nice that I was able to do that.”
Buhach Colony freshman Gwynne McBride was impressive in winning the 200 and 500 freestyle events with times of 2:00.92 and 5:25.77, respectively.
Golden Valley’s Patrick Koenig and Merced’s Matt Cagle had a couple close battles in the 100 butterfly and backstroke.
Koenig edged Cagle in the butterfly, winning 53.87 to 54.29.
Cagle got his revenge in the backstroke, defeating Koenig 55.41 to 55.45.
The Merced girls were able to edge Pitman with the help of double-winners Mireya Ortega (200 IM and 100 breaststroke) and Jande Monteon (50 free and 100 free).
Enochs 2, Downey 0, at Enochs – Elisa Perez tossed a shutout and the Eagles kept pace with Gregori in the race for the Modesto Metro Conference title.
Enochs, the two-time defending MMC champions, got a sacrifice fly from Nohemi Mariscal and an RBI single from Alexis Guerra.
After participating in next week’s NorCal Classic in Tracy, the Eagles will host Modesto – just a game back in the loss column – on April 29 and then travel across town to play Gregori in what could be a showdown for the conference crown.
Enochs 8, Davis 1, at Davis – The Eagles cruised to an MMC victory, putting the finishing touches on an undefeated league campaign – the first in school history.
The Eagles, who clinched the outright league title last Thursday against Gregori, will now turn their attention to the conference tournament, which gets underway with the singles tournament April 29 at Modesto Junior College. The doubles tournament begins May 1, also at MJC.
“My top three players have been nails all year,” said Enochs coach Niles Carlin, referring to reigning MMC champ Jordan Hayahsi, Derek Breshears and undefeated freshman Sohun Panchal. “We get a really good start to our matches when those guys are on the court.”
Hayashi beat Rudy Cuadra 6-1, 6-0, while Breshears and Panchal both won their matches 6-0, 6-0.
“We have really good team depth and that’s what has allowed us to go undefeated this year,” said Carlin. “We have a lot of players who can beat each other on any given day.”
Bee staff contributed to this report.