Valentine's Day left the Modesto Junior College women's swim team a little deflated.
After losing to Sierra College in a dual meet Feb. 14, the Pirates questioned whether they were good enough to consider themselves among the state's best.
Finishing runner-up to Sierra at last weekend's 23-team Mount SAC Invitational restored their confidence.
Oakdale's Jen Cadmus had a solid weekend, placing second in three individual events (50 breast, 50 free and 100 fly) and third in another while helping three relay teams to top-5 finishes.
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"It rejuvenated their spirits a little bit," coach Kurt Olson said. "Jen is a great leadoff anchor in the relays. She gets a big head start and the team responds to that. You don't want to be the one who loses the lead."
Cadmus said she was tired, but had a good time swimming in 10 events. She returned to the area after a year at Towson University in Maryland, where she said she lost some of her passion for the water.
"The experience was hard on me emotionally," Cadmus said. "I started swimming with MJC in the summer and that made me love the sport again. I wanted to keep that going."
Cadmus set an MJC record in her first meet, the Ohlone Sprint Pentathlon on Feb. 2, winning the 100 freestyle in 53.77 seconds. That mark broke the time set in 1984 by Ann Cornell, now the swim coach at Pitman High.
Olson said Cadmus is a joy to have around because she's able to place in distance and sprint events and is willing to swim in events that aren't her strongest in order to win team points.
"I'm just having fun," Cadmus said. "I feel like I'm swimming so much better. When the whole team is doing well, that's a lot of motivation for me to swim well."
Another boost comes from the diving team, which fields five women, and gives the Pirates valuable team points. That means a lot, Olson said, when six of the state's top 10 teams came from the Big 8 Conference last season.
Modesto's biggest meet of the season is April 3 when defending state champion Diablo Valley comes to MJC.
SWIMMERS ELSEWHERE — East Union graduate Daniel Heihn led the Cal Baptist men to first place in the NAIA Championships in San Antonio from Feb. 28-March 1. He was third in the 200 fly (1:52.83) and sixth in the 100 fly (51.39). ...
Former Pitman High star Lesley Young helped the Wyoming women finish fourth at the Mountain West Championships in Oklahoma City on March 1. Young was second in the 100 breast (2:05.14) in which she qualified for the NCAA Championships, second in the 200 breast (2:19.34) and made the "B" cut in the 200 IM by finishing 10th (2:05.14).
MAKING MOVES — Former Beyer and Modesto JC football player Seth McDaniels leaves Monday for Miami, where he will attend Florida International University as a hospitality management major. He said the Golden Panthers coaches are interested in him walking on, but McDaniels is undecided about playing. ...
Former Turlock and MJC basketball player Benny Koochoie said things didn't work out for him at Point Loma Nazarene, and has enrolled at Cal State Stanislaus. Koochoie has been working out with the team and plans to give the Warriors a boost in the fall. ...
Former Ceres and MJC basketball player Krystal Brown also has enrolled at Stanislaus after a semester at San Francisco State, where she wasn't getting much playing time. She's not sure she'll play again.