The talent has been there for a while, coach Brent Bohlender says, but the difference this season is the confidence that Brooke Fuller exudes when she hops into the swimming pool.
"Brooke has been swimming for a number of years, but has only recently come to develop a self-confidence and maturity that allows her to have the confidence needed to succeed in any race," Bohlender said. "This confidence has been building over the past couple of years. I would expect her to improve her times consistently as she approaches the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships in May."
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Fuller was the class of the pool at the County Swim Championships, swimming to victories in the 100 and 200 free. She broke her school record in the 200 and fell a tenth of a second short of setting a school mark in the 100, as well.
There was no chance David Laflamme would sneak up on his rivals this year, not after he won two events -- the 100 fly and 200 free -- at last year's Sac-Joaquin Section Meet.
Those wins created high expectations this year, and Laflamme hasn't disappointed. He set two meet records while swimming to wins in the 100 fly (49.07 seconds) and 100 back (50.66) at the County Swim Championships.
"David ... is talented in all strokes," coach Jana Lee said. "Lots of hard work has paid off for him. He is improving each year."
Laflamme's goal is to pick up two more wins at this year's section meet, Lee said. She pointed out that Laflamme's times are "right where they should be" at this point of the season.
"David is by far the best swimmer in Northern California," Lee said.
It's not as if Amber Bond was slacking off during track; after all, she's one of the area's top sprinters. But the junior added more duties last year by adding the pole vault to her sprints.
"Amber is a junior and sprinting is definitely her strong point," said coach Shellie Freres, pointing out that Bond is the defending Western Athletic Conference champ in the 100 and 200. "She's qualified for the Masters Meet of Champions in the 100 for the past two seasons and was part of the WAC record-holding (400-meter) relay team."
Bond is able to capitalize on her speed in the pole vault, making quick dashes down the runway before planting the pole and soaring high. She's been the Tigers' top vaulter almost from the day she picked up the pole last spring. Bond also has the time to carry a 4.2 GPA in addition to track.
There's no questioning Eddie Martin's commitment to his team: He left Disneyland a day early so he could compete with the Indians at last weekend's Hughson Invitational.
"Eddie has been very important to our track team. He has improved as an athlete and as a leader," coach Jorge Velasco said. "He has taken the leadership role and is a person who everyone looks up to. He does what is expected of him and this has been shown by the success he has had this year."
Martin was at his best at the Hughson meet, winning three individual events -- the 100, 200 and 400 meters -- and running the anchor leg on the Indians' second-place 400 relay team.
"I see Eddie challenging in the Masters (Meet)," Velasco said. "It is great coaching an athlete who wants to be coached and will give everything."