Golden Valley’s Connor Hoppe set a national public-school record in the 100-yard breaststroke and cemented his status as one of the best swimmers ever in The Bee’s Stanislaus District. For his efforts, Hoppe has been named the 2014 Boys Swimmer of the Year, the second straight season he’s taken the honor.
IN THE POOL: Hoppe’s national-record hopes were nearly dashed when he was ruled ineligible for the Sac-Joaquin Section meet after it was learned he’d swum for his club team after the Feb. 10, 2014, deadline. The section’s executive committee overruled the decision and Hoppe was allowed to swim. He broke the public-school mark of 53.24 seconds in the 100 breast, set by Andrew Seliskar of Alexandria, Va., with his time of 53.06. However, he fell short of the overall record (52.92) held by Jacob Molacek of Omaha, Neb., who attends Creighton Prep, a private school.
Hoppe woke up the morning of the finals with a sore throat and not feeling 100 percent, but he didn’t use it as an excuse.
“I took a couple of ibuprofen and I was fine,” he said.
OUT OF THE POOL: The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Hoppe is not out of the water often, but when he is he enjoys weightlifting. How’s this for strong? Hoppe can incline bench press 225 pounds 15 times. To put that into perspective, the Super Bowl champ Seattle Seahawks’ fourth-round draft pick, Cassius Marsh out of UCLA, can flat bench 225 pound 14 times. Generally, athletes can handle more weight and reps on the flat bench than on the incline bench. That means Hoppe could probably get close to 20 reps on the flat bench, which is as much as some NFL offensive linemen (he stays away from work on the flat bench for fear of injury).
WHAT’S AHEAD: Hoppe will swim next season for Cal, which won its third national title in the past four years last April. He’ll not only be swimming with national champions, but Olympians (former Cal swimmers such as Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin and Damir Dugonjic still train in Berkeley) as well. Hoppe is considering biology as a major, which is what his sister, Charis, also an NCAA swimmer, studies at UC Santa Barbara.
QUOTABLE: “Just from the improvement he’s made the past couple of years, he absolutely can come in and flourish as a freshman,” said Cal coach Dave Durden. “It’s hard, because the NCAA championships is a pressure-filled meet, but he has the tools and the passion and the talent to do that.”
– Joe Cortez