LODI -- In her final high school meet, Karlee Bispo swam into history.
Bispo, a senior from Downey High, set a national high school record in the 200-yard freestyle when she touched the wall at the Tokay High pool in 1 minute, 45.14 seconds.
Her win came around 10:30 on Saturday morning, the first individual race at the Sac-Joaquin Section Swimming championships. It was part of a banner day for the Stanislaus District at Tokay, one that saw four local swimmers take home six section championships.
Bispo also won the 100 freestyle, in 48.75, just off the national record of 48.59. The victory in the 100 free -- her fourth consecutive victory in that race -- made Bispo the second female swimmer in section history to win the maximum eight titles over four years. The first such swimmer was Oakmont's Summer Sanders from 1987-90. Sanders went on to Olympic glory in Barcelona in 1992, winning four medals -- two of them gold.
Beyer junior David LaFlamme won both of his races in impressive fashion as well. He won the 200 freestyle in 1:40.47, followed by the 100 butterfly in 49.16. Both times earned LaFlamme All-American status in those races.
Downey junior R.J. Barton won the 100 freestyle in 47.99, a victory that was twice as sweet after Barton spent much of the offseason rehabbing after shoulder surgery.
Golden Valley junior Justin Carter defended his section title in the 100 backstroke, touching the wall in 50.13 seconds. It was another All-American time for Carter, The Bee's 2007 Boys Swimmer of the Year.
Bispo looked imposing as she stood at the starting block before the 200 freestyle, wearing the new TYR Tracer Lite racing suit, the equivalent of the Speedo LZR racing suit. Since those suits entered the international scene earlier this year, they've been used to set multiple world records. It would be the first meet Bispo used the suit; she hopes to use it again for the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., in late June and early July.
Saturday, she wanted the national record.
"I knew (the record) was within reach if I swam my best," Bispo said. "That was my goal."
She finished the first 100 yards in 50.1 seconds; right on schedule.
"I wanted to be right at 50 seconds," she said. "I didn't know for sure if I'd done that, but it felt like it. And in the second 100, I just went all out."
She touched the line in 1:45.14, well faster than the previous national record of 1:49.45, set by Kate Ziegler of Arlington, Va., in 2006. The large crowd that packed into the pool area let loose with an ovation as her national record was announced.
"My legs were pretty dead by then," Bispo said. "But when I saw the time, I was shocked. It was pretty awesome."
Bispo maintained her rigorous training schedule over the week, eschewing the "tapering" -- lighter practices for more energy -- that most swimmers went through Saturday. Instead, she's concentrating on the Olympic Trials. But that makes her national record all the more impressive.
"It makes me that much more excited," she said. "It's telling me that I'm getting better in the 200."
Beyer's LaFlamme was just as excited for his two wins, both in All-American times.
"I'm the most excited to break 50 seconds in the butterfly," said LaFlamme, who transferred in the fall to Beyer from Big Valley Christian. "To get close to 48 seconds, that's all the better."
He credited the crowd, which packed five-people deep into every sightline to watch the races. The year-round swimmer has competed against some of the top age-group swimmers in the country, but he liked the high school racing as well.
"Here, everybody brought so much energy," he said. "You could hear so many people yelling before and after the race. I could hear them until I hit the water. It made the meet even more exciting."
Downey's Barton dealt with blood clot issues within his shoulder last year, something that forced him to have surgery soon after the season.
"I had a vein that was right against my bone and muscle," he said. "So they removed my first rib."
Barton still has the large scar that twists along his right clavicle. His rehabilitation was lengthy -- "I took baby steps," he said -- but he was back in form Saturday.
"I'm pretty happy with the win," he said. "I was hoping for a time drop as well (he went 47.8 on a Friday relay leg) but I'll take the win."
Barton and LaFlamme are the first Modesto boy swimmers to win varsity section titles since Johansen's Devin Power won the 50 freestyle in 2002. He wasn't sure if he had won when he touched.
"I didn't see anybody beside me, so I just put my head down and went for it," he said. "It's a sprint, you have to look at the time."
He saw the "1" next to his lane, and knew he had taken the victory.
Golden Valley's Carter, like Barton, didn't improve on his time. But he took gold. For Carter, it was his second consecutive section title in the 100 backstroke.
"My goal was breaking 50 seconds," he said. "50.13 today, and I went 50.08 yesterday. I'm getting there."
Like Bispo, Carter didn't shave or taper for this meet. He's qualified for the Olympic Trials as well, and is choosing to concentrate there.