Down by the beach

Cole Hundtoft

Eleven of Downey’s best swimmers attended the CIF Swimming Preliminaries at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool on the sun-soaked May 11 afternoon. Both boys and girls varsity swimmers participated in the numerous events either as a team or individually. There were more than 30 schools that were involved in these preliminaries, but Downey’s aquatic squadron competed to the final lap.

The boys’ varsity swimmers included: Colin O’Connor, Derek Klotzer, Makanaky Caprile, Serro Park, Derek Dodson, and Matthew Sims. A gruesome 200 yard medley, the only team race, challenged the Vikings as they earned 22nd place with a final time 1:52.56.

Approximately three weeks prior to the CIF prelims, varsity swimmer Matthew Sims was involved in a car accident where his car completely flipped over on its top. As a result, he had ripped tendons in his left shoulder, but after only two weeks of recovering, he was back in the water surpassing the CIF qualification times.

“I took it head on,” Matthew Sims said, “I just have to do my best.”

Junior Derek Klotzer is one of Downey’s most prolific swimmers. Three years prior to Klotzer’s debut in the CIF prelims, his alumni brother made it to CIF Finals in the the 50 yard freestyle and 100 yard freestyle. Just like his brother, Klotzer also made it to CIF Finals, except he competed in an endurance-based race, the 500 yard freestyle. The 500 yard freestyle is a 20 lap meet that is generally more than five minutes long and Klotzer had a problem early in his race at finals.

“When I did my first flip turn I started choking on water,” Klotzer said.

Within the first 30 seconds, Klotzer had swallowed the brackish swim water and still had to complete the race. Regardless of the swimming setback, Klotzer ranked 14th in finals and will be back next season to top his personal record.

Representing Downey’s female swimming crew at the CIF Prelims were: Brenda Rosero, Faith Hundtoft, Maghan Nevarez, Jessica Badalamenti, and Sarah Aguayo. The girls were heavily determined to do their best in the prelims, in fact, they beat their record in the 200 yard relay by two seconds.

The girls’ swim captain, Sarah Aguayo, helped her teammates through the mental battle of contending against 30 other schools, because she has been to the CIF prelims since her freshman year. Aguayo led her team by example and is teaching the younger swimmers how a true athlete competes.

“I didn’t get my best time,” Aguayo said, “but I still swam hard.”

The CIF Preliminaries and Finals may have ended differently for everyone apart of Downey’s H2O team and regardless of the individual outcomes, these swimmers are getting better as the days roll on.