Bearcats outpace Hounds in pool


PASO ROBLES — The one and only swim meet that will be held in the North County this spring was on Wednesday afternoon at the Municipal Pool in Paso Robles as the Bearcats welcomed the Atascadero Hounds for their first dual meet of the year. Due to space restrictions and technical difficulties, both teams are forced to go on the road this season for all their meets from here on out, but the Bearcats shined in their one opportunity to perform in front of their friends and family.

The Municipal Pool was cut down to only four legal lanes on Wednesday which threw a curve ball at both swim teams who would need to make some changes to who they had swimming in certain events. The little viewing space that is available at the Municipal Pool was completely filled with pop up chairs and from around the block, you could hear kids cheering on their friends in the unmistakable intervals of yelling that only happens at a swim meet.

“We are pretty much in the middle of the season right now,” Bearcats head swim coach Michael Sauret said. “This is our first dual meet, against Atascadero, and it has been a great meet despite having a limited number of competitors because of the pool space but the swimmers are doing great despite that.”

Both the Bearcats and the Hounds swam well on Wednesday but the crimson speed was on full display as they grabbed a couple of CIF qualifying times and one 31-year-old school record almost fell.

The murmurs in the stands were all about Paso Robles standout Holly DiSimone who was just a second off of breaking the school record for the 100-meter fly which was set in 1988 by Poppy Gilman and stands at 58.75 seconds. 

DiSimone glided through the water with effortless grace and quickly separated herself from the rest of the swimmers but tapped the wall just a second off the school record.

“It is pretty crazy,” DiSimone said of having an opportunity to break school record as a freshman. “I am really trying to get it my freshman year, which is this year, and I’ve done it at club swimming but it doesn't count for high school so I’m just waiting for the meet where I can just get it.”

It is only a matter of time before the record falls and the conditions will be much better next week when she will be in a competition pool when the Bearcats travel to Arroyo Grande.

“I think I will have a better chance with a full, deeper pool,” DiSimone said when asked if it is harder to break the record in the Municipal Pool. “And with a better tech suit and stuff, but there is a lot of components that go into it.”

Senior Mackenzie Raymond posted her third CIF qualifying time of the season, this time in the 200 individual medley, posting a 2:27.14 but was just barely out-touched by her teammate Abigail Springer.

At the midway point of the meet, the Bearcats paused to recognize their nine seniors Raymond, Emily Christian, Aleah Russell, Elijah Mathisen, Ethan Moore, and Carson Weide, and divers Ethan Carmen, Cole Engstrom, Cori Southward.

Paso Robles ran away with the meet in terms of points, winning 84-12 on the girls’ side and 63-35 on the boys’ side but the Hounds still had some good performances even with their lack of a home body of water this season.

Atascadero’s 200-meter free relay made up of Garrett Nichols, Jonny Cave, Dante Donati and Colby Van Housen continued to lower their time as they try and chase down the elusive CIF qualifying time.

“They had a great swim,” Atascadero head swim coach Alyx Truax said after the meet. “I believe they have a good chance at a CIF time in the next meet or two.”

Hina Nogi has picked off where she left off last year as she posted a 1:20:39 in the 100-meter breaststroke.

“We are doing the best we can with the little water time we get,” Truax added. “They are working hard and making me proud.”

Both teams will be back in action on Thursday with the Hounds traveling to San Luis Obispo and the Bearcats traveling to Arroyo Grande.

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