ARROYO GRANDE — After swimming all the preliminary races Tuesday, all the Bearcat swimmers were back in the pool Thursday for the PAC 8 Finals. It was a fast day in Arroyo Grande — several meet and school records were broken for teams all across the county and according to Athletic Director Anthony Morales, every swimmer who competed for Paso set at least one season-best time over the course of the afternoon.
The girls swim team finished second while the boys finished fourth in the PAC 8. Altogether the Bearcat team achieved 13 new CIF times and will be sending three athletes and two relay teams (from the girls) on to the CIF Southern Section meet which will take place in Riverside today and tomorrow.
Sophomore standout Audrey Hughes continued what she has been doing all season and is now the PAC 8 league champion in the 50-yard backstroke and the 100-yard backstroke. In fact, Hughes was just one-tenth of a second off of a 22-year-old record and probably could have broken it with just one more stroke into the wall. As Hughes was finishing her race, she reached out for the wall when she was a couple feet away but had she completed one more stroke before touching the wall she likely would have broken the record. Hughes will try to break the record again at the CIFSS meet.
Freshman Kendall Moffitt is the PAC 8 league champion in the 200-yard freestyle and was just barely edged out of first in the 500-yard freestyle. Over the span of a five-plus minute race, only six-tenths of a second separated Moffitt from Natalia Kuipers from SLO. The Bearcats also took third and fourth place in the 50-yards with junior Mackenzie Raymond taking third and freshman Abigail Springer placing fourth. Springer also finished fifth in the 200-yard individual medley (IM). There was not a senior who finished in the top five in the women’s 500-yard this year, making this a race to watch for next year.
Raymond, who is also a captain on the Bearcat water polo team, also took second place in the 200-yard freestyle swim for the second consecutive year. Emily Christian finished third in the 200 IM, Gabriella Clayton finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle, Tatiana Smeltzer finished
While the Bearcats swam great in individual swims, they cemented themselves as one of the fastest teams in the league with the performance in their relays. All three of the girl's relay teams earned CIF consideration times.
The boy's relay team started the afternoon off with a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay and were led by seniors Zack Tucker and Gavin Hughes (both also swam a leg in the 200-yard medley relay). Hughes finished third in the 500-yard final and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle and Tucker dropped three seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke to take third. Freshman Joshua Picard finished sixth in the 200 IM and eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Moffitt, Raymond and, Audrey Hughes each qualified to move on to the CIF meet this weekend along with two of the relays that will also include Gabriella Clayton, Emily Christian, Sarah Clark and Tatiana Smeltzer.