ARROYO GRANDE — After Thursday evening, the 2019 Mountain League swim season will be officially over as this week the athletes will have prelims and league finals on Tuesday and Thursday. Prelims and finals for all varsity teams will be held at Arroyo Grande High School while the junior varsity will have theirs on Wednesday.
Tuesday was a brisk afternoon that saw lots of competition in the pool and even a record fall even though many swimmers were simply swimming hard enough to get themselves into the finals and into a preferable lane. Bearcat freshman sensation Holly DiSimone led the way for Paso Robles on Tuesday finishing in the two spot in two different races. DiSimone, who already has a CIF automatic time this season, recorded a 1 minute and 01.12 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly and was out in front of nearly everyone, only outdone by San Luis Obispo swimmer Annie Bartolome who finished with a 1:00.35 in her swim in prelims. DiSimone and Bartolome will battle it out in the finals on Thursday night as they are far and away the two fastest girls in field. Each of the girls has posted times under 59 seconds this season but DiSimone has the faster time by .02 seconds meaning this will be the swim to watch.
DiSimone will also be seeded second in the 200-yard freestyle after finishing with a time of 1:59.99 just a little over a second more than SLO’s Naya Koc’s time of 1:58.72 which was the fastest of the day. Bearcats sophomore Kendall Moffitt will join her freshman teammate in the 200-yard final as will senior Mackenzie Raymond as they each posted the fourth and eighth fastest times in the event, respectively. The shorter freestyle race, the 50-yard free, will also have three Bearcats in the final on Thursday. Three juniors, Tatianna Smeltzer, Audrey Hughes and Gabriella Clayton, finished in the top eight in the all-out sprint and will battle it out in the final. Smeltzer finished second overall with a time of 25.56, Hughes finished third with a mark of 25.95 and Clayton took sixth with a time of 26.36.
Smeltzer’s second place finish in the 50 freestyle was only a warm-up for her 100-yard backstroke which was one of the last events in Arroyo Grande on Tuesday. Smeltzer glided through the water in front of the pack and touched the wall at 1:00.08 breaking the school record that was set last year by her teammate Hughes at 1:00.31.
The Greyhounds had a tougher day and have had a rough season overall having to operate without a home pool. The lack of a home pool has meant that few swimmers get to practice more than twice a week and head coach Alyx Truax estimates that maybe 5% of the team is able to make it to practice every day. Regardless of the situation the Hounds swimmers were still all smiles and cheering on their teammates at the end of each lane they occupied.
Atascadero’s busiest races of the day was unquestionably the boys and girls 100 and 50 free. The Hounds entered seven girls in the 100 free but only Delaney Rice qualified as an alternate as the speed of the south county, and a few Bearcats, was on display.
The boys did not make it into the finals for the 50 free but stacked the second heat with Hounds. Led by Colby Van Hausen (23.78), who finished just outside the top eight in ninth place, Atascadero will occupy half of the lanes with Jonny Cave (24.06), Garrett Nichols (24.41) and Dante Donati (24.48) qualifying in 12th, 13th and 14th place, respectively. Christina Mansir was the lone Hound to qualify for the girls finishing 10th with a time of 27.08.
Greyhounds distance swimmer Evelyn Rinkenberger, like Van Hausen, just barely missed making it into the finals for Thursday qualifying ninth in the 500-yard free with a time of 5:55.22. The senior will have a tight race in her heat with Righetti’s Sidney Alter, who finished in 5:55.52, and junior Mina Nogi, who will be the lone swimmer in orange in the 200-yard individual medley finishing with a time of 2:35.21.
There were no relays on Tuesday. The finals will begin on Thursday afternoon at 3 in Arroyo Grande.