SAN LUIS OBISPO — On Thursday, May 4 at Sinshimer Pool in San Luis Obispo, the Bearcats swim and dive team competed in the PAC-8 finals. It was a perfect day, the facilities were packed with double parked cars and screaming parents fighting for perfect picture position. A haze of sunscreen filled the sky above the pool as each swimmer prepared for the long day ahead. The girls team finished in third place overall and the boys finished in fourth. In total, ten Bearcats earned all-league honors and together the team qualified 11 events that will advance to CIF. Freshman phenom Audrey Hughes led the Bearcats as the only first team all-league selection, taking first in the 500-yard freestyle. Hughes finished second in the meet’s shortest and fastest race, and took first in the longest race. To put something like that in perspective, that would be like the 100-meter champion from the Olympics changing out of his track spikes and then winning the two-mile.
It was all the usual suspects for the Bearcats on Thursday, both medley relay teams advanced and there were a number of swimmers that were barely out-touched for first place. Unfortunately, Sophomore swimmer Mackenzie Raymond turned in a lifetime best performance in the 200-yard freestyle but was just barely out-touched for second. In the 500-yard freestyle, Raymond again finished in second, this time losing in bittersweet fashion to her teammate, Hughes. Raymond, with the help of Hughes, Gabriella Clayton, and CeCe Ramirez finished second again in the girls 4x50-yard freestyle relay team and secured second team all-league status and entry into CIF. The sophomore might have spent Thursday in second place, but with two seasons of swimming left, and schools like San Luis and Arroyo Grande graduating seniors, next year could be big for the Bearcats. Hughes and Raymond teamed up in the 200-yard freestyle, along with Clayton and Ramirez to finish second with a CIF consideration time of 1:43.99.
Both the boys and girls medley relay teams are advancing to CIF. The boys team was made up of John Nash, Zach Tucker, Grant Scheiffele, and Gavin Hughes; together they came in fourth place with a time of 1:44.35. The girls team was made up of CeCe Ramirez, Miranda Pasky, Sarah Clark, and Shannen Dodds, they also finished fourth with a time of 2:00.15.
In his final appearance at the PAC-8 Finals, captain Scheiffele finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly, but still recorded a CIF consideration time of 54.71. Scheiffele also swam one leg of the men’s 500-yard freestyle relay, where the Bearcats finished in third with a time of 3:27.50.
The diving finals took place on Monday and sophomore diver Cori Southward earned second team all-league by finishing second overall with a score of 348.30.
Audrey Hughes- 500 free first team/ 50 free second team
Mackenzie Raymond- 200 free second team/ 500 free second team
Gavin Hughes- 500 free second team
Cori Southward- second team
Audrey Hughes, Gabriella Clayton, Cece Ramirez, and Mackenzie Raymond; 4x50 freestyle second team.