Three school records were broken in the championship meet by the team and Kylie Bell

TEMPLETON — Records were broken when the Templeton High School’s (THS) girls swim team took home the CIF Central Section Division 2 championship over the last weekend.

The Templeton High girls swim team celebrate after winning their CIF Central Section Division 2 title in Hanford. Contributed Photo

Eight swim teammates from THS competed in the Division 2 CIF Championships at Sierra Pacific High School in Hanford on May 6 and 7. The team broke three school records in the process while competing against 33 other qualifying teams.

Swim Coach Karen Neil, who’s the co-coach with Katie Tucker, expressed her pride in the team. 

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“They swam so well together,” she said. “They performed fantastically as a team. I am so proud of them.”

Also a club swim coach, Coach Neil has known many of the teammates since they were little.

Despite not having a dive team, the girls managed to earn enough points through the other events to earn the number one spot.

The eight swim competitors in CIF were:

  • Kylie Bell — Freshman
  • Brianna Griffiths — Sophomore
  • Jenna Sanders — Junior
  • Elyse McIntyre — Senior
  • Abby Money — Senior
  • Claire Oppedahl — Senior
  • Jenna Shapero — Senior
  • Kate Thompson — Senior

The swimmers were successful this season despite being one of the few schools without a school pool. In fact, their season almost didn’t happen: Following a season away from COVID-19, the team had to find a new pool to accommodate it. Luckily, the team was able to find accommodations at the Paso Robles Sports Club. 

“We owe them a lot because they really stepped up for us,” said Neil.

Notable finishes made by the team include:

  • Girls 200 Yard Individual Medley — Freshman Kylie Bell took second and broke the school record 
  • Girls 100 Yard Back — Bell took first and broke the school record (59.59). Claire Oppedahl placed third
  • Girls 400 Yard Free Relay — Second in finals, .14 seconds behind the winner.
  • Girls 100 Breaststroke — Griffiths placed second, .70 behind the winner and broke the school record.
  • Girls 100 Yard Fly – Oppedahl finished fourth and Kate Thompson fifth
  • Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay – First place in finals; in prelims, the relay team broke the school record
  • Girls 200 Yard Free Relay – 11th place
  • Girls 500 Yard Free – McIntyre finished in ninth place
  • Girls 100 Yard Free – Sanders finished in ninth place
  • Girls 50 Free – Sanders finished in 13th place

The team’s final team score was 238, with Nipomo finishing second with 179 and Redwood High (Visalia) third at 138.