by Sue Pascoe
Last year, Palisades High School swimmers decisively captured city titles. The boys took their fourth straight title, breaking city records in three relay events and three individual events. The girls captured their seventh consecutive title. Additionally, 11 swimmers and one diver qualified for the state meet.
What’s the prognosis this year? “I’m really excited about the season,” said Maggie Nance, who is starting her 14th year as head coach. “I have really nice kids, really fast kids, and they have good attitudes.”
Even though the Dolphins lost some of their top girl swimmers through graduation, Nance has five freshmen joining senior Leah Timmerman (who went to state last year): Sophia Wlodek, Quincy Timmerman, Sydney Brouwer, Darby Green and Amanda Kim.
“I expect we will win city,” Nance said. “We have gotten better; we’re setting city records.”
The coach continued, “Our boys are crazy-fast. Kian Brouwer is back, as is Roy Yoo, Hunter Loncar and the triplets, Jonathon, Gregory and Alex Havton.” Brouwer placed at the state meet as a junior last year, and the Dolphins placed 27th overall.
Nance said that each of the triplets, who are seniors, swims different events, and noted: “My medley team is Havton, Havton, Havton and Brouwer.” (The order of events in a medley relay is backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle.)
Nance said that Brouwer has gotten stronger, and “anytime he swims, he sets a record.” Recruited by several schools, he has committed to UC Santa Barbara. “Their coach has taken 16 kids to the Olympics,” Nance said.
The Dolphins participated in the SBI meet at Mira Costa. Boys preliminaries were held on March 21 and girls on March 22, with finals on March 24. Nance had to keep half of her girls team at home to swim in a Western League dual meet against University High School on the 22nd, “otherwise we would have been even stronger at the meet.”
Pali’s boys varsity team won easily (El Segundo was second with 289), with 469 points. The frosh/soph boys team also took first with a 198 points to Redondo’s 88. The girls varsity team finished second with 349 points (Redondo Union had 380). The girls frosh/soph team placed fifth.
Freestyle: In the girls 50 yard frosh/soph freestyle, Kira Davis took second (29.47) and in the boys division Chris Pedersen took first (25.40), with Jack Nilsen fourth,
Matthew Garcia fifth and Marc Pryor sixth. In the varsity girls race, Darby Green took sixth (26.39), and in the boys division Yoo was first (22.06) and G. Havton third. Yoo had set the meet record last year with a 21.76. In the 100-yard free, Yoo took first (47.72) and Loncar was fourth. Green was seventh in the girls race. For the frosh/soph boys team, the boys took first, second and seventh (Chris Pedersen, Daniel Yin, and Jack Nilsen, respectively.) Kira Davis took fourth for the girls.
In the frosh/soph 200, Glen Slaven took second, Maximo Speiser placed fourth and Aidan Newell was sixth. In the varsity 200 girls, junior Dora Seggelke took second (1:57.91) and in the boys event, Loncar took third (1:48.09) and Sam Speiser took seventh.
In the 500-yard free, Planting, Tevin Pak and S. Speiser finished fifth, sixth and seventh. Seggelke took first (5:10.46) and Q. Timmerman was seventh.
Butterfly: Frosh/soph boys took first, second, third and fourth: Nicholas Allen (1:00.88), Asa Tatro, M. Speiser and Slaven, respectively in the 100-yard butterfly.
In the varsity race, Brouwer set a new meet record (49.72), with G. Havton second, Tomo Sato fifth and Andrew Planting eighth.
Breaststroke: In the 100-yard boys varsity race, A. Havton was first (58.99), Orion Vayanas second and James Chang seventh. In girls’ varsity, L. Timmerman took first (1:05.89) and teammates Meredith Haaker and Rebecca Yoo were seventh and eighth. In the frosh/soph boys 50-yard breastroke Masaki Ishizawa was the winner, Theo Trask second and Najee Railey fourth. For the girls, Emily Bunnapradist took first.
Backstroke: In the 100-yard varsity boys, J. Havton took second (54.87), and Sato third. For girls, Wlodek took first (58.67) and Gillian Caverly second (1:01.27). Boys frosh/ soph 50-yard backstroke was won by Marc Pryor (1:02.10) and third went to Max Crawford. Melissa Bunnapradist took second.
Individual Medley: In the 100-yard frosh/ soph races, E. Bunnapradist took fourth and in the boys event, the Dolphins finished first, second, third and fifth (Ishizawa, Tatro, Trask and Nick Gladkov).
In the varsity 200-yard IM, L. Timmerman took second (2:11.04), Wlodek was fifth and Q. Timmerman was seventh. In the boys division, A. Havton (1:58.31) was first, Orion Vayanas third, Tevin Pak sixth and J. Havton seventh.
Relays: The boys frosh/soph medley relay team of Marc Pryor, Masaki Ishizawa, Nicholas Allen and Matthew Garcia took first (1:51.92).
The 200-yard medley girls varsity relay team of Caverly, L. Timmerman, Seggelke and Green took second (1:52.37). Caverly, who was ranked in the nation as a sopho- more in distance events, and close to an Olympic trials time, had shoulder issues and didn’t swim as a junior for either club or for the high school. “She’s swimming backstroke this year and we’re just psyched at what she’s doing for us,” Nance said.
In the 200-yard boys medley relay, Havton, Havton, Havton and Brouwer set a new meet record of 1:38.35. Pali also set a meet record (1:26.56) in the 200-yard freestyle relay (Brouwer, Loncar, G. Havton and Yoo).
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Brouwer, Loncar, J. Havton and Yoo took first, (3:15.40) but did not break the meet record set in 2016 by Brouwer, Zach Senator, Loncar and Yoo (3:13.48).
In the girls event, Timmerman, Seggelke, Wlodek and Rose Walker finished third (3:49.61).
Tom Davidson is Pali’s diving coach, and Asa Tatro, who went to state as a freshman, returns this year. He is joined by Wyatt Pace and Andrei Kozeluh. PaliHi also has a strong girls team with divers Alexis Kleshik, Ena Izawa and Clara Saab.
Girl team captains are seniors Yasmin Ansari and L. Timmerman and boy captains are Ben Makhani and G. Havton.
Nance is joined by assistant diving coach Danny Polvin and assistant coaches Tim Murphy and Jazzmyne Uvquiza, a UCLA student and assistant girls water polo coach.