Thunder boys claim Sierra Foothill League title

Undefeated Rocklin girls place second at championships; Section meet upcoming
By: Russ Edmondson, The Placer Herald
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For the first time since 1997, the Rocklin High boys swim team is the Sierra Foothill League champion. The boys beat out Placer 429-399. It was the final time Alex Ustaszewski would coach the team as he will head Whitney's water polo and swimming programs beginning next season. The Rocklin girls, who were battling some injuries, placed second at Saturday's SFL event behind Placer. The Thunder went unbeaten all season, but were outscored by the Hillmen 429-363 on Saturday at the Roseville Aquatic Center. One relay match was contested by Rocklin girls coach Kari Ustaszewski and if that changes the score would be 427-399 Placer. "Coach U", as Alex Ustaszewski is called by nearly everyone associated with the team, was thrown into the pool by his team after the boys' victory. "We had a feeling we could do it and we went out and did it," he said. "It was an unbelievable team effort." The Thunder boys trailed Placer by nine points after four events but Rocklin took control soon after. Rocklin senior Ryan Toohey, who will swim and play water polo at Claremont College, placed first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.69 seconds. He also won the 100 free in 48.3 seconds. Teammate Brent Nicolaysen had a key victory in the 100 backstroke (58.6). Seniors Dan Gluvers (200 IM, two minutes, 6.39 seconds) and Bryan Pancoast (100 fly, 55.89) took second place as did teammate Brian Sinclair (100 breaststroke, 1:07.98). Nicolaysen, Gluvers, Pancoast and Toohey teamed to win the 200 medley relay, while Nicolaysen and Gluvers joined Sinclair and Eric Prigge in claiming first in the 400 free relay. Adding to the point total, the Rocklin boys had plenty of success at the SFL's diving championships earlier in the week. Rocklin's Jamie Torrington placed first while teammates Kevin McGuire (third), Chase Roselli (fourth) and Michael Jasinksi (fifth) rounded out the top five. Alex Ustaszewski said that Toohey, Gluvers and Nicolaysen have a chance at reaching the finals at the Sac-Joaquin Section swim finals May 13-14 at Tokay High in Lodi. In all, the Thunder boys will send 14 competitors to the event. Rocklin's girls tied Placer during the league season and Kari Ustaszewski thought her team could have scored a narrow victory over Placer Saturday if Cortney Brown (sprained ankle) and Rachel Robertson (sprained ankle, torn ligaments) were at full strength. "Most of the girls (improved) times, but they were a little disappointed," said Ustaszewski, whose team will send 13 swimmers onto the section meet May 12 and 14. "Overall the team had incredible heart trying to overcome tremendous adversity. We are looking forward to sections and happy with how we performed this year. I was very proud of them." Brown had been on crutches for five days before the championships while Robertson suffered her injuries on the eve of Saturday's championships. Both competed in events. Senior Liz Johnson, who has never lost a race in the SFL, placed first in the 50 free and 500 free. She will swim on scholarship at the University of Washington in the fall. Brown, a sophomore, placed first in the 100 breatstroke, while setting a new league record with her time of 1:07.75. Junior Lesli Traub took second in both the 100 fly and the 200 free, and senior Jamie Brown took third in the 500 free. Kristen Backes, Allie Barnard and Lisa Williams each set a personal best at the championships also. Johnson, Traub, Robertson and Nicki Simmons placed first in the 200 free. The four will join teammates Jaime Brown, Cortney Brown, Rachel Holm and Barnard as individuals at the section meet. AJ Barker, Amanda Holpuch, Jessica Chavez, Erin Smith, and Aliesha Scott are going to sections as a part of a relay team. The junior varsity boys also won a league title while Rocklin's JV girls placed fifth.