By Tadzio Garcia
The East Los Angeles College swim stadium was known as one of the fastest swimming pools in the nation back in its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.
The ELAC pool is making waves again.
Six state records, one a national record, were set in the first two days of the 2012 California Community College Athletic Association’s Swim and Dive Championships held at the ELAC swim stadium April 26 – 27.
Freshman Ahmed Mathlouthi, from Santa Monica College, won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:18.90 minutes, a national and state record, on day one.
Mathlouthi won the 200 free with another state record, in 1:35.29, on the second day.
“I was disappointed that I did not set a national record but let’s see what happens next year,” said Mathlouthi.
Mathlouthi is swimming in the 2012 London Olympics for his home country of Tunisia.
When asked if there were any pre-Olympic races, Mathlouthi responded, “I race in Luxembourg in three weeks and need to swim a good time.”
Mathlouthi won the gold medal in the 800-meter free at last year’s All-Africa Games in Mozambique.
“This is an exciting state finals with some of the finest athletes in the country swimming here. The Santa Monica records are a really proud moment for us,” said 13-year Corsair Head Coach Steve Contarsy.
Contarsy was also referring to Jeff Lum who set a state record on Day 2, in the in the 100-yard breaststroke in 54.48 seconds. Lum, a two-time returning All-American, also set a state record the 2011 finals in the 200 individual medley.
“The win is the result of a perfect pair with coach Steve. I owe all of this to him,” Lum said.
Matching the Corsairs thunder was Santa Rosa Junior College’s freshman Nicolas Suissa, who won two gold medals in both men’s diving events, the 3-meter dive and the 1-meter dive.
Suissa set a state record in the 1-meter dive scoring 286.60 points.
“I am proud of my team and hope we win the men’s championship. I worked hard to get here. I also contribute doing well because of the support of my team,” said Suissa.
Santa Rosa’s 200-yard medley relay team finished in 1:29.99, breaking the previous record set in 1998 by Golden West College.
Ventura freshman Henry Chung also set a state record in the 100-yard backstroke in 48.53.
Men’s Top-Ten Championship Standings, Day 2
Santa Rosa Junior College – 451 points, Palomar College (296), Grossmont College (209), Orange Coast College (193), Ventura College (190), Santa Monica College (175), Diablo Valley College (144), Golden West College (138), Cuesta College (129) and West Valley College (83).
Women’s shocker, DVC leads OCC after two days
Since 2009, the two-time defending state champ Orange Coast, winner of 16 state titles, is in unfamiliar territory. They are not in first place.
Northern California powerhouse Diablo Valley, runner up last year and winner of seven state titles, leads after two days, 321.5 points to OCC’s 313 points.
Key to the Vikings lead over the Pirates was a one-two finish in the 50 breast. Freshman Shaila Yoder won the gold in 29.81 edging returning All-American and silver-medalist Lisa Boozer, who finished in 30.15.
Also key was the Vikings win in the 200 medley relay. Diablo Valley battled OCC for the title, winning it in 1:48.02, to silver-medalist OCC’s 1:49.29.
The champion Vikings medley consisted of returning All-American Courtney Leonard, Boozer, Hannah Voegely and Taylor Henry.
Women’s Top-Ten Championship Standings, Day 2
Diablo Valley College – 321.5 points, Orange Coast College (313), Golden West College (241), Ventura College (198.5), Sierra College (193), Riverside City College (180), Palomar College (148), Santa Rosa Junior College College (145), Cypress College (121) and San Diego Mesa College (107).