By Casi McIntyre
The largest junior college swim invitational in the state was held at Cuesta’s pool, where 27 schools met to compete for the fastest time in the water.
The schools that were a part of the tournament came from all across California. Some teams as far North as Sacrament and as far South as Long Beach.
At the invitational, Cuesta’s swim team battled against 853 athletes and finished in sixth place overall.
The pool on campus finished renovations, a section in the Measure L bond, last spring to bring the facility up to current standards. The pool had small internal fixes as well as replacing the diving boards. The invitational is an annual event for campus and this was the 39th year the event was hosted.
The meet took place on March 11 and 12 and hosted 48 swimming events for competition. In total Cuesta had 22 athletes swimming in the invitational, with 12 women and ten men competing.
“It was a great weekend for the team, almost everyone did their best time of the year in one of their events,” said John Marsh, coach of Cuesta’s swim team.
The women’s team finished in fifth place in the weekend long meet. Team member Katie White took second place in the 50-meter butterfly and scored 17 points at the meet in total.
Cuesta’s Mia Viss placed sixth in the 50-meter breaststroke, while scoring 13 points for her overall individual total. College points are scored by individual swimmers in order of place finished from first to sixth. These points add up to a division-wide leaderboard with the top finishers being able to compete in state finals.
Torie White took home the highest total score out of the women of Cuesta with 44 points.
Competing against so many teams and athletes, White was happy with the outcome of the invitational.
“Our team did well to hold our own against those teams,” said White. “Cuesta swimmers placed in the top 10 in their respective individual events.”
The women’s combined scores hit 136 points in total.
“I am very pleased with the way we swam,” said Marsh. “I would hope we would continue to improve throughout the year.”
The men’s team finished in seventh place at the end of the meet, scoring a total of 129 points.
Each of the swimmers on Cuesta’s team swam a personal record in one event, Marsh said.
Dylan Hughes swam a successful 1650-yard freestyle, clocking in at one minute and 30 seconds. Hughes placed sixth overall and scored 29 points in total.
Also on the men’s team, Matt McDonnall took second place in the 400-meter individual medley and scored the highest out of the men with 58 points.
Behind McDonnall in highest scoring points was Austin Barton with 36 points.
Together, Cuesta’s team scored 491 points and improved their skills in the water.
“From last meet to this meet, everybody including myself, huge improvement,” said Alex Billmire, a swimmer on Cuesta’s team. “I’m very proud of the team right now.”
The invitational was a huge success for Cuesta’s swim team, Marsh said.
“Our ultimate goal is swimming well at conference and qualifying for the state meet,” said Marsh. Marsh was positive about the entire weekend and is hopeful for what’s in store for the team moving forward. “The invitational was a huge success for Cuesta’s swim team,” said Marsh.
Cuesta’s swim team is expected to compete in conference finals as a team the weekend of April 20 at Allan Hancock in Santa Maria. After the team will find out which individual swimmers will make it to state finals.
“I’m excited for championships,” said Billmire.