Fallbrook High School juniors Bobby Guerra and Ricky Stephens were in different locations May 17, but both won Avocado West League championships at the league swim meet.
The swim portion of the league meet took place at Carlsbad High School, where Guerra won both the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. The league diving championships were held at Fallbrook High School; Stephens had the top boys diving score. Guerra was also part of Fallbrook’s 200-yard freestyle relay team which won the league championship.
Originally Fallbrook was to host both the Avocado West League diving meet and the Valley League dive meet May 14 and Carlsbad High School was to host the league swim preliminaries May 15 and the league finals May 16. The fires in Fallbrook caused the May 14 diving to be postponed to May 17, but even that turned out not to be certain as later that day the CIF cancelled all competitions and practices for May 15. On May 15, the CIF extended the prohibition another day. On May 16, the CIF permitted May 17 competition while also allowing the option of May 19 league meets.
“We didn’t even know if we were going to have the meet until about 24 hours before the meet,” said Fallbrook boys coach Bill Richardson.
The league swim competition was held in Carlsbad on May 17 with separate preliminaries and finals being replaced by a single competition based on times in the heats. The change in schedule deprived the Warriors of sophomore Chaz Sommer, who had lifeguard training activity that day.
Fallbrook girls swim coach Sean Redmond was also the diving meet organizer, so Redmond was at Fallbrook’s pool while Richardson coached both the Warrior boys and the Fallbrook girls team in Carlsbad.
“We had some decent performances after three days off,” Richardson said.
The Warrior boys as a team finished third both at the league meet and in the final standings. A combination of dual meet records and team positions at the league meet determines the final league standings. Fallbrook had a 3-2 league record in dual meets with losses to the La Costa Canyon and Carlsbad teams which finished ahead of the Warriors at the league meet.
“That’s pretty much where we expected to be. We had a good season,” Richardson said.
Some of Fallbrook’s boys joined the swim team after the season began and hadn’t been practicing. “I don’t think we performed up to our fullest capability,” Richardson said. “But from where we started we had a great season.”
Stephens won the diving with a score of 374.75 points on 11 dives. He won last year’s league diving meet with a school record 398.45 points. “He’s definitely one of the top athletes in that event in the county,” Richardson said.
Fallbrook concluded dual meet competition May 8 with a home win against El Camino. Stephens accumulated 251.85 points in his six dives during the meet against El Camino to break his own six-dive school record of 250.80 points set March 20.
“He’s an amazing diver,” Richardson said. “He set a school record and had a great season.”
Stephens was also Fallbrook’s only repeating league champion. The Warriors’ only other 2013 league champion, butterfly and breaststroke winner Sam McDaniels, was a senior last year and now swims for Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia. None of Fallbrook’s relay teams won 2013 league championships.
Guerra won the 100-yard freestyle race in 47.18 seconds. His margin of victory was approximately three seconds. “He was about a body length in front of the next-fastest kid,” Richardson said. “Just blew the field away.”
Two other swimmers earned points for Fallbrook in the 100-yard freestyle; senior Quinn Harrison had a fifth-place time of 51.88 seconds and junior Tristan Curnow was eighth at 52.33 seconds.
Guerra won the 100-yard backstroke by about three-quarters of a body length, completing his four laps in 54.13 seconds. “He slowly in the second 50 pulled away,” Richardson said.
The other Fallbrook swimmers who placed in the backstroke were junior Connor Kuhn, who was 11th at 1:04.64, and senior Jake Smyth, whose time of 1:06.87 earned him 15th place.
“He had an outstanding meet,” Richardson said of Guerra. “He’s really had a great year.”
The 200-yard freestyle relay team whose winning time was 1:31.36 consisted of four juniors: Victor Haywood, Guerra, Curnow, and Eli Foli. “They swam really well,” Richardson said.
Haywood was about even for the lead when he completed his 50 yards. “Bobby went second and blew everybody away,” Richardson said.
Last year, Fallbrook’s 200-yard freestyle relay team placed second at both the Avocado West League meet and the CIF meet.
“We seem to do very well both at league and at CIF. If we’re not first we’re usually second at league,” Richardson said. “It’s good to keep that streak alive and put together four underclassmen.”
Fallbrook’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of sophomore Toby Fast, Harrison, Kuhn, and Guerra placed second at the league meet with a time of 3:22.12. The 200-yard medley relay quartet of Kuhn, Haywood, Curnow, and Fast placed fifth and completed the race in 1:50.75.
Fast placed third in the individual 500-yard freestyle race with a time of 5:00.37. Fallbrook junior Adam Kehl took eighth place at 5:27.29. The youngest of the four Harrison siblings, Declan Harrison, was a freshman in 2013-14 and was 12th in the league meet at 5:39.15.
Quinn Harrison was fourth in the individual 200-yard freestyle race with a time of 1:52.12. Fast had a sixth-place time of 1:53.51. Kehl was 12th after completing his eight laps in 2:04.26.
The 50-yard freestyle was the only event in which four Fallbrook boys placed. Curnow finished sixth overall at 23.64 seconds; Haywood was seventh after a 23.66-second performance; junior Jacob Karasek earned 12th place with a time of 24.21 seconds; and Foli had the 13th-place time of 24.39 seconds.
Karasek had a ninth-place time of 59.00 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly. Sophomore Chad Sloggett swam that race in 59.85 seconds for 10th place and senior Taylor Marine was 14th at 1:04.91.
In the 100-yard breaststroke event, Foli was 11th at 1:09.79; Hayward had the 13th-place time of 1:11.30; and senior John Traner finished 14th at 1:11.99.
Marine had the 14th-place time of 2:22.90 in the 200-yard individual medley. Traner was 15th at 2:23.73.