The girls team won the title in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, May 2-4 at Tokay High School in Lodi.
Country Day collected 134.50 points to top the eight-team field. Ripon (65) and Modesto’s Central Catholic (53.50) finished second and third, respectively.
The Country Day boys placed third among five teams. The Cavaliers finished with 29 points, trailing St. Mary’s of Stockton (74) and El Dorado of Placerville (33).
Four girls and two boys from Country Day competed in the championships.
Junior Rebecca Waterson won the varsity 100-yard butterfly finals and placed sixth in the 100 backstroke finals with times of 54.25 and 56.95 seconds, respectively.
Waterson said she was happy with her performance and with her qualification for the State Championships on May 10-11 in Clovis.
Waterson also won the 100 butterfly preliminary and finished second in the 100 backstroke prelims with times of 54.44 and 55.47 seconds, respectively.
Sophomore Sydney Turner also competed in the varsity 100 butterfly preliminary and finals. She finished sixth in the prelim with a time of 56.52 seconds and sixth in the final, improving to 56.32.
Turner also competed in the varsity 200 individual medley preliminaries and final. She finished third in 2 minutes, 5.19 seconds in the prelim and fourth in the final with a time of 2:06.86.
Turner said she was surprised by her performance.
“I wasn’t expecting much coming into the meet because I was swimming (shorter) events,” Turner said. “I’m generally a mid-distance swimmer, but at sections, I swam sprint events.”
Sophomore Athena Lin competed in the varsity 200 and 100 freestyle. She placed 10th in the 200 preliminaries with a time of 1:55.96 and 52.39 in the 100.
Lin finished 10th in the finals in 1:56.22 and 53.24 in the 200 and 100 freestyle, respectively.
Freshman Hailey Fesai didn’t compete in any individual events. However, she, Waterson, Turner and Lin competed in the varsity 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay preliminaries and finals.
The relay team finished fourth in the 200 medley prelims in 1:49.81 and in the final with a time of 1:49.21.
The relay team finished third in the 200 freestyle preliminaries in 1:39.95 and fourth in the final with a time of 1:39.26.
According to coach Brian Nabeta, Fesai was the standout swimmer.
“She greatly contributed to the (team’s) success in placing fourth in both relay events.” Nabeta said.
“(Fesai) consistently got faster split times,” Waterson said. “She’s improved a lot throughout the season, which was super fun to watch.”
Senior Joe Zales and sophomore Brian Chow represented Country Day in the boys division.
Chow competed in the junior varsity 200 and 500 freestyle. He placed 18th in the 200 preliminary at 1:54.39 and 16th in the final at 1:56.03.
Chow also placed 11th in the 500 freestyle preliminary (5:07.06) and final (5:07.68).
Chow said he was satisfied with his performances.
“I was nervous coming into the meet because it was my first-ever sections,” Chow said. “However, I was able to break personal records for both events, so I’m happy.”
Finally, Zales competed in the varsity 200 and 500 freestyle.
He placed sixth in the 200 preliminary (1:43.26) and in the final (1:42.34).
In his 500 freestyle preliminaries, Zales placed third (4:35.23) in the 500 freestyle preliminaries and qualified for the State Championships by finishing third in the final (4:34.76).
Nabeta said the team has greatly improved since the start of the season.
“They all train at different clubs, and when (brought) together, they (help each other) improve at every dual meet,” Nabeta said.
Waterson added that the team has consistently lowered its times throughout the season. Turner also said the teamwork has improved.
“At the beginning of the season, we weren’t super-team-oriented because we used to leave the meet once our event was over,” Turner said. “So we didn’t cheer each other on as much as we do now.”
Waterson added that she is also looking forward to next year.
“I’m pumped for next year because we will have more girls joining the team, which is great for relays and the overall team spirit,” Waterson said.
—By Arijit Trivedi