Granite Bay claims clean sweep at SFL swim meet

Competitors prep for CIF section meet this week
By: Steven Wilson,
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Add another year to the illustrious wall of champions at Granite Bay High School. 

The Grizzlies swim program set another unprecedented mark by claiming the Sierra Foothill League swim title in all four divisions April 29 at the Roseville Aquatics Complex. Thanks to standout performances from swimmers Connor MacDonald, Chloe Clark, Tyler Greene, Isabella Sangraw, Chloe Miller and Lauren Smith, both of Granite Bay’s varsity squads took home first place. 

For the girls squad, their path to the title wasn’t too difficult. The team racked up 499 points, beating out second place Oak Ridge by more than 100 points (360). The first-place finish also kept alive a 21-year league championship streak for the varsity program and helped a number of individuals advance to the section meet at Tokay High School in Lodi this Thursday and Friday with qualifying times.

“We’re swimming really well on all four levels,” Granite Bay’s coach John Sherman admitted. “Even though we graduated a lot of talented swimmers from a section-winning team last year, for us, it’s just a systematic rebuilding each year — it’s an approach we take as an entire staff. And it just doesn’t start in high school. We have really awesome recreation swim programs in our area — the Granite Bay Gators, the Johnson Ranch Barracudas — so we try to be involved at that level, too.”

Chloe Clark is one of those recent additions that has helped the program continue a long line of success.

As a sophomore competing in the varsity division, Clark claimed the best time in the SFL with a 55.07 in the 100-yard backstroke. She also added a 55.2 in the 100-yard fly — just .01 off her career-best — and finished with a team-high 40 total points. 

“I feel like this was a pretty good meet in terms of prepping for the big, end-of-the-season meet at sections,” Clark admitted. “I’m really happy with how this went, and I was feeling a lot better in the water thanks to my training.”

But this wasn’t Clark’s first league record. As a freshman last year, Clark swam a 23.72 in the 50-yard freestyle event to break the SFL mark. Now, she’s got two.

“She’s just a phenom,” Sherman admitted. “She swam really well over the weekend, broke a record and we’re looking forward to seeing what she can do next. It’s fun to watch her swim.”

While the girls enjoyed a smooth ride to another banner, Granite Bay’s varsity boys capitalized on a few key wins and a number of second-place finishes to top Oak Ridge.

The Grizzlies, who previously lost a dual meet to the Trojans in the regular season, barely edged out the title Saturday with a 537-529 victory. Thanks to wins in the 100-yard freestyle race from Tyler Greene, the 50-yard freestyle event from Connor MacDonald and the 200-yard Medley relay team, Granite Bay held on to a slim lead and brought home the program’s 20th SFL title. 

Just behind Oak Ridge in third place was Woodcreek’s varsity boys squad with 221 total points. Eric Thias was the high-point scorer for the group as he earned 31 total points. His best event came in the 100-yard backstroke, where he took third place with a time of 53.92.

“He’s one of our strongest club swimmers, and he’s been pretty tired and beat up lately because he hasn’t tapered yet,” Woodcreek’s coach Devon Bisquera said. “So we’re expecting big things for him at sections.”

Noah Scholar added a 30-point performance for the Timberwolves. 

Meanwhile, the girls squad finished fourth behind Granite Bay, Oak Ridge and Folsom with 321 points — just seven points shy of third place. 

“It was just a beautiful weekend and the kids came out and swam hard,” Bisquera said. “They’re all dropping times and getting best-times, but the SFL is such a competitive league that a lot of these kids are swimming sections and a lot them will reach the finals there, too. So this was a competitive meet and it ended up being a lot of fun.”

On the other side of town, Oakmont’s varsity girls program claimed their first CVC title in four years with a 13-point victory Saturday at Whitney High’s pool. 

The Vikings earned big-time performances from seniors Emma Shibata, who broke two meet records in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard breaststroke, and Alex Cordova, who took second in the 100-yard fly and 100-yard freestyle races.

The team will now look ahead to a strong performance at the section meet this Thursday and Friday in Lodi.