The right strokes: league champs and undefeated
by SCOTT HOPKINS
May 22, 2014 | 1816 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
All-American swimmer Jason O’Brien led the Pointer swim team to its first undefeated season in decades. The team’s feat was accomplished despite the fact it has no divers. Courtesy photo by Holly Harris
All-American swimmer Jason O’Brien led the Pointer swim team to its first undefeated season in decades. The team’s feat was accomplished despite the fact it has no divers. Courtesy photo by Holly Harris
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Two teams among a slate of 14 spring sports entries at Point Loma High School came out atop league standings, one of them going through its entire season undefeated.

The Pointer boys’ swim team set a perfect high-water mark, going without a loss through 11 season meets, including seven Eastern League contests.

Led by senior and All-American Jason O’Brien, the team’s closest meet was against league rival La Jolla Country Day, which fell to the Pointers by a close 95-86 score.

O’Brien qualified for Automatic All-American status last year with a 500-meter freestyle time of 4:27.80, faster than the established 4:30.83 standard. But he’s even faster now.

“I swam a 4:19.98 in March at the American Shortcourse Championships in Texas,” O’Brien said, “and I need to repeat that to break the county record of 4:21.10” (set by Tim Siciliano, San Marcos, in 1998).

But O’Brien, who swam the 200-meter and 500-meter freestyle events in Pointer meets, needed lots of help to defeat every opponent.

“Our undefeated season was clearly a team effort,” said head coach Jerry Rich.

One fact adds interest to meet scores — the Pointers have no divers on their roster, forfeiting those points to each opponent.

“Even in the past, when we sometimes had divers, they had to train elsewhere,” Rich said.

The best meet times by Pointer swimmers include:

• 50-meter freestyle: Sean Webster (23.48)

• 100-meter freestyle: Sean Webster (52.29)

• 100-meter fly: Kealan Harris (59.42)

• 100-meter backstroke: Erik Robinson (59.62)

• 100-meter breaststroke: Anthony Farris (1:07.34)

• 200-meter freestyle: Jason O’Brien (1:46.05)

• 200-meter indiv. medley: Adam Watson (2:28.42)

• 500-meter freestyle: Jason O’Brien (4:39.89)

• 200-meter free relay: 1:34.94

• 200-meter medley relay: 1:48.61

• 400-meter free relay: 3:44.13

Also competing were Adam Watson, Alex Bockstahler, Brendan McMahon, Chase Schaffer, Chris Mashburn, Jackson Daubner, Jean Luc Texier, Matteo Camacho-Bier, Max Adler, Michael Damsky, Naone Hasenstab, Nic Lee, Noah Stevenson and  Sam McKay.

EXTRA STROKES

• O’Brien’s mother, Valorie Seyfert, earned a spot on the 1980 U.S. Olympic swim team, sporting the second-fastest time in the 200-meter fly before the team boycotted the games in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

• O’Brien has accepted a scholarship offer for next year from USC, where his mother swam, over offers from Stanford and UC Berkeley.

• The City Conference meet was postponed last week because of the spate of wildfires in the county. CIF prelims and finals are now scheduled only two days apart on May 22 and 24 at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon.

• Rich said he would love to add divers to his team. “I hope the new pool being planned for Liberty Station will have both low- and high-diving boards available,” Rich said about the Pointers’ likely new home pool.

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