by Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Jasmine Tosky and Tom Kremer made quite a splash during their freshman seasons a year ago as they set records and contributed to the success of their respective swim teams at the Central Coast Section championships.
The two sophomores, Tosky at Palo Alto and Kremer at Sacred Heart Prep, are even better this season and showed why at the fifth annual Section Challenge on Saturday at Palo Alto High.
The meet brought together some of the top teams and swimmers from the Central Coast, North Coast and San Joaquin sections. Tosky and Kremer certainly were two of the standouts during a record-breaking day.
Tosky, along with junior Sarah Liang, each won two individual events and swam legs on winning relays to help the Paly girls successfully defend their title. Kremer, meanwhile, won an event with a school record and took second in another in addition to contributing to a pair of runnerup relays to help the SHP boys finish third overall.
Tosky won the 200-yard free in 1:50.12, her fastest high school time ever, and captured the 500 free in 4:51.35 – again her fastest ever (non-club) time. She also anchored two relay teams to victory in CCS-leading times to help the Vikings win the team crown by 4 ½ points.
She did all this after a grueling workout on Thursday where she and her teammates swam 100 x 100 repeats.
"They needed to make up for spring break," said Paly coach Danny Dye. "This was their hardest practice all season."
The point, of course, was for the swimmers to learn to swim hard when tired. It was a lesson not lost on Tosky.
"I just wanted to get at it," she said of the day's goal. "I had to get more racing in, to get ready for the bigger meets. I just wanted to see how I could do after a hard practice. I think I'm right where I'm supposed to be."
Tosky's 200 free established a meet record and improved her No. 2 rank in school history, trailing only school recordholder Caroline Killian's 1:48.69 from 1998. Tosky, however, was more pleased with her 500 free time.
"My leg was hurting before the race and I didn't know how it would go," she explained. It went just fine as she won by four seconds.
Tosky came back a short while later and anchored the 200 free relay team to victory in a season-best 1:38.66. She was in third place as she hit the water but ripped off a 22.57 split to bring the Vikings home. Her leg in the 400 free relay was even better, and more significant.
The Vikings, who won last year's meet by just a half point, trailed Mitty by 3 ½ points heading into the final 400 free relay. Clearly, Paly needed to finish ahead of the Monarchs to win the meet. The Vikings' first three swimmers – Liang, junior Sabrina Lee and sophomore Margaret Wenzlau – gave Tosky a small lead for her anchor leg and that was all she needed on her way to a sizzling 50.20 split that carried Paly to first place in 3:32.95, fastest time in the Central Coast Section this season. That clinched the title with 266 points as Mitty finished third in the relay and settled for second in the standings with 261.5.
Liang added victories in the 200 IM, a season best of 2:05.18, and another season best of 1:05.73 to win the 100 breast. Lee had a pair of fourth places (100 free and 100 back) while Wenzlau tied for second in the 50 free and finished third in the 100 fly in a season best of 57.16. None of the relay swimmers are seniors.
In the boys' meet, Kremer set a school record in the 100 back, added a second place in the 200 free and swam on two runnerup relay teams to spark the Gators. Kremer broke his own school record in the 100 back in 51.33, an automatic All-American time. He also took second in the 200 free in 1:41.02, another All-American time that also was his personal best (not including club times) while ranking him No. 2 in school history. Kremer also swam legs on the Gators' runnerup 200 free relay (1:28.05) and 400 free relay (3:12.83), both of which clocked season bests. SHP beat perennial CCS champ Bellarmine (3:13.30) in the 400 free relay.
"I didn't have any specific times in mind," said Kremer. "My goals are just to beat what I've gone before."
SHP coaches Kevin Morris and Diane Campbell said that Kremer's improvement has come from him growing taller, stronger and perhaps fitting in and having more fun with the team.
"Last year he was the superstar freshman," Morris said. "This year he's one of the guys."
Said Campbell: "He's having more fun."
Kremer is clearly the team's big point-getter, but he has a strong supporting cast that includes senior David Culpan and juniors Philip Bamberg and Andrew Savage. That foursome made up both relay teams that produced sizzling performances.
Sacred Heart Prep finished third with 138 points, trailing first-place Bellarmine (276.5) and Campolindo (226) of the NCS. Palo Alto was eighth with 102 points. Paly sophomore Byron Sanborn had a solid meet with a third in the 100 breast (a season best of 1:00.44) and a fifth in the 200 IM in another season best of 1:59.34. He also anchored the Vikings' 200 free and 400 free relay squads.