SWIMMING: Short-handed GHS falls to San Benito

The Gilroy High girls varsity swimming team touched in first place in seven out of 11 races against visiting San Benito in a Tri-County Athletic League dual meet on a rainy Friday.

But the Balers’ depth as a squad ultimately sank the Mustangs, 102-61.

“The girls swam great,” Gilroy head coach Tom Clark said. “The problem is, we just don’t have any depth.”

Because of the Mustangs’ lack of depth, the Balers dashed away with the contest. The closest race of the day pitted the teams’ 200  freestyle relay. Both the San Benito and Gilroy foursomes clocked times that qualified them into the Central Coast Section meet later in the season.

In Friday’s race, the final leg between San Benito’s Caitlin Schafer and Gilroy’s Michelle Shields came down to inches. Schafer pulled away at the final moments.

San Benito’s team of Schafer, Rachel Estep, Haley Larson and Katarina Ortiz finished with a time of 1:46.87. Shields’ team with Christina Collett, Anna Brolin, Kim Davis finished with a time of 1:47.07.

Shields, though, took first in 100 free (58.29) and 50 free (26.24) to help lead the Mustangs.

San Benito’s Alex Varga (200 individual medley) and Estep (100 backstroke) won the only individual races for the Balers.

“They actually did great,” Schafer said. “It was cold. It was obviously bad weather. I didn’t want to lay everything out with the girls. We didn’t put our best necessarily races forward. So when we go to TCALs we will be shifting things around. I wanted to see other things today. So they had a great meet.”

On the boys side, Gilroy, again, was outmatched by San Benito’s depth.

With only one varsity swimmer – Michael Shields – Gilroy competed in only two races.

In Gilroy’s only varsity races, Shields made sure the Mustangs would get some points.  Shields competed against San Benito’s Quinn Six in the 50 free and beat San Benito’s swimmer for the first time.

Six and Shields were even through most of the quick race, but Shields finished just ahead of Six with a time of 22.76. Six finished with a time of 23.18.

“For me it’s always been, I’ve always swam against him and he has always been one step ahead of me,” Shields said. “It feels good to finally out-touch him. For me, it feels good to be able to know I have that ability to go that hard.”

Shields also took first in the 100 Free with a time of 51.62.

In the other nine races San Benito took first, but didn’t record a CCS qualifying time.

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