SWIMMING: Mustangs account for nine league titles

Gilroy's Christina Collett swims the 200 yard freestyle race Thursday afternoon taking first for the TCAL title.

As has been the case over the past two seasons, the Gilroy High swim team entered the Tri-County Athletic League finals at Everett Alvarez High School with just a handful of varsity swimmers. Low numbers, though, haven’t hindered the Mustangs in regard to individual accomplishments. That trend remained true Friday in Salinas.

Gilroy High accounted for nine league championship swims – two relays – as the girls squad placed third. Salinas won both the boys and girls team titles.

“Actually I was really happy with today,” said Gilroy’s lone varsity boys representative, senior Michael Shields, who missed all of last season. “I thought I did good. I was right there with my times.”

Shields, who had already qualified for the Central Coast Section qualifier meet in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 free earlier this season, wrapped up league championships in both events Friday. Shields bested opponents with a blistering 22.60 in the 50 and 50.03 in the 100.

“I’m kind of sad that I am the only guy this year,” Shields said. If I just had three other guys to do relays with. Last year I didn’t swim because I was sick. That was a our last year of a relay because everyone graduated. This year with the girls, I just try to cheer them up and help them get their best times.”

And speaking of the girls, the already CCS-bound 200 medley relay squad of Kim Davis, Michelle Shields, Anna Brolin and Christina Collett clocked a 1:55.89 – a school record by two seconds – in that race for a TCAL title. The foursome returned to the pool later in the afternoon and won gold in the 400 free relay, winnings the discipline by more than 11 seconds.

“We haven’t gone that fast ever, so we were really happy,” Brolin said. “It was adrenaline, mostly.”

Brolin, a sophomore, garnered individual titles in the 100 butterfly (1:00.03) and 100 breaststroke (1:10.23) She will compete in both at next week’s CCS championships Friday and Saturday at Santa Clara International Swim Center.

“It means a lot because it was a lot of work to try and do that. I’m proud of myself,” Brolin added.

Michelle Shields and Caitlin Schafer of San Benito treated onlookers to one of the more thrilling finishes of the day in the 50 free. Schafer (25.60) narrowly out-touched the GHS senior (25.67) for first. Shields, though, who has CCS spots locked in both the 50 and 100, took the league title in the latter with a 56.22.

“I was very pleased with our swimmers efforts at the meet,” GHS head coach Tom Clark said.

Brittney Malick placed high in her two events and Taylor Kaufman, though she did not place, had her two best times, Clark added.

Collett was first in the 200 free (2:07.10) and third in the 500 free (5:55.33). Fellow Mustang Davis took first in that event with her 5:37.16. Davis also finished runner-up in the 100 backstroke with a 1:04.31, which made the cut for CCS.

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