By John Philip Wyllie
Chris Sanchez already holds a handful of Bonita Vista High School swimming records. He is arguably the finest swimmer to ever emerge from the South Bay institution in its 37 years of existence. Not content to rest on his laurels, Sanchez is shooting for something really special in this, his senior season: a CIF title. And his chances of gaining one are very good.
“I’ve never been around someone as fast and as committed as Chris Sanchez,” said Baron Coach, Dan Way, “and I have been around aquatics for the last 15 years. He is a year-round swimmer and one that has dedicated himself to the sport. Chris is hoping to win the 100 freestyle and the 200 freestyle in CIF competition this year. He was the runner-up last year and the guy that won it has graduated so he has a good shot at winning those titles.”
Bonita Vista High has produced a lot of talented swimmers over the years, but none quite like Sanchez.
“4:45 (a.m.) practices are no big deal to him,” said Way. “He is in the pool as much as possible. He has a dedication to his swim stroke as well as to the conditioning that comes with it. Chris also has a ton of heart and drive. But what really sets him apart is his technique. At this level you have to have great technique to be as efficient as possible. He has a desire to win every single race and I don’t think he lost a single one last year except for that CIF final.”
Sanchez has literally grown up in the water.
“I’ve had a pool in my back yard since I was a little kid so I grew up swimming. I’ve always loved it. The thrill of being able to compete and knowing that I have accomplished what I have keeps me going and gets me up every morning at 4:00 a.m. to go work out in the pool.”
His determination to be the best does not end when he steps out of the pool. Sanchez ranks among the top students in his class with a unique ability in the area of math and science. He plans to enter college next fall with a major in electrical engineering and a minor in business. He has also taken an active role in student government.
Swimming scholarships are extremely difficult to earn. No one in recent memory has earned one from Bonita Vista High. According to Sanchez only one other swimmer in the entire South Bay has been offered one this year (Eastlake’s exceptional Dani Kimmel). Sanchez has already had two scholarship offers. U.C. Irvine and Boston University are both trying to entice him into their pools. He is also considering the swimming Mecca of U.C. Berkeley.
One thing is certain. Wherever he decides to swim next year Sanchez will make waves.