By John Philip Wyllie
It has been a magical season for both the Bonita Vista High School Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams. First, both teams scored unexpected regular season league championships. Then that was followed by last weekend’s victories in the Mesa League Finals. Now a quartet of Baron swimmers have the opportunity to further impress in Saturday’s CIF competition.
Baron coach, Steve Wiggs expected senior Tony Arroyo and junior Chris Sanchez to reach the CIF individual finals based on their past performances. More surprising was the success of sophomores Sasha Beltran and Carlos Escaba. All four swimmers captured two individual league championships apiece on Saturday. Arroyo took the 100 butterfly and the 500 freestyle, Sanchez won the 200 IM and the100 freestyle, Beltran finished first in the 200 IM and in the 100 freestyle and Escaba notched victories in the 200 freestyle and in the 100 backstroke. Yesterday, they swam in the CIF prelims knowing that success there would land them a berth in tomorrow’s CIF Finals to be held at Rancho Bernardo High.
This marks the second time that Sanchez has won dual Mesa League titles.
“My goal is to take the 100 backstroke at CIF and hopefully place second again in the 200 freestyle.” Sanchez said. “It would be very difficult to win in the 200 freestyle, the top guy in that event is on the U.S. national team.”
Sanchez, one of the best swimmers to ever emerge from the South Bay school, owns about a half dozen Bonita Vista records. I’ll be back next season and after that I hope to attend UC Berkeley and swim there.”
Sanchez has been able to take some of the lessons he has learned in the pool and apply them to life in general.
“Swimming (requires) a lot of work. It has helped to keep me organized and with things like time management. I’ve met a lot of people through swimming and I’ve been to a lot of places.”
Arroyo missed out on CIF competition a year ago due to ineligibility, but this year he broke several school records including one in the 500 freestyle.
“My goal this weekend is to beat my coach’s (school) record in the 100 butterfly and I would also like to set the bar higher for the 100 freestyle.” Arroyo sees swimming as both relaxing and motivating.
“Swimming is a stress reliever for me. When I get into the pool, I just think of my past races and how I hope to do better in my next one. The goal is always to outperform yourself from your last race. Next year, I hope to swim at Mesa Community College and then transfer to Cal Poly or UC Santa Cruz.”
Arroyo feels like he will be representing the entire South Bay when he knifes through the water this weekend.
“I’m currently ranked seventh in the county in both of my events and only the top six go to Saturday’s CIF Finals. My goal is to finish as one of the top three. North County swimmers don’t think that we have good aquatics down here in the South Bay. So, I’d like to go up there and shock them and show them that we have some pretty good swimmers down here as well.”