Piedmont Swim Team swimmers qualify for Sectionals meet

L to R: Owen Blanford, Cole Carnazzo, Jonathan Dong, Asher Takazawa, Nathan Judy, Coach Stefan Bill, Josie Oesterer

Teams from all over Nevada and California competed in the 2023 CA/NV Winter Speedo Sectionals on Dec. 14-17 in Huntington Beach. 

“To compete at this meet swimmers must achieve qualifying times and these swimmers are on their way to being recruited to swim in college once they are in their junior and senior years in high school,” said Head Coach Stefan Bill. “It takes years of dedication, focus, and hard work,” he said. “Most athletes competing at Sectionals barely take any days off from swimming, swim 1-2 times per day, and make swimming, next to academics, their number one priority in life,” said Bill. While the Piedmont Swim Team has sent swimmers to Sectionals before, Bill said this is the youngest group to compete.

“Our 4×100 freestyle relay with Nathan Judy, Owen Blanford, Asher Takazawa, and Jonathan Dong was fun to watch. The swimmers did well and swam above and beyond their expectations,” Bill said. He recapped their performances:

Owen Blanford, a junior at PHS, had a superb meet. He dropped a lot of time in all of his events and improved his ranking by 50 places on average coming into the meet. His best event was the 200 free, where he dropped over 3 seconds from a time achieved just one week prior.

Cole Carnazzo, a freshman at PHS, had an amazing meet as well. His best event was the 200 breaststroke where he dropped over 2 seconds from his personal best time. He swam great in all of his races, but shined during the breaststroke events, improving his ranking coming in by 40 places. 

Asher Takazawa, a freshman at PHS, came into the meet injured. However, he still managed to come close to his personal best time in the 100 back and dropped time in the 50 and 100 free. I was impressed with his attitude and focus, managing his injury while performing at a high level. 

Josie Oesterer, a senior at PHS, had great backstroke races (100 and 200). Josie started the season with a heavy academic and college application workload. However, I’m still impressed with her practice attendance; she came close to her best times at the meet. As team captain, she inspired and motivated our younger swimmers and shined in “pumping” the swimmers up for our 4×100 freestyle relay. The boys can thank her for their outstanding performance during that relay.”

This was the first time for all of these swimmers to compete at the Sectional Championships. 

“We have a few more swimmers at PST that are super close to making the cut, which makes the future of PST (and hopefully the soon-to-be-finished home pool) very bright and exciting,” said Bill.

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