COMMERCE, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2018) – Junior Gemma Takahashi (San Jose, Calif. / Leland) of Caltech women's swim & dive became a SCIAC champion for the first time ever on Friday when she edged out a field of eight other swimmers in the 100 Butterfly at the SCIAC Championship meet.
Takahashi got off to a decent start before blazing through the final 50 yards to touch the wall in 56.91, just over a tenth of a second better than her preliminary time. Takahashi re-set the Caltech record she had already broken that morning, breaking her own mark from last year (57.18). The junior also secured All-SCIAC honors last year when she took third place in the same event, though this time she managed to get over the hump and join fellow junior Brittany Percin (Lake Tahoe, Calif. / Stanford Online), who won the 200 Free as a rookie, as a SCIAC champion on the women's side.
The win also secured the women's team a key 22 points, helping the eighth-place Beavers pad their lead on the University of La Verne nd stay within fewer than 50 points of seventh place. With 205 points through three days, Caltech has already exceeded its entire total at last year's championship meet (180) and is only 71 points out of fifth place.
The women kicked off Friday's finals with a big win in the 400 IM 'B' final. Freshman Jessica Sun (York, Penn. / Red Lion Area Senior) bettered her preliminary time by three seconds and cruised to a win in the 'B' race. The freshman's 4:47.46 marked an eight-second improvement on her previous time and improved upon the school record she set earlier in the season. Takahashi's triumph in the 100 Fly followed suit and the junior also participated in the 'B' final of the women's 100 Back. Soon, Percin's turn came up to showcase her talent in the 200 Free and the NCAA hopeful did not disappoint, clinching another trip to the podium with a second-place finish and 'B' cut. The junior added another event to the Beavers' lengthy list of improvements this week when she touched the wall in 1:51.68 for yet another school record after re-setting her own mark as the opening leg of the 800 Free Relay on Wednesday night.
Freshmen Krystin Brown (Lake Forest, Calif. / Trabuco Hills) and Nerys Huffman (Broomfield, Colo. / Peak to Peak Charter) dove the 3-meter preliminaries in the afternoon session and both qualified for finals, which will take place tomorrow afternoon. The duo represents a guaranteed 25 points and still could move up the standings a couple spots. In the swimming prelims, sophomore Angelina Pan (Toronto, Canada / Havergal College) shaved almost 2.5 seconds in the 100 Fly, while freshman Nora Koe (New Hyde Park, N.Y. / Herricks) trimmed just over four in her 100 Breast and classmate Stella Wang (Greensboro, N.C. / North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics) chopped over a second in the 100 Back.
With the 400 Medley Relay looming, the trio of Percin, Takahashi and Sun teamed with Pan to beat out La Verne by three seconds, securing a two-point edge over the Leopards. Junior Teresa Tran (Irvine, Calif. / Northwood), along with Wang, freshman Olivia Durrett (Charlotte, NC / Phillips Academy Andover) and Koe, competed in the 'B' final, finishing ahead of La Verne and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges via disqualification to earn their team an extra six points.
The meet's final day will commence on Saturday at 9 a.m., featuring preliminaries in the 200 Back, 100 Free, 200 Breast, 200 Fly and 1650 Free, followed by the women's 3m finals and the 400 Free Relay in the evening.