By Austin Turner
The Riverside City College swimming and diving team continued its push towards the top of the Orange Empire Conference standings with a solid showing at the second OEC meet of the season.
The women put up a fantastic performance, placing second in the seven-team field, while the men had a strong showing, taking third. The men and women combined for a second place finish, with Orange Coast College taking first in all three competitions.
Only 15.5 points separated the RCC women’s team from OCC in the battle for first-place. The Tigers finished second with 520 points to OCC’s 535.5.
Freshman Supavee Nilaad was the leading scorer for the Tigers’ women with 25 crucial points. She competed in three events, placing fifth in the 50 freestyle, fourth in the 200 breaststroke and third in the 100 breaststroke.
Other standouts for the RCC women included freshmen Andrionna Gonzalez and Katelin Simonson, who scored 40 and 43 points respectively. Gonzalez had her best race with a fourth place finish in the 100 breaststroke, while Simonson had success in the 100 backstroke, finishing third.
On the men’s side, the Tigers received third place with 467 points. The lone first place finisher for RCC was freshman Javier Bernal, who won a thrilling 200 butterfly race with a time of 1:56.98.
He was able to fend off OCC’s Donny Haden by just .23 seconds. Bernal’s time was the second fastest recorded in state competition in 2018.
Sophomore Daniel Long placed second in the 1650 freestyle at 18:06.03, a personal best by 65 seconds.
“I am excited for Daniel because he has been training like a beast this season and he has the potential to make some noise at Conference Championships,” said head coach Jason Northcott.
The meet was an overall success for RCC. The men and women combined for second place and are in a good position for the conference finals taking place April 19-20.
They will host the RCC Invitational on April 6 atat 11 a.m.. The team is hoping that their rigorous training schedule will pay off in preparation for the OEC finals.
“This meet was all about us working towards a strong push for state and learning about ourselves, how we swim under fatigue and how to gut out swims,” Northcott said. “We just need to train with purpose and discipline through this last phase of the season so that we can maximize our potential when rested and suited in the end.”