The International Swim Meet is a long standing tradition at Santa Clara’s International Swim Center. The annual event attracts some of the top professional and amateur swimming talent on the West Coast and has for decades.
“Santa Clara has such a rich tradition of swimming excellence. I’m almost 60 and I remember when I came as a 12-year-old and swam for the first time and Tim Shaw broke the American record and it was on Wide World of Sports,” said Teri McKeever, the Head Coach the Cal Women’s Swim Team.
“Obviously, there are some logistical things that make it nice for us to be able to come here, but it’s always attracted high caliber athletes,” continued McKeever. “[It’s] an important part of our national and international preparation during the summers.”
“It’s an interesting time for us,” said Greg Meehan, the head coach of the Stanford Women’s Swim Team. “For our pros, it makes sense because it’s a good local meet. For our undergrads…they’re taking advantage of the opportunity to race…It’s a great opportunity to continue to work on things.”
The meet was held June 6 – 9. Among the swimmers in attendance were two-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel and five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
Ledecky won the 400m Freestyle with a 3:59.28 time. That’s the top time in the world this year according to Swimming World Magazine. Meanwhile, Manuel posted a pair of season bests in the 100m Freestyle and 50m Freestyle.
Santa Clara Swim Club Head Coach Allison Beebe coached Manuel back in Texas, when Manuel was just 11 years old. Beebe still has a chance to connect with the now 22-year-old, who currently attends Stanford University.
“She’s a good kid. She’s still a kid. I know she’s in her 20s, she’s still a kid,” said Beebe with a laugh. “She’s amazing giving back to the younger generation.”
And that younger generation is benefiting from gaining an up-close look at swimmers like Manuel and Ledecky.
“They’re inspired even swimming in the same pool as Simone Manuel or Katie Ledecky,” said Beebe. “They’re inspired by it and they get to learn a lot and hopefully start realizing they’re getting closer to following in those footsteps.”
Among the younger swimmers competing at the meet was George Liu of Almaden’s Quicksilver Swim Team. Liu just graduated from Leland High School and will attend UC San Diego in the fall, but he was happy to have another chance to swim with his teammates.
“It’s really fun, especially with my teammates,” said Liu. “It’s really fun to compete.”
A number of swimmers from the Santa Clara Swim Club had a strong showing at the meet including:
- Matthew Chung, 2nd Men’s 800m Freestyle; 2nd Men’s 400m Individual Medley (IM); 3rd Men’s 200m Butterfly; 2nd Men’s 200m IM;
- Tianyi Zhang, 3rd Men’s 200m Backstroke;
- Kyler Van Swol, 2nd Men’s 50m Butterfly;
- Nicole Oliva, 3rd Women’s 200m Freestyle.