In spite of injuries, Santa Monica College (SMC) men’s swimming and diving team placed seventh at the State Championships this month at De Anza College in Cupertino.
The Corsairs won second place in the 400-medley relay, and third in the 200-medley relay. All five freestyles were All-American. Oliver Kabilka won third place in the 100-meter butterfly. Colin Casey won second place in the 100-meter butterfly and first place in the 200-meter butterfly.
“That’s his [Casey’s] best event…He’s been really close to winning a state championship and he finally does in his last event. So the 200-butterfly, he finally pulled it off,” said Head Coach Brian Eskridge. “Had an amazing swim. And, you know, got his state championship that we’ve been waiting for for two years.”
Matt Holt, who was the top-seeded swimmer in the mile event, was out with a concussion, while Alonso Escobido had a shoulder injury.
On the women’s side, the Corsairs placed sixteenth. “They did really well,” Eskridge said. “Best girls’ team we’ve had in a while.” Shayna Simmer won second place in the 400-meter individual medley, and Melissa de la Cruz became SMC’s first female diver to qualify in years.
“It’s my second year with the girls. We’re rebuilding, and just for them to just be all part of it and just have a really good year. It’s been a really special year for me,” Eskridge said.
In addition to being selected as the Western State Conference Head Coach of the Year last month, Eskridge has been offered a full-time aquatics position at SMC after ten years of being a part-time staff member.
Eskridge offered a positive retrospective on the season.
“It was really, really successful…It was kind of what we’ve been building to the last few years, just kind of getting better and better each year and the kids just put in a ton of work. They know, for the guys, how close we were last year to winning conference and they just put in the work to make sure we got the job done this year … A nice ending to real special year.”
This story is published as part of a partnership between the SMC Corsair Student newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press