Chargers dominate Channel League swim championships

There was no doubt who ruled the pool at Friday’s Channel League Swimming Championships.

Dos Pueblos won by more than 130 points in both the boys and girls varsity competitions, pulling down some four meet records and winning every varsity event (except for diving) on the girls side. Ventura was second while Santa Barbara was third in both boys and girls competition.

“We’re really lucky. I don’t know if it’s the pool or kinda the reputation, but we’re pretty lucky to have the kids we do,” said Chargers girls coach Leslie Wiggins-Roth. “A lot of them are club swimmers, and it says a lot about your program when people are attracted to your school or want to be there.”



Michelle Dockendorf reset her own meet record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.16, and was on two of the three record-setting Charger relay teams. She swam on the 400 free relay squad (3:34.05) with Kiley Neushul, Emily Rose Williams and Janelle Nguyen, as well as the 200 medley relay (1:50.39) with Sami Hill, Nguyen and Madison Faulkner.

The Chargers also broke the record in the 200 free relay (1:39.52) thanks to Williams, Faukner, Hill and Neushul. Dockendorf, a senior competing in her last Channel League meet, almost broke another record, falling just 0.44 seconds of Adrienne Binder’s 2002 mark in the 200 IM.

“I missed it for good! I didn’t really know about that one until today, so I wasn’t shooting for it or anything,” she said. “It was still my best time, so it’s nice to go into CIF with that. I’m really happy with how I swam today, especially since I just started to taper.”

The DP boys side was dominant as well. Coach Chris Parrish highlighted Derek Shoemaker, who has dropped six seconds off of his best in the 200 free just this week. Sprinter Chase Racich won the 50 and 100 freestyle races and teamed up with Darrell Eacret, Kevin Cappon and Christian Terpening to win the 200 medley relay. The DP 400 freestyle relay of Josh Pighetti, Theo Coyne, Nolan Gardener and Racich also came out on top, while Christian Terpening won the 100 breast in 1:02.10. Sjors Van Alphen won the grueling 500 free and Darrell Eacret took the 100 backstroke.

The start of the boys 4×100 relay race (Photos courtesy of Peter Trabucco)

What’s scary for the rest of the league is that the Chargers are filled with freshmen — and even some freshmen like Nguyen and Faulkner — who are winning at the varsity level.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys. We’re gonna be even deeper next year,” said Parrish of his boys team. “We have a league where we see each other all the time in water polo and swimming, so the rivalry always stands. Our guys, they’ll train hard enough to beat the other guys. That’s one thing that I like about the blue-collar attitude out at DP. We’re willing to put in more work than the other teams to win. Hopefully that keeps going. I can’t say for sure, but hopefully.”

The rivalry he was specifically referring to was the one with Santa Barbara High, which was the aquatics powerhouse in the conference up until recently. Dons coach Mark Walsh noted that all but four of his boys swimmers are underclassmen, but he also sees the loads of young talent in the pool for the Chargers.

“I see a lot of fast guys out there in the JV for them and a lot of quick sophomores, so I don’t see their reign ending anytime soon, but I’ll definitely be happy when I see the junior class from DP graduate. I’ll go to their graduation,” he joked.

Walsh highlighted Evan Robertson and Mark Davis for their big personal-bests, but it was Arizona State-bound senior Karl Boscacci who did most of Santa Barbara’s damage on the boys side. He won the 200 IM by seven seconds and won the 100 butterfly over Eacret in a race that was neck-and-neck until the final 25 meters. He also anchored the Dons’ 400 free relay squad that finished just behind DP.

Boscacci trains with Eacret at Santa Barbara Swim Club, and said he was worried that Eacret would beat him in the 100 butterfly, because Boscacci had already swam the 200 IM.

“Going into the race I was pretty scared, because I knew that Darrell was fresh and I had already swam. Plus he works harder than me at club, so I was really surprised I was able to beat him out because he’s a very good swimmer,” he said.

But that thought was perhaps just Boscacci being humble, as evidenced when Racich was asked about the Dons’ star.

“Oh my gosh, that guy’s ridiculous. He is insane… He’s gonna do really well in CIF,” he said.

While San Marcos didn’t have any league champions, there was a lot of pride on the pool-deck for the Royals. Girls coach Brian Roth was the most animated and vocal of all the coaches, and he was extremely happy to have 18 swimmers competing after only three made it past the prelims in his first year, six years ago.

“I would say that this is definitely one of my best swimming seasons ever,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier, to be honest with you… We don’t have any club swimmers, just a bunch of kids who came out as freshmen and decided they wanted to be something better.”

He was switching off with Wiggins-Roth, his wife, in holding their brand-new baby boy, Indiana. At just 10 weeks old, he has already made his debut in the pool (see below).

Roth felt that the swimmer of the meet for the Royals was Emilia Wakamatsu, who picked up personal-bests in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM. He also highlighted Sarah Thwing, Flo Chardon and Zoe Kirker.

The Royal boys were led by John Errico, who took fifth in the 100 backstroke.