SWM: Valente breaks CIF Southern Section record

Alex Valente - Swimming

Alex Valente (Presidio Sports File Photo)


Often times elite athletes have an insatiable hunger that drives them to the top. Alex Valente’s record-breaking swim at Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Championships fulfilled expectations but didn’t totally satisfy the Dos Pueblos junior, who set a new Southern Section record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 46.69 seconds.

“After my 100 fly at finals, I was unexpectedly unsatisfied,” Valente said. “For whatever reason, I felt that I could have done better and that I wasn’t truly reaching my full potential at this time of the season. But when it comes down to it, I’m really happy about the race. I went in confident knowing that I had trained for this moment and that if I did what I’d been preparing for I would break the record.”


Valente’s first split off the blocks was 21.88 and 24.81 on the return length. When he touched he said he had a good idea that he had succeeded in beating the record set last year by Kyle Gornay.

“When I finished I was pretty confident that I had done it even before I saw the scoreboard.” Valente explained. “The sound of the crowd and the way the race went, I could tell and, therefore, the initial shock of breaking the record wasn’t much of a shock at all and more of a relief that I had done what I was supposed to do.”

The first person to congratulate Valente on the record was Gornay, who didn’t swim in the 100 fly but won the 100 backstroke and was second in the 100 free. Gornay is a senior at Redlands High School.

“What really made the race for me was when I exited the pool, Kyle Gornay was the first person there behind the blocks to shake my hand and congratulate me,” Valente recalled. “It was great having someone who, in a way, I look up to, congratulate me on beating him.”

Valente, a junior, swam 47.41 last year at finals as a sophomore, finishing second to Gornay’s record-setting time of 46.83. At this year’s championships, Valente beat out University’s Corey Okubo and Edison’s Wade Nelson.

Valente also competed in the 100 backstroke and finished 8th in 50.50.

Several other Chargers were competing on Saturday at Riverside College.

Junior Walker Bell tied for 5th in the 500 freestyle with La Canada’s Dane Bell in a time of 4:30.75.

Senior Shannon Cleary qualified in the 50 and 100 free, finishing 9th overall in both races. Cleary added a sixth place result in the 400 free relay, anchoring a team that included junior Reagan Eickert, senior Nicole Berari, and senior Maelyn Adornetto.