In her home pool on the biggest stage in the final meet of the year, Abby Samansky knew she had to dig deep and change her mindset after her disappointing first swim.
In short, she relaxed and simply had fun.
Samansky, hoping to swim in the 1:46 range in her 200 free race that saw her finish fourth in 1:48.53, came back to post a PR in the 100 free (49.99) where she placed sixth and ended the CIF Swim and Dive State Championships at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex with four total medals, including two in the 200 and 400 free relays.
“I put the 200 behind me and made my focus medaling in the 100 – it was just about having fun,” Samansky, a junior, said. “Overall, I had a strong meet – you can’t have an amazing meet every single time.”
Samansky broke the Central Section record in the 200 free at the Valley meet with a time of 1:47.79 then went 1:47.69 in the state prelims.
Samansky teamed with sophomore Jordan Gruce, junior Lexie Voice and senior Caitlyn Snyder in the 200 free relay to tie for third (1:34.21) and the 400 free relay (3:26.87) was good for sixth place.
Santa Margarita won both the 200 free relay (1:32.44) and 400 (3:19.56), both state records.
The best Clovis Unified performance in the meet came from Clovis junior Averee Preble in the 500 freestyle (4:48.93), despite battling a nasty cold.
“I was pretty worried going in,” Preble said about being sick. “But after prelims I was OK.”
After finishing 14th in state last year (5:00.54) she improved dramatically, with room to grow.
“I am really happy, it gives me a lot of hope for next year knowing that I can go faster when healthy,” Preble said. “Overall it felt really good, I am really happy about third [place].”
The 500 race is certainly an exercise in mental strength as well as physical.
“I had to pace myself – I couldn’t go out too fast because I’d just die at the end,” Preble added. ”I definitely wanted to go for it and wanted to see what I can do, I wanted to get in the zone and race.”
After winning its 22nd Central Section championship in a row a week earlier, the Clovis West girls team finished eight overall in state with 97 points.
The Clovis North boys 200 free relay team of senior Michael Jia, sophomore Bodhi Bowden, junior Cole Fleming and junor Benjamin Forbes finished fourth at 1:23.44, the highest finish among the local boys.
Forbes, a junior, placed eight in the 200 free (1:39.22).
The two-day event, held every year at Clovis West since its inception in 2015, drew an estimated 5,000 people and over 600 athletes. The meet director is Clovis West swim coach Adam Reid.
Other Clovis Unified athletes qualifying for the final day include: Ky Duyong (FR), Buchanan, diving; Ben Forbes (JR), Clovis North, 100 and 200 free; Michael Jia (SR), Clovis North, 100 butterfly; Caitlyn Snyder (SR), Clovis West, 100 and 50 free; Austin Lane (FR), Clovis West, 100 backstroke.
“I was proud of how the Clovis Unified athletes competed this weekend,” Samansky added. “It was fun to get to know all of them better and grow as a team.”