Mefford leads local contingentBy: Matt Long of the Telegraph
Bryce Mefford had quite a debut at the U.S. Olympic swim trials.
The Oak Ridge High senior placed 22nd in the 100-meter backstroke on June 27 in 55.70 seconds, only 2.48 seconds slower than the fastest qualifier, David Plummer, who ended up taking second place in the finals to earn a spot on the Olympic team.
“Competing here is really spectacular and a cool experience,” Mefford said. “I was in one of the top heats going against guys like Matt Grevers. It’s just an amazing thing to be apart of.”
Considering Mefford has a broken bone and a couple tore ligaments in his left foot, injuries that will require surgery after the trials, he was happy with his first race.
“I was happy with it but I wanted to go a little bit faster and make the semifinals,” he said.
The atmosphere of the Olympic trials has been one of the rewarding parts of the experience, according to Mefford.
“I’ve been to a lot of other meets, but this is definitely one of the most hyped-up environments to be in,” he said. “Everyone is super excited in the crowd. At the warm-up pool, everyone is talking and nice. This event is a cool place to be at.”
In the 200-meter backstroke, Mefford placed 20th in 2:01.21, just 4.92 seconds off of the fastest qualifier for the semifinals.
Mefford finished the swim trials by placing 104th in the 100-meter butterfly in 55.34.
His message to all the young swimmers with aspirations to one day compete at the trials: “If you work hard, it pays off. There’s talent involved, but working hard and putting in dedication – the blood, sweat and tears – that’s what really pays off in the end.”
Mefford was the top finisher of the Folsom and El Dorado Hills’ participants. The next highest finisher, ironically, came in the same events that Mefford competed in. Matthew Klotz, a 2014 graduate of Vista del Lago who just finished his freshman year at Louisiana State University, placed 41st in the 100-meter backstroke in 56.10. He also placed 35th in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:02.54.
Klotz’ sister, Stephanie, placed 109th in the 200-meter breast stroke with a time of 2:38.48. Stephanie is also a graduate of Vista del Lago (2012) and the University of Alabama (2016).
Dylan Kubick, a 2013 Oak Ridge graduate now attending UC Santa Barbara, placed 84th in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:52.86. He also swam in the 200-meter backstroke and posted a time of 2:06.57.
Halladay Kinsey, who recently finished her sophomore year at Folsom High, competed in five events. Kinsey placed 94th in the 200-meter individual medley, posting a time of 2:21.61. She also swam the 400-meter IM (5:02.78), the 200-meter breast stroke (2:38.58) and the 100-meter butterfly (1:02.19).
In the time trials, Kinsey posted a time of 2:18.74 in the 200-meter butterfly.
All of these swimmers either currently or formerly swam with the Sierra Marlins. Other such swimmers competing at the Olympic trials were Granite Bay’s Haley Anderson and Jordan Anderson, Roseville High graduate Whitney Jorgensen and Liam O’Haimhirgin of Bella Vista High School.
Haley Anderson made the Olympic team in the 10-kilometer open water swim, an event she took the silver in at the 2012 Olympics. Anderson also placed seventh in the 800-meter freestyle (8:33.66), ninth in the 400-meter free (4:10.90) and 35th in the 200-meter butterfly (2:15.06).
Jordan Anderson placed 78th in the 400-meter individual medley (4:57.22) and posted a time of 2:22.10 in the 200-meter IM in time trials.
Jorgensen placed 81st in the 400-meter IM (4:57.57) and 121st in the 200-meter breast stroke (2:40.10). She also swam a 1:02.56 in the 100-meter butterfly.
O’Haimhirgin finished 84th in the 100-meter freestyle in 51.74 and also participated in the time trails in the 50-meter free (23.84) and 200-meter free (1:55.40).