The Las Positas College swim and dive conference championship streak is extended for another year, as the Hawks men’s and women’s teams rose to the occasion, and brought home the fifth consecutive California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Coast Conference championship last weekend.
The Hawks continued their conference dominance under head coach Jason Craighead, who is currently in his tenth year at Las Positas, with some standout individual performances — including a state best 100 free time from men’s captain Esteban Perez Del Rio. The Hawks also swept all five men’s and women’s relay races.
“It’s exciting, and in a way it’s a relief,” Craighead said about how it feels to have secured the fifth consecutive conference championship. “It has always been our goal but it feels like every year that you win, you have even greater expectations for the following year — but we kept things in check and overall, I thought we raced fantastic as a whole.”
The Hawks left no doubts about who deserved to be crowned as the champions by the end of the meet, as the women’s team finished the three-day meet with a total of 636 points — 186 more than the second place San Francisco City College (450).
The men’s team followed suit, finishing with a total of 738 points — 237 more than second placed Chabot (501).
“It was great to see the team race so well,” Craighead said. “There is always uncertainty. You are unsure of how you’re going to perform. But we do our best not to worry about what other people are doing. We just go and do the things that we have been doing.”
LPC’s performance as a collective was capped off by some individual successes, as seven student athletes brought home conference championships in individual events.
One of those individuals was the aforementioned sophomore Esteban Perez Del Rio, who continued his standout season by recording a state topping time (45.09) in the 100 free, which earned him the performance of the meet honor — and also by coming first in the 50 free and 200 free races.
“I felt very anxious going into the meet as I had very high expectations for myself, mainly for the 50 and 100 free,” Perez Del Rio said speaking of his conference meet performances. “I wasn’t where I wanted to be at in terms of times for these races in the prelims, and it sparked a flame in me to try harder and bounce back because I know how hard I have been working this season — and it paid off for me during the final in the 100 free.”
The other Hawk who also managed to bring home three individual conference championships was women’s captain Brooke Christian. The sophomore led the way in the women’s races by finishing first in the 500 free, 200 free and 1650 free.
Speaking on the successes of his captains, Craighead credited the levels of their performances to the preparation that both Perez Del Rio and Brooke have been putting in during their time at Las Positas.
“There really aren’t many individuals that put in more time and effort than they do,” Craighead said. “They were chosen as captains because they lead by example. They are not only standout athletes, but also good leaders and communicators — all of those factors together meant that they were set and ready to race.”
For the Hawks, this was the 11th conference title in nine years of the program, and also an indicator of where they are at in terms of preparation ahead of the CCCAA State Championships that are set to take place in Cupertino on May 3.
In spite of the successful conference meet, Craighead has remained coy on his expectations for the state championships, as he realizes how high the bar is set for his student athletes each year.
“I don’t really have super high expectations,” Craighead said. “I mean of course we want to do well, and we want to win. But most of all, I just want them to represent well.
“Every year we’ve had really good teams and I’ve just been thinking ‘No, it can’t happen again next year.’ But we have some remarkable student athletes who keep finding a way, and who put in the time and commitment to make the jump to the next level. So, we will go in there and just take care of business on our end and see where the results may fall.”