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Berkeley High swimmers dominate Encinal Jets

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday April 17, 2002

The Berkeley High swimming team continued their undefeated ACCAL run with a win over Encinal on Tuesday, making the ’Jackets 3-0 in league meets. 

Berkeley claimed victories in 20 of the 24 varsity races against the Jets, and four Berkeley swimmers won two events apiece. Nick Easterday won the 50- and 100-meter freestyles, while Ariel Nikzad took first place in the 500 freestyle and 100-meter breaststroke, and the two were also part of Berkeley’s winning 200-yard medley relay and 400-meter freestyle relay teams.  

The 400 free relay was the day’s most exciting race, with the ’Jackets falling behind on the first leg before Nikzad came back to take the lead in the third leg, handing anchor Dominic Cathey a 10-meter margin of error to bring it home. 

On the girls’ side, Amy Jagust won the 200 freestyle and 100-meter butterfly and Gretchen Arnason won the 50 and 500 freestyles. 

Tuesday’s meet was held under a foggy sky, with intermittent rain keeping the swimmers in the practice pool and spectators in the clubhouse. Berkeley head coach Keith Brooks said the weather put a damper on the ’Jackets’ performances. 

“It’s not so much the rain as the cold and wind,” Brooks said. “It’s a biting wind, and it makes it hard to loosen up.” 

Brooks’ team is in the middle of a grueling stretch of five meets in a little more than two weeks. But rather than worry about his swimmers getting tired, Brooks sees the constant competition as a motivator. 

“We haven’t had to worry about the fatigue factor in the past. I think the kids are pretty stoked up to swim so much,” he said. “The only issue is the scheduling problem. Other things in their lives tend to conflict with swimming.” 

With three league meets left, including a final date with a strong Alameda squad, and the ACCAL championship meet starting May 3, the ’Jackets are quickly rounding into their top form. But Brooks thinks his team’s best swimming is still ahead. 

“We’re still working towards our peak,” he said. “Hopefully that peak will come at the league championships.”