Entering the month of April, 11 members from the Los Gatos High boys and girls swimming teams had earned Central Coast Section individual qualifying times.
That number is sure to go up by the time of the section championships, and from there a select few have a shot of making the CIF State Championships in May. The Wildcats returned five swimmers who participated in last year’s state meet, including sophomore Ava Taylor, juniors Ewan Lonergan and Karly Frangieh, and seniors Lily van Putten and Katy Hawk.
The team has also been bolstered by the addition of key freshmen in Mathijs Dirven on the boys side and Kiana Koechlin on the girls team. Koechlin has qualified for five individual CCS events, tied for the second best mark on the team along with Hawk and Taylor.
Frangieh has hit a team-best six CCS cutoff times: in the 200-yard freestyle, the 200 individual medley (IM), 50 free, 100 butterfly, 100 free and 100 backstroke. The exhaustive list is a testament to Frangieh’s diverse skill set and talent.
A year ago, Frangieh had a pair of seventh-place finishes at CCS in the 100 and 200 free, nailing State Consideration qualifying times. Frangieh and Hawk were also on the girls 200- and 400-yard free relay teams that advanced to State, Van Putten on the 200 and Taylor the 400.
Last year, the 200 relay team took fifth in the CCS Finals in 1 minute, 37.11 seconds, earning them a No. 16 seed for State. Frangieh, who enjoyed a standout water polo season last fall and ranked among the section’s goal-scoring leaders, hit a State Consideration Qualification time in the 200 free early in the season.
That means even if she doesn’t finish in the top two in the CCS Championships—only the top two from each event earn automatic berths to State—she’ll most likely get a spot based on time.
“Karly certainly has the potential to make State again,” Wildcats coach Jim Deming said. “Kiana might have the potential to get there as well. She is very versatile so it’s kind of up to her what she wants to swim [at CCS]. She’s very talented.”
The same goes for Taylor, who has nailed CCS qualifying times in five individual events, including the 500 free, where she finished 13th in last year’s section finals.
“Ava is in the same situation with Karly and Kiana—she’ll have her choice of which events she wants to swim in CCS,” Deming said.
Hawk also has CCS qualifying times in five events—the 50, 100 and 200 free along with the 100 fly and 200 IM—and Joshua Naim three CCS cuts. In addition to the swimmers already mentioned, Mathew Cheang, Karissa Elliott, Tyler Newton and Connor Sullivan have all hit CCS qualifying times. All six relay teams—three each from the boys and girls teams—have hit section cutoff times, established in the very first meet of the season.
Deming said there’s a good possibility the girls 200 and 400 free relay teams will break the school record by season’s end. That’s because with standouts including Frangieh, Koechlin, Hawk, Taylor, van Putten and Elliott, Los Gatos has a diverse pool of talent prepared to produce fast times.
Junior divers Maddy Wong and Ava Lazovsky advanced to the CCS Championships in 2022 and are on track to do it again this season, Deming said. Lonergan swam a 56.25 in the 100 breaststroke to take third place in last year’s CCS Championships, along with a ninth-place finish in the 200 IM.
Lonergan also swam the second fastest leg for his stroke in the 200 medley relay last year with Naim, Newton and Santiago Jackson. Lonergan dealt with injuries early in the season but Deming expects him to come on strong in the closing stretch of the season.
“Ewan is naturally gifted and swims year-round for Quicksilver,” Deming said. “He’s on their national team and is quite fast.”
Deming has been pleased with the times the Los Gatos swimmers have posted and expects them to peak once again toward the postseason.
“We aim at the end of the year for leagues,” he said. “It’s not so much about winning duel meets, but it’s making progress toward our season-end goals and the teams seem to be doing really well toward their objectives for the end of year.”