Watching Dan Jorgensen and Kim Brown walk across the Mission Viejo High School campus, you get the impression that they are remarkable for being, well, so unremarkable.
Jorgensen could easily pass for a surfer type and Brown, who likes ice cream sundaes, "The Cosby Show," and actor Tom Cruise--but not necessarily in that order--seems to be your typical 16-year-old sophomore.
Initially, it is difficult to distinguish Jorgensen and Brown from their peers at the school campus on Chrisanta Drive, but one look at their athletic records will show that they are distinguished by a special kill.
This particular skill has taken Jorgensen to China, Hawaii, West Germany and Monte Carlo and Brown to Japan, Brazil and Monaco.
What Jorgensen and Brown do is swim, and swim well. Of course, this being Mission Viejo, that's not quite so unusual in and of itself.
But they are so good at what they do that they would have their athletic futures assured even if they didn't swim at the high school level.
Fortunately, for prep swimming in general and the Mission Viejo program in particular, Jorgensen and Brown did choose to participate in high school athletics, and everybody involved seems to be the richer for it.
In May, Jorgensen and Brown led the Mission Viejo boys' and girls' swim teams to the Southern Section 4-A championships, marking the 12th consecutive section title for the Diablo boys and the 11th consecutive title for the Diablo girls.
For their roles in winning the titles, Jorgensen and Brown are The Times' Swimmers of the Year.
Brown won the girls' 200-yard (1:48.52) and 500-yard (4:43.25) freestyle events, edging Fountain Valley's Debbie Babashoff in both races. She also anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Jorgensen won the boys' 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:38.47. Jorgensen also came in first in the 500-yard freestyle, but was disqualified for swimming in the wrong lane because of a mixup in lane assignments. He also anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay. Despite losing points on the disqualification, the Diablos still beat second-place Capistrano Valley by a comfortable 198-154 margin.
It didn't come as a surprise to anybody familiar with county swimming that Jorgensen and Brown won those races.
Jorgensen holds the boys' school and section record in 500-yard freestyle (4:19.47) and Brown the same records for the girls' race (4:40.04).
Even though the prep season ended more than a month ago, these Diablos have been swimming right into the summer, each training for the World Championship trials later this month in Orlando, Fla.
Each swam with the Nadadores, but they have since moved on to other clubs for their off-season training.
Jorgensen, an 18-year-old senior who will attend USC on a swimming scholarship in the fall, swims for the Rancho Bernardo Swim Club in San Diego.
Said Jorgensen: "My father coaches the team, so it seemed like it would be ideal to train there. Swimming at Mission Viejo was fun because it seemed like every year everybody was trying to beat us, but I'm looking forward to starting at USC, too."
Brown is swimming for the Irvine Novas while she trains for the trials, but the excitement of competing on the high school level is not lost on her, either.
Said Brown: "I thought it (the Southern Section final) was fun just because we beat Capistrano Valley for the title."
The Cougars, among other county programs, have made vast strides in swimming, but Mission Viejo is still the measuring stick for quality in the sport.
To win a section title, you still have to beat the Diablos. It's not an altogether easy task, especially when the program has the services of swimmers like Dan Jorgensen and Kim Brown.