The Southern Section finals might not have been the biggest meet in which Bart Kizierowski has competed, but it certainly was the loudest.
Kizierowski, a junior at Mission Viejo High, dominated the Division I finals, winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, and was named swimmer of the meet. But aside from the accolades and victories, what caught the Polish swimmer's attention was the noise at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.
"I heard it would be loud," said Kizierowski, The Times Orange County swimmer of the year, "but I had no idea it would be like this ."
Kizierowski won the 50 free in 20.58 seconds and the 100 free in 44.44. He also competed on two winning relay teams. His anchor swim in the 200 free relay and his leadoff swim in the 400 free relay were crucial to two of the Diablos' three victories in the relays.
While just shy of a section record in the 50 free, Kizierowski was humble about his victory and appeared more interested in the hoopla that surrounds the section swim finals.
At last year's Division I finals, where all eyes focused on the feats of another foreign swimmer--Turkey's Derya Buyukuncu--the same excitement anticipated Kizierowski's performance in last month's finals. But unlike Buyukuncu, who seemed determined to break every record in sight, Kizierowski was simply happy to participate.
"I'm just glad I have the chance to compete against these fine athletes," he said after he won the 100 free. "There are some very good swimmers here, and if I would have gotten a record, that would have been nice. But that's OK."
An exchange student, Kizierowski arrived in Mission Viejo in 1993. He lives in Laguna Hills with his host family, the Manzanos, and trains with the Mission Viejo Nadadores. He is preparing for the 1996 Olympics, in which he hopes to represent Poland.
Already an experienced big-meet swimmer, this was Kizierowski's first competitive high school season. He was unable to participate as a sophomore because of residence requirements.
Kizierowski, who will return to Poland this summer and compete in the European Championships, says he'll be back at Mission Viejo in the fall for his senior year.
And maybe some records will fall at the section finals in 1996, though he would be the last to make this prediction.