Tyler Clark didn't make any predictions following his impressive performance Wednesday at the City Section swimming preliminaries at USC.
Clark, a senior at Granada Hills High, posted the top qualifying times in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 butterfly, and has a good chance to become only the second boy since 1993 to break a section record, but he remained mum about those possibilities.
"I've just always been superstitious," he said.
Clark has good reason to be cautious. As a sophomore, he narrowly won the 200 individual medley after the goggles worn by favorite Brian Brown of Woodland Hills El Camino Real slipped down his face during the race. Clark was able to overtake Brown at the end, just missing the City Section record of 1:55.22 set by Jeff Kline of Granada Hills Kennedy in 1982.
Clark was looking forward to breaking the record last spring, but his season ended the week before preliminaries when he broke a foot playing basketball. Without him, Granada Hills still ended Venice's streak of six consecutive City titles.
Clark, who swims for Canyons Aquatics, returned to the preliminaries Wednesday and looked sharp. He won his heat in the 200 individual medley in 1:58.64, nearly 13 seconds faster than the next qualifier. Clark said he hopes to break 1:54 in the finals Wednesday at USC, which would be enough to surpass Kline's record.
Clark, who will swim for Rutgers next fall, is competing in the butterfly for the first time at the section championships. He produced the top mark of 52.18, within striking distance of the meet record of 50.77, set by El Camino Real's Tom Liliekis in 1984. Clark also helped the Highlanders earn top qualifying honors in the 400 freestyle relay (3:32.53).
Clark's performances, along with a disqualification by Palisades in the 200 medley relay for leaving the blocks too early, should keep the boys' team race close.
Palisades emerged as the girls' team to beat for the second consecutive season. The Dolphins broke a record in the 200 freestyle relay. Shira Frankel, Caitlin Owens, Laura Johnson and Cara Davidoff combined to swim 1:41.50, breaking the mark of 1:42.01 set by Granada Hills in 1999.
Downey Warren 1, Long Beach Wilson 0--Morgan Sanchez (10-5) pitched a two-hitter and Nicole Sheldon's run-scoring single in the third inning provided the difference for Warren (16-7) in a Southern Section Division I wild-card game at Wilson (15-11).
Glendale Hoover 4, Oxnard Hueneme 1-- Daisy Barcena hit a grand slam with two out in the top of the eighth inning to give the Tornadoes (14-13) a wild-card victory against the visiting Vikings in the Division I playoffs.
Anna Schnitger (12-12) pitched a three-hitter, striking out five, walking three and allowing one unearned run. Schnitger started the two-out rally in the eighth with a walk, followed by Kathleen Martinez's infield single. After Xiomara Ferretti walked to load the bases, Barcena hit a deep fly ball over the right fielder's head for the game-winning grand slam. Hueneme scored in the bottom of the eighth on an error.
San Jacinto 1, Covina 0--Alyssa Winslow (17-6) struck out 18 in a three-hit shutout as the Tigers (18-6) won a wild-card game against Covina (10-12) in the Division IV playoffs.
Alisa Schlosser scored on a two-out single by Nicole Van Eklenburg in the bottom of the fifth inning. Winslow, a sophomore, has 240 strikeouts in 149 innings this season.
Woodland Hills El Camino Real 6, Van Nuys Birmingham 5--Jeremy Boyle drove in the deciding run and Daniel Lee and Christian Harriot each had two-run home runs to lead El Camino Real (25-4, 12-1) to a victory in its West Valley League finale.
Birmingham (23-5, 9-4) finished in second place after Chatsworth (23-5, 8-5) lost, 4-3, to Cleveland. Jeremy Boyle broke a 5-5 tie with a run-scoring single.