The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
After touting an exceptional men’s team for two years, this year marks the emergence of the College of San Mateo women’s swimming team.
The Lady Bulldogs earned 10 gold medals at the Coast Conference championships last Thursday-Saturday at Las Positas College, with freshman Erica Vong being named the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer. Previous CSM women to win Most Outstanding Swimmer at the annual meet are Miya Ota (2013 and ’14) and Andrea Chan (2009).
Sophomore Morgan Smith’s gold-medal swim in the 100 butterfly being named top performance of the meet.
“We were boy dominant for the past two years, and this year we’re girl dominant,” CSM head coach Randy Wright said. “It’s just the transfer of power.”
Vong captured six gold medals — including individual wins in the 200 individual medley (2 minutes, 10.77 seconds), and the 100 and 200 backstroke (56.54 seconds; 2:04.44) — and was the only women’s swimmer at the three-day meet to go undefeated in her individual matches. Her time in the 200 back set a new Coast Conference record.
Smith took home four gold medals, highlighted by her conference-record swim in the 100 fly (57.67 seconds). She also shared in three relay wins with Vong, Gabby Montoya and Brittani Byrne — all for conference records — in the 200 freestyle relay (1:38.92); the 400 medley relay (4:00.77); and the 200 medley relay (1:49.58).
Wright said the star power of Vong and Smith is due to their stealth attack as strong underwater swimmers.
“They’re special athletes because they swim underwater,” Wright said. “They’re the fastest in the state. If you took a radar gun I could guarantee they’re the fastest in the state because, that’s underwater. … You can’t see them until they pop up in front of you.”
The tandem also shared in a silver medal in the 400 free relay (3:40. 26). Smith also won silver in the 200 fly (2:08.19) with her time surpassing the previous conference record; but in a photo finish, Smith was out-touched by gold medalist Rebecca Faulkner. Smith also captured bronze in the 200 individual medley (24.93 seconds).
Gabby Montoya earned two medals with silver in the 200 breaststroke (2:33.21) and bronze in the 100 breast (1:10.08).
Vong, Smith and Montoya are all guaranteed spots at the state championships May 5-7 at East Los Angeles College.
“CSM has never won a state title in swim,” Wright said. “So, we’ve got a lot of chances. I think these girls have a chance to win at least one. Hopefully more.”