Hancock women's swimming and diving head coach Mike Ashmore will take his largest contingent of Bulldogs to the CCCAA State Swimming and Diving Championships in the four-year history of the program. Sophomores Maddie Diaz (Pioneer Valley HS), Dria Kwong (Orcutt Academy), Rebecca Gonzalez (Nipomo HS), Nikki Gurgiolo (Righetti HS), and three relay teams will compete against the best of the best in the state May 4-6 at East Los Angeles College.
Diaz qualified for state in three events: the 400-yard individual medley, 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. The sophomore won two Western State Conference titles last week, taking first in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 18:41.47. She also finished in a school record-time of 4:56.08 in the 400 I.M. Diaz came in second in the 500 free final. At the state meet, Diaz will compete on Thursday in the 500 free, Friday in the 400 I.M. and Saturday in the 1,650 free. Last year at state, Diaz finished seventh in the 1,650 free, 13th in the 500 free and 15th in the 400 I.M. She earned All-American status in all three events.
Kwong will compete in the 200-yard backstroke, 200-yard butterfly, and 100-yard butterfly. She won Western State Conference titles in all three events two weeks ago to bring her career total to six, tying the program record. She broke the conference record in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:10.91. She finished the 200 fly in 2:18.26 and the 100 fly in 58.47, breaking her own school record in each event. The 100 butterfly will take place on Friday, while the 200 back and 200 butterfly events will take place on Saturday. Kwong came in fourth in the 100 fly, ninth in the 200 back and 11th in the 200 fly last year at state. She earned All-American status in all three events.
Gonzalez qualified in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke after she finished runner-up in both events at conference. The 100 breaststroke will take place on Friday and the 200 on Saturday. The Nipomo High School graduate finished 17th in the 100 breaststroke and 22nd in the 200 breaststroke last year at the state meet.
Gurgiolo is the first ever Hancock diver to qualify for state. The sophomore finished third in conference and sixth in the Southern California Regional in the 3-meter springboard to earn a spot at state. She will compete on Friday.
Hancock will also compete in the 200-yard medley (Friday), 400-yard medley (Thursday), and 800-yard freestyle (Friday) relays. They will be the first Hancock relay teams to compete at the state meet.
There will be preliminary heats starting at 9 a.m. each day. The swimming finals will start at 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Last year, Hancock finished 18th out of nearly 40 teams at the state meet.