Birmingham Swimmer Puts on a Show in City Semifinals

Christian Ballard of Birmingham High presented his case as the City Section's top swimmer by posting top marks in two events Wednesday in the City semifinals at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.

The junior won the 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes, 38.09 seconds and the 200-yard individual medley in 2:01.35. "I hope to go faster in the finals," Ballard said. "I'd like to go 4:30 in the 500 and 1:58 in the 200 IM."

Although the 500 is the longest event in high school swimming, to Ballard it is a mere swim in the park to what he is used to. Ballard won the 1,650-yard freestyle at the YMCA National Championships in Orlando, Fla., last month, and participated in the same event at the U. S. Swimming Short Course National Championships at Chapel Hill, N. C., a month earlier. "Swimming on the high school level is much easier," the 17-year old Ballard said. "A lot of people have just started swimming, while I've been swimming for 10 years."

Grant junior Tate Hurvits led all qualifiers in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:50.26.

Hurvits had the second best time in the 500, winning his heat in 4:56.66. Brian Leven of El Camino Real won the boys' 100-yard backstroke in 55.60.

In the girls' meet, Corinne Okamura of El Camino Real and Anne Bugarcic of Reseda were the only Valley-area qualifiers to lead in two events. Okamura took the 50-yard freestyle (25.76) and 100-yard freestyle (56.70). Bugarcic captured the 200-yard freestyle in 2:00.17.

Michael Vetrie of Van Nuys took the girls' 100-yard backstroke (1:05.73).

The finals are scheduled for Wednesday at Belmont Plaza.

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