Jenkins Slows Down From Last Year but Is Fast Enough to Win Again

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Crescenta Valley High's John Jenkins may have been the most disappointed winner at the Southern Section Division II swimming finals Saturday at Belmont Plaza.

Last year, the sprinter set a Division II record in the 50-yard freestyle with a 20.53 clocking and said earlier this season his goal was to break the national high school record set by Joe Hudepohl (20.01).

Saturday night, Jenkins overwhelmed the field, winning by .55 seconds, but his time of 20.62 was below his standards.

"I'm a little disappointed," Jenkins said. "I guess I had a little bit of senior mentality, not working as hard as I should have."

Jenkins, who will attend Arizona next year, was upset with his own performance, but what made not breaking the record tougher to swallow was the performance of Loyola.

The Cubs won the first two events en route to winning the boys' team title with 217 points, taking away the title won by the Falcons last year. Crescenta Valley finished second with 158 points.

A particularly boisterous group of Loyola supporters was seated directly behind the 6-foot-8 Jenkins for both his individual races.

After the final race, the 400 freestyle relay in which Jenkins came from behind on the anchor leg to win the race, Jenkins got into a verbal confrontation with those Loyola spectators and had to be separated by meet officials.

"It's tough right now because we're losing to (Loyola)," Jenkins said. "We're a public school doing with what we can. Maybe I should have gone to a private school."

Later in the evening, the Falcons got a measure of satisfaction by setting a Division II record in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:26.75, breaking the record of 1:27.36 set by Peninsula in 1992.

Jenkins swam an anchor leg of 20.45, which would have broken his record in the 50 had it come in the individual event.

Jenkins shook off his emotions from the 50 to win the 100 in 45.88, 1.36 seconds faster than his qualifying time, but he had to hold off David Brende of Harvard-Westlake in the final 25 yards.

"I didn't know who else was in the race; the only guy I knew was Jenkins," Brende said. "I really wanted to be in front as we got near the finish but I wasn't and my finish was bad."

Brende also finished second in the 200 freestyle to lead the Wolverines to a third-place finish with 149 points.

For the girls, Hart freshman Monica Oleksyn set a Division II record with a time of 1:05.72 in the 100 breaststroke. Becky Skyler, another Hart freshman, finished second in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 50 freestyle to help the Indians to sixth place.

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