Wong keeps getting faster and faster

Even with a year of school left, Corona del Mar High junior Brynne Wong is one of the most accomplished swimmers in program history.

The Sea Kings' record board doesn't lie. Wong is the record-holder in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly. She's also on the board as the anchor of a record-setting 200 and 400 freestyle relay team.

But that record board can't tell people Wong's resolve. It doesn't tell you how Wong stood on the CdM pool deck May 4, thrilled about swimming a 55.20 in the butterfly at Pacific Coast League finals. The mark lowered her own school record and also bested the previous meet record, a 55.53 by Beckman's Tara Thomas in 2006.

One of Wong's goals when she came in as a freshman was to break Thomas' mark. Wong, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, still was far from satisfied.

In the CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals eight days later, she again came up huge at Riverside City College. This time Wong was second in the butterfly, but her automatic All-American time — a 54.38 — was pretty special.

"She does a 55 in league to get the league record, then she does a 54 at CIF," CdM Coach Doug Volding said. "She just is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Boy, oh boy. One wonders about next year, is she going to continue this drop?"

In the butterfly and 50 free this year, Wong was mostly just racing against herself. Wong, who swims club for the Irvine-based AquaZots, continually chiseled her school-record 50 free mark to the current 23.60. In that race she got third at CIF finals.

It was just another amazing meet for Wong. Yet, even she felt the excitement in that butterfly race, in which she finished second to her friend Katie McLaughlin of JSerra.

"I was super-excited," she said. "When I touched the wall, I looked at the board and I was just like, 'Is that my time?' I'm really happy to finally break the 55."

The time is important to Wong. Next weekend she races in the long-course Speedo Grand Challenge at Irvine's Woollett Aquatics Center. Wong said it's her last chance to qualify for the Olympic trials, which begin June 25 in Omaha, Neb.

Wong needs to swim a 1:01.99 (long course) in the fly to qualify for the trials. Her previous best is a 1:02.40, but her time from CIF finals converts to a 1:01.76.

Making the Olympic trials at just 16 years old would be quite an experience for Wong.

"I think it would be such a great opportunity," she said. "I want to train through college and go again in 2016, but I think to have it as a high school experience would be really cool."

Even with all her success, Wong seems to stay grounded. She takes it all in stride, Volding said.

"Brynne's a very special, special athlete — and quiet too," Volding said. "I always admire that in the top athletes that we have, they never toot their own horn. But once she hits the pool, look out. She has a life away from swimming, that's my perception. But it's like the great athlete,Kobe [Bryant] or whoever walking on the court. Once it starts, the game is on. When she hits that water, look out because she's going for it. She sets those high goals, and she'll go after them."

It was a special year for Wong and her older sister, Natalie, a senior who now owns the school record in the 100 backstroke (58.11). Brynne said Natalie plans to play water polo at Orange Coast College next year.

Brynne Wong also anchored both of the school-record relay teams, which featured two water polo players in junior Ally McCormick and senior Pippa Saunders, as well as two club swimmers in Wong and UC Santa Barbara-bound Hollace Barden.

There was a bit of disappointment as both relay teams were disqualified at CIF, one in preliminaries and one in finals. But the four girls still set both the school records in the 200 free relay (1:37.73) and the 400 relay (3:31.42) at league finals.

"It was so much fun," Wong said. "Last year, I didn't do the 400 freestyle relay because my 100 wasn't that strong."

Brynne Wong just keeps improving. How low can she take those school records? She isn't sure, but she has other, lofty goals. She said she'd like to break the Division 1 meet record in the 100 fly; it's a 53.54, also set by Beckman's Thomas in 2007.

Nobody should doubt that she can do it.

"She's super-competitive, yet just a wonderful person," Volding said. "I watch her interact with her sister, and I never see any 'one-upmanship' with either one of them. They're always encouraging each other to do better. They're just wonderful girls, all around."


Twitter: @mjszabo


Brynne Wong

Born: Aug. 14, 1995

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5 feet, 9 inches

Sport: Swimming

Year: Junior

Coach: Doug Volding

Favorite food: Ho Sum Bistro salad

Favorite movie: "Bridesmaids"

Favorite athletic moment: Swimming the 100 fly at Junior Nationals last summer at Stanford.

Week in review: Wong had two top-three individual finishes at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 swimming finals May 12 in Riverside. She was third in the 50-yard freestyle and second in the 100 butterfly.

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