Seo shatters and impresses at CIF

LONG BEACH — Moments after Young Tae Seo set another a record, one of the sophomore's Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming teammates yelled that he was still better than Seo.

He was joking.

No one was better than Seo on Saturday.

"We always talk trash to each other," Seo said. "But not in a bad way. We motivate each other."

Seo was certainly motivated in the CIF Southern Section Division II Swimming and Diving Championships at the Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach.

He was a part of three record-breaking performances during a memorable event that awed his teammates and coaches as he collected two CIF individual titles and another as part of the 200-yard medley relay.

The first record fell early.

Seo joined teammates Harrison Thai, Andrew De Jong and Louis Wojciechowski in breaking their own division record in the 200 medley relay, winning the second event of the afternoon in 1 minute 33.79 seconds, eclipsing the time of 1:34:23 they set in the prelims Friday night.

Seo wasn't one to settle for one new mark.

He wanted more. Three more records, in fact.

Seo — the reigning All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year — accomplished two more marks.

His most impressive record might have been in the 200 individual medley.

He knew the record time of 1:48.83 by Darren Ward of Sonora stood since 1987. He also knew that a number of swimmers had failed in their attempt to break Ward's record.

Seo wasn't going to fail.

He went out fast and continued swimming strong, finishing in 1:48.38, beating out Thai, who was second in 1:51.07.

"I just want more and more [records]," Seo said.

With his work ethic, Falcons Coach Jan Sakonju said Seo should definitely challenge for more records in 2012. Sakonju said Seo might even compete in different events next year to break more records.

"He's always been motivated," Sakonju said. "He wants to be the best at all of the races. He certainly pushes himself."

Seo pushed himself toward the end of the event.

His third record was a time of 55.81 in the 100 breaststroke. He owned that record (55.88) too, which he set in the prelims, as well.

The record he has his sights set on is the national mark of 53.66 by Patrick Fowler in the 100 breaststroke. Fowler, a then-junior at Seattle Prep, set the record in 1998.

Seo plans on breaking it next year.

"He's very goal-orientated," said Terry Stoddard, Seo's club coach at Swim Pasadena. "He structures [his training] to know what his competition is doing."

Added Dana Stoddard, Seo's strength and conditioning coach: "In practice, he pushes himself everyday, whether it's on land, in the weight room or in the pool. He has a goal and he achieves his goals. He's mentally and physically ready for his next goal."

The one record Seo fell short of achieving was the mark of 3:06.39 — set by La Cañada in 2009 — in the 400 freestyle relay. Thai, Wojciechowski, Josh Chi and Seo finished in 3:06.59, good for second place, behind El Segundo's time of 3:06.46.

Sakonju knows that falling behind the mark and the boys' team's failure to capture the team championship — El Segundo won the title with 236 points — will only cause Seo to work harder to set more records.

He'll take one day off to rest and then Seo will be in the pool Monday, training for more records.

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