Over the course of a successful 2019 season, the La Cañada High boys’ swimming team members clocked impressive times on its way to capturing a CIF Southern Section Division II title and a Rio Hondo League championship.
On July 11, the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Assn. revealed its list of swimmers who garnered All-America times for the season, and Spartans athletes earned honors in eight of 11 events, including all three relay races.
“It’s really spectacular,” La Cañada coach David Hill said. “It’s pretty incredible. Think about it. California is really one of the pinnacles of swimming throughout the whole nation. It’s pretty special if you’re one of the top swimmers in California.
“That already gives you an edge to being one of the top swimmers in the nation, so it’s really special when these guys, all year long, are competing against some of the fastest swimmers in the nation and they end up coming out on top at the very end. It’s super exciting.”
The All-America honors are based on results swimmers clocked during dual meets, league meets and the CIF divisional and state championships. The majority of the Spartans’ times came at the state competition.
“I think one of the coolest parts about is that all three of the relays ended up getting All-American times, which is so hard to do because there are so many different variables,” Hill said.
USC-bound Danny Syrkin led the way with four All-America accolades in individual events and contributed national marks in the relay events.
Syrkin topped the NISCA Swimming and Diving All-American list in the 100-yard butterfly with a first-place time of 46.63 seconds at the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championship in May.
“I was pretty happy for the 100 fly,” Syrkin said. “It was really cool. I did not expect that. It’s a really great honor and I’m glad to put La Cañada at the top there.”
The incoming senior also recorded national marks for the 100 freestyle (44.17) and the 50 freestyle (20.32) at state competition. His All-American time of 49.31 in the 100 backstroke at the Rio Hondo League finals broke a seven-year-old record.
“Getting All-American selection is a great honor,” said Syrkin, who will take part in the Senior Nationals and Junior Nationals in Palo Alto later in the summer. “I think, going into the season, I wanted to make quite a number of All-American times.
“I actually was injured for around half of the season and I didn’t get to race some of the events that I wanted to. While getting the selection is great, I’m still hungry for more, especially next year. I’ve set a goal for myself. Next year, I want to have All-American times for every single event, so that’ll be fun.”
Teammate Eddie Cosic, who will attend George Washington University, had an All-American time in the 100 breaststroke (56.51) at the CIF Division II prelims.
Syrkin and Cosic combined with Occidental College-bound Thomas Hoffman and junior Chris O’Grady in the state relay events to finish with national times in the 200 medley (1:31.33), the 200 freestyle (1:24.84) and the 400 freestyle (3:05.16).
“It definitely sets the bar really high,” Hill said. “I think that we’ve got the resources, the caliber of swimmers, the athletes and families to be able to fill in the shoes. The next year, we’ve got some really big shoes to fill, but it’s just really cool.
“This was our first year going to the CIF State Meet, so that was a precedent that was set this year on top of winning a CIF Division II title. That was another precedent that was set. Beyond that, we have eight All-American titles. People will see that and be able to recognize how much hard work these kids are putting into it. Obviously, it’s paying off.”