Blackburn, Stewart, Johnson and Heimback are state champs

L to R: State champions Rebekah Blackburn, Violet Stewart, Madalyn Johnson and Jordann Heimback
L to R: State champions Rebekah Blackburn, Violet Stewart, Madalyn Johnson and Jordann Heimback

CUPERTINO (5-03-2017) (5-04-2017) (5-05-2017) -- Spoiler alert. Thanks to four Palomar female swimmers, the Orange Coast College Pirates walked the plank in one of 10 men's and women's relay races that Coast otherwise dominated at the CCCAA State Swimming & Diving Championship that finished a three-day run on Saturday at the De Anza College Aquatics Center.

Along the way to winning both the men's and women's team titles in the meet, Orange Coast sped to victories in all five men's relay races and four of five women's relays. 

Palomar's team of Rebekah Blackburn, Violet Stewart, Madalyn Johnson and Jordann Heimback spoiled the Pirates' bid for a relays sweep by racing to the women's state 800-yard relay championship.

Blackburn, Stewart, Johnson and Heimback swam to a 7:53.17 time to defeat the runner-up in the event, San Joaquin Delta College of Stockton, which was timed in 7:53.95.

Finishing in back of the Comets and Pirates in the eight-team championship race: third-place Diablo Valley with a 7:54.18, fourth-place Orange Coast (7:55.57), fifth-place San Diego Mesa (8:00.31), sixth-place Santa Barbara City College (8:02.80), seventh-place Santa Rosa (8:02.99) and eighth-place Mt. SAC (8:03.39).

The 800 relay title was the biggest factor in the Comets' ninth-place team finish out of 33 scoring teams.

Orange Coast, with 522 points, blew away the field in winning the women's team championship by 128.5 points over the runner-up team Santa Rosa (393.5 points). Third-place Diablo Valley (353 points), fourth-place San Diego Mesa (306), fifth-place Sierra (280), sixth-place San Joauin Delta (254), seventh place Santa Barbara City College (223), eighth-place Mt. SAC, the ninth-place Comets (161) and Las Positas (150 points) rounded out the top 10 teams.

Heimback, the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year, had a big weekend for the Comets. Heimback also finished third in the 100-yard butterfly in 58.34 seconds, third in the 200 butterfly (2:11.00) and seventh in the 500 freestyle (5:17.80).

Blackburn also swam to eighth place in the 50 freestyle in 24.57 and 11th in the 100 freestyle (54.02). Johnson placed 13th in the 200 backstroke (2:16.91) and 16th in the 400 freestyle (5:29.67), Stewart finished 16th in the 200 freestyle (2:02.47).

Palomar's other relay teams also brought home a fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay (Blackburn, Stewart, Heimback and Sydney Thomas in 1:40.83); ninth in the 400 freestyle relay (Blackburn, Johnson, Stewart and Thomas in 3:40.55); and 13th in the 200 medley relay (Johnson, Riley McDonald, Heimback and Thomas in 1:56.06).

For the Palomar men's team, Jarad Altman placed 10th in the 1650 freestyle race in 16:46.50). Toby Fast finished 12th in the 400 individual medley in 4:15.50 and 15th in the 200 butterly in 2:00.57). Those efforts gave the Comet Comet men a 27th-place finish out of 29 teams with 29 points.

Orange Coast won the men's meet with 571.5 points to 556 points for second-place Sierra and 357 points for third-place Golden West.