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Chelsea Chenault qualifies for FINA World Championships

Chelsea Chenault, a recent Carondelet High graduate, will be teammates  Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte and other Olympic swimming stars at the upcoming FINA World Championships. Chenault qualified to compete for Team USA at the summer’s biggest swimming competition by taking sixth place in the 200-meter freestyle (1:58.74) at the Phillips 66 National Championships held June 25-29 in Indianapolis.

Chenault was also fifth in the 400 freestyle (4:10.79) at nationals. She will compete as part of the 800-meter relay team at the World Championships in Barcelona. But first, Chenault is headed to Kazan, Russia to participate in the World University Games.

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Carondelet swimmer Chelsea Chenault commits to USC

Carondelet High swimming standout Chelsea Chenault has given an oral commitment to USC.
The middle distance specialist chose the Trojans over Cal, Virginia and Georgia after taking official visits to all four campuses this fall.
“When I went (to USC) on junior day I just had this connection and loved the school,” Chenault said. “When I went on my (recruiting) trip, I built a bond with the girls and even the guys and it made me realize that’s where I wanted to go.”
Chenault, a senior, is the North Coast Section record holder in the 500-yard freestyle and as well as the defending section champion in the 200 freestyle. She’s also well-known on the national swim scene.
Chenault, a Walnut Creek native, just missed qualifying for the London Olympics. She placed eighth at the Olympic Trials in the 200-meter freestyle, an event in which the top six finishers are selected to the Olympic team.
But her summer was still plenty successful. She earned a spot on the U.S. team for the FINA Short Course World Championships in Istanbul this December after taking second in the 200 freestyle at the U.S. Open.
Chenault also took first place in the 200-meter freestyle at the Junior Pan-Pacific Championships.

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Long list of locals headed to national swimming championships

The ConocoPhillips National Swimming Championships begin tomorrow in Irvine and quite a few local athletes are scheduled to compete. It’s one of the biggest meets of the year — Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin among other Olympic medalists will all be there.

Heading the list of locals is recent Las Lomas graduate Kasey Carlson, who is seeded fourth in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. We’ll see what Carlson, who’s now training at USC, can do against her new Trojan Swim Club teammates Jessica Hardy and Rebecca Soni, the event’s top two seeds. Another East Bay native, 2005 Carondelet graduate Kaitlin Freeman, is seeded third.
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DFAL Swimming: Carlson laps the field

Let me first start this post by saying I know very little about swimming. When I was told I would be covering the DFAL swim meet yesterday, I absolutely had no idea what to expect considering I had never covered a league swim meet.

Now, there is one thing that stands true in any sport: you know the special ones when you see them. When I saw Las Lomas’ Kasey Carlson take her spot for the 50 freestyle, you could see that she was bigger, stronger and faster than any of the other competitors. Later, in the 100 breaststroke, when she shaved almost two seconds off her NCS record time of a year ago, the crowd knew exactly what happened and what they were watching.

Carlson also helped to set another NCS record when she teamed with Alex Madsen, Shelley Harper and Natalie Smith to break the record in the 200 medley relay. By the end of the day, Carlson had created quite a buzz poolside. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) was talking about her performance.

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Coaching series

We are running a three-part series on high school coaches. The series started Monday with stories on coaches who are starting out. Tuesday’s package will be on coaches and what they endure to stay at it, and Wednesday we will close with coaches who got out. What’s surprised me is the candor of which coaches spoke of their respective hardships, especially in dealing with parents. It used to be whenever a coach told a reporter about anything in that realm it was prefaced by “this is off the record.” These days dissatisfaction with a coach is much more out in the open and thus many coaches are more willing to talk about these instances. Just checking the Times discussion boards or any other such boards demonstrates that. Another example of how life has changed in the cyber-era.

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Realignment

Well it’s that time of the decade again where the North Coast Section sits all its member schools down at a table and everyone reminds themselves how much they don’t get along. Cynical, yes. Out of touch with reality, no. In today’s Times, Chace Bryson explores the new proposals for league configurations. I looked at these changes this morning and suddenly the new hotbed for controversy is the Bay Shore Conference, within whose boundaries I happen to live.

First thing’s first: This is one of the most political processes you’re ever going to see in high school athletics. Why? Because it directly affects the purse strings that govern competitive equity. That’s especially true when it comes to the ACCAL and BSAL. The new alignment puts Kennedy back in the ACCAL with fellow WCCUSD schools De Anza, El Cerrito, Pinole Valley, and Richmond and also adds John Swett and St. Patrick-St. Vincent to the mix. Does anyone actually believe the Eagles are equipped to compete in any sports other than soccer and basketball in this league? No. What this does is lessen the travel costs for the WCCUSD, and that’s what dictated this move.

We have to put this proposal in perspective. Yes, money is a major factor in these talks whereas the new Valley Conference had concerns over competitive balance. The most popular dissenting opinion for these new leagues is that some schools are concerned with the fact that they can’t compete. I’m not indifferent to those opinions and I can tell you watching a blowout night after night is much less fun than seeing a good game. But the bottom line is this: We need to get these kids on the field and on the court. These moves allow teams like Kennedy and Richmond to cut costs and might allow them to establish some consistency in fielding teams. I care less about the ability to compete than the opportunity to compete and, to a large extent, these moves show that the NCS Board of Managers does too.