At a recent William S. Hart Union High School District function honoring spring CIF champions, Saugus High swim coach Jim Klipfel spoke about recent graduate Tanner Olson.
The focus wasn’t so much Olson’s CIF-record-breaking swim in the 100-yard breaststroke because, Klipfel said, championship banners, even in the professional ranks, are quickly forgotten.
“But the people are not,” Klipfel recounted on Monday, “when they touched (your life).
“I’ve worked with amazing athletes that I didn’t want to see again. This kid, every time I shook his hand thinking it was the last time – at CIF, at the banquet, at the district a few weeks ago – I said, ‘I wish you luck. You will not be forgotten. Stay in touch.’ I do not say that to every kid I ever coached.”
Such was Olson’s impact on the Centurions. He dominated in the pool, while refusing to be too cool.
Where would you find him during meets? Next to a freshman new to junior varsity. Next to a junior who may or may not make varsity next year. With his arm around a crying, disappointed teammate.
What will Olson, a Texas A&M recruit, remember most from his decorated four-year Centurions career?
“I think the biggest thing I will take from Saugus swim is the idea of being a family throughout the season,” said Olson, a four-time Foothill League champion in the 100 breast. “They were very true to the idea of being a family and they treated me like part of the team. Also, they weren’t afraid to ask me for tips, and I loved that I could coach them and give them tips.
“That was one of the things I loved the most,” he said.
In the pool, Olson’s goal entering 2017 was to break the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 meet record in the 100 breast, the event he won a CIF title in in 2016.
He narrowly missed the record as a junior, but this year he broke it, swimming it in 53.25 seconds in Riverside at the CIF prelims in May and then going 53.18 a couple days later at finals.
“I’ve had it in mind for all four years and it was the biggest goal I had,” said Olson via text message from Indiana, where he’s set to compete in the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials, which begin today.
That, of course, is vintage Olson. Giving of his time to others even when it isn’t necessarily convenient.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete and a really great young person,” Klipfel said. “I can’t stress enough his humility and his team work.”
While Olson’s 2017 All-SCV Boys Swimmer of the Year award may one day be forgotten, his impact on Saugus swim, it seems, will not be.
All-SCV boys swim team
Ryan Brimer, Hart, senior
Brimer played a key role in Hart winning its second straight Foothill League title. At league finals, the senior won the 100-yard freestyle and took second in the 200 free. He finished fifth in the 100 free at the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 finals and sixth in the 200 free.
Kevin Childs, Canyon, sophomore
Nearly everywhere you looked in the Foothill League this year, there were pockets of high-end talent. Childs finished second in both the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke at league finals. Then he took 14th in the backstroke at CIF finals.
Joshua Lee, Valencia, sophomore
This spot could have gone to several Vikings in a year when Valencia leaned heavily on its depth to push Hart to the limit in the race for the Foothill League title. Lee finished second in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 200 IM at league finals. At CIF prelims, he took 21st in the 200 medley relay, 25th in the 100 breast and 23rd in the 200 IM.
Zander Minano, Saugus, junior
After transferring from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, Minano couldn’t compete for Saugus until April 12. But the junior still managed to make a major mark. Besides breaking program records, Minano set the new Foothill League meet record with a time of 20.30 seconds in the 50 free. At CIF finals, he took second in the 50 free for the second straight year. He took fifth in the 100 free and helped the Saugus boys to second-place swims in the 200 and 400 free.
Justin Morsch, Saugus, sophomore
A member of Saugus’ four-headed monster, Morsch swam on both of Saugus’ second-place relays at CIF finals. The Cents’ 400-free relay broke what had been the Division 1 meet record. Unfortunately, Loyola broke it, too, and in a little faster time. Morsch took fourth in the consolation final of the 200 free and third in the consolation final of the 100 free. He won the 100 butterfly at league finals.
Adam Osowski, Hart, senior
The face of Hart boys swimming for the last couple years, Osowski finished his prep career by leading the Indians to back-to-back league titles. Individually, he repeated in the 200 and 500 frees at league finals, setting new league meet records in both events. At CIF, he took third in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free. He also swam on Hart’s eighth-place 200 and 400 free relays at CIF.
Canyon – Rowdy Feather, senior
Golden Valley – Jimmy Kunze, senior
Hart – Jonathan Quick, sophomore
Saugus – Tim Lim, senior
Valencia – Ronit Shrestha, freshman
West Ranch – Cade Brower, sophomore
SCCS – Connor Burkhardt, senior
Trinity – Zech Wolf, junior