Walking around at every Foothill League swim meet with an oversized yellow foam Cowboy hat, Canyon High School boys swimmer Kevin Childs is hard to miss.
Originally sporting the yellow hat to bring some school spirit to his Cowboys teammates for a Foothill League dual meet, Childs believes that it gives him a sort of edge and hasn’t stopped wearing it at meets ever since.
“I think it was the Hart dual meet,” Childs said. “Hart’s our rival and I wanted to bring some team spirit to that meet so I decided I’m going to our radar ASB office and take the flag and the hat and all that stuff. I ended up wearing the big hat and it did go pretty well for me at all the meets that I wore the hat at. Over the summer, I made a big hat for my club team, so now it’s just kind of my thing. Whenever I’m getting up on the blocks I’m going to wear that hat.”
Superstition aside, Childs won his first All-SCV Boys Swimmer of the Year award last season, and this year he repeats the feat, being named 2019 All-SCV Boys Swimmer of the Year in his final year swimming for Canyon because of his constant strive to be the best at what he does.
“At the beginning of the year my goal was to win CIF,” Childs said. “I would do things like pull-ups and I would get to my last line and do one extra one to try to beat Mark McCrary who won last year. Just a bunch of things that I did to try to win CIF because I really wanted that and I was really happy to do it.”
That nagging itch to be the fastest prevailed as he defended his Foothill League titles in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke in 2019.
Two of the hardest strokes in swimming, Childs admitted that he had to work on perfecting the strokes, loving the challenge.
“I started out with butterfly,” Childs said. “I liked it because it was a hard stroke and at that point, I loved doing whatever was challenging. Backstroke came along with working on my dolphin kick and everything underwater. It’s kind of what I was best at throughout my years of training.”
Qualifying for the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Prelims and Finals Meet, Childs finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and overcame McCrary and the rest of the field to win the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 47.88 seconds.
Advancing to the CIF State meet in both races for the first time in his high school career, Childs finished 10th in the 100-yard butterfly. Saving his best for last, Childs powered his way to a second-place finish in 48.61 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke.
“I definitely would have liked to get that first place, but I can’t be upset with second place in the state meet,” Childs said. “Very, very happy with my season and how everything went at the end. Going to state was a great experience because I didn’t have my best time and it was just a lot of fun all around.”
With his high school swim career over, Childs turns his attention to deciding what college to continue his swim career at this fall. Originally picking the University of California, Santa Barbara, Childs had a recent change or heart and reopened his recruitment.
“I was going to go to UCSB and then after leagues and all that stuff, I looked at their record boards and I realized that I would be the fastest swimmer on their team by far,” Childs said. “I kind of wanted to be with people that I trained with and pushed me every day, so I reached out to a bunch of schools.”
Ultimately landing on North Carolina State and Ohio State University, Childs will take some time to mull over the details and specifics with his parents and coaches to come to a decision.
“I have to talk to my parents and talk to my coaches and decide between NC State and Ohio State,” Childs said. “NC State and Ohio State were the most appealing academically. NC State, especially with swim, is the No. 4 swim school in the nation. They gave me the ability to be a late applicant.”
First Team All-SCV
Ted Hwang, West Ranch, junior
As versatile a swimmer as you will ever find, Hwang finished his junior year as the Foothill League’s titleholder in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke for the second year. Qualifying for CIF-SS Division 1 Meet in both races, Hwang was also a part of the second place Foothill League boys 200-yard individual medley relay team that finished in sixth-place at the Division 1 meet.
Justin Morsch, Saugus, senior
Sweeping the intermediate distance freestyle races, Morsch closes out his senior year as the Foothill League’s fastest 100-yard and 200-yard boys freestyler winning both races by more than a second. The Centurion swimmer advanced to CIF-SS Division 1 prelims and finals, placing eighth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:40.95 for State Consideration time and seventh in the 100-yard freestyle in 45.97 for State Automatic time. Advancing to the CIF State meet finals, Morsch broke his time in the 100-yard freestyle at CIF-SS Finals by .31 seconds.
Dylan Parente, Valencia, senior
The Valencia senior served as an integral part of the Vikings’ quest for the Foothill League finals title. Parente helped the Valencia boys win the title in the 200-yard freestyle relay team. He also came away with a pair of third-place finishes in the 50-yard and the 100-yard freestyle at league finals. Making the trip up to the CIF State meet, Parente was part of qualifying relay teams in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard freestyle medley relay as well as two individual races.
Jonathan Quick, Hart, senior
An American University commit, Quick served as the ultimate Foothill League boys long-distance freestyle swimmer winning the 500-yard freestyle by more than six seconds in 4:29.92. Contributing mightily, Quick helped the 200-yard medley relay team and 400-yard freestyle relay team to two top-five finishes at the CIF-SS Division 1 finals.
Ronit Shrestha, Valencia, junior
At the Foothill League finals, Shrestha podiumed in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:43.36 for third place and finished in sixth in the 100-yard butterfly in 52.17. The junior Vikings swimmer was part of the 11th place Valencia boys 200-yard freestyle relay team at the CIF State meet which had the best finish out of any Foothill League relay.
Dawson Waage, Hart, senior
Continuing his swim career at the Naval Academy, the future Midshipman served as the Foothill League’s fastest 50-yard freestyle swimmer and anchored both of Hart’s titles, winning the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. At CIF-SS Division finals he placed fifth in the 50-yard freestyle and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle. Sneaking into the CIF State meet as an alternate in the 100-yard freestyle, Waage pulled a personal best 45.39 for seventh place. He finished in 11th place in the 50-yard freestyle.
Canyon — Jordan Krestul, senior
Golden Valley — Kevin Nguyen, sophomore
Hart — Ryan Sevidal, junior
Saugus — Camden Powell, senior
Trinity — Lance Lott, junior
Valencia — Woo Young Yi, junior
West Ranch — Cade Brower, senior