Both swim teams prepare for the WSC pentathlon at LA Valley

Mohamed Bafakih

After a season full of splashes with numerous broken records and a Western State Conference championship on the women’s end, with the men coming in at third, Bakersfield College swimming quickly approaches this season, which will take its first dive at the WSC Pentathlon on Feb. 13 at L.A. Valley College.

“For the most part, they’re ready for the season and ready to get out there and start competing in some meets,” third-year head coach and last year’s WSC Coach of the Year recipient Matt Moon said.

For the men, this was an all freshmen group last season, so it’ll return some key faces with a bit higher expectations despite placing third in the conference championship meet last April.

However, the loss of one of those returners, Andrew Hargis, will be a blow for the men’s swim team.

Hargis, a Centennial High product, set three individual BC records, was part of three school relay records, and a WSC record in the 500-yard freestyle (which he won by a 12-second difference) all in his freshman season.

Hargis is battling an ongoing back injury and it’s unclear how long he’ll be out.

On replacing Hargis, Moon said: “Someone like that [Hargis] that’s so versatile, no one’s going to really be able to replace him directly, but we definitely have some freshman that are really stepping it up and we have a returner, team captain Cristian Serrato, who has been swimming really well so I’m looking for him to step up.”

Moon also mentioned sophomore sprinter Mike Fink to be a major contributor, as well as a pair of freshmen twins from Centennial, in Lyle and Nick Drake to fill in for some relay spots.

Flip-turning to the women’s side, this is a group that isn’t as deep as the 2014 WSC Championship team with even a few latecomers adding on, but Moon is optimistic as to how this core will perform.

“The girls have something to prove from last year,” Moon said.

The women’s team lost Shelby Bayne who has moved on to swim at Concordia University and Clarissa Gardella at Colorado State-Pueblo, but whether it’s state-qualifier Lexi Zimmerman (breaststroker/IM), sophomore Paige Richardson (distance specialist), or freshman Sara Klang (butterflier, mid-distance), expectations are running high on both sides throughout the waters at the William A. Wheeler Aquatics Center.