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San Clemente Journal

Down Along the Sunset

Aug 01, 2007 09:11PM ● By Don Kindred
By Coach Benner Cummings
Opening with a somewhat belated story about the Triton swim teams’ performance at the South Coast League championships. Their second place finish to dominating Mission Viejo High School, adds notice of their growing success. It speaks well of Coach Batten and his efforts with the season’s young team. Clearly pointing out that swimming, diving and water polo are now producing stronger teams with greater individual efforts. 

It has been years in the making for these aquatic sportsmen to build this ascendancy within the talented South Coast League. It is a pleasure to bestow plaudits on these teams and their success whenever possible. In some districts these commendations are somewhat neglected for the sports of swimming, diving, water polo and surfing. Even though the philosophy of so called minor sports fell by the wayside years ago, with the rise of American champions nationally and internationally it was America’s world record holders and teams that helped change this outdated hypocrisy. 

At San Clemente High, many boys and girls go out for athletics working out faithfully twice daily. Many carry full classroom study loads with their training sandwiched between 6:00 am and 5:30 pm. The sports mentioned above, with these high spirited individual efforts, certainly speak well of the athletes. Michael Chamoures, Brady Mosk and Moor Kristofer deserve the attention they received for their power swimming this past season as do teammates Jordon Larson, Thomas Doller, Sean Sabins, Matt Flahive, Tony Dominguez, Evan Waugh, and Scott Yielding, who by the way, also earned a four-year President’s Scholarship at USC. 

An exciting new challenge would be for the Triton aquatic teams to press Mission Viejo further for top honors during water polo and team surfing seasons. Actually, between Dana Hills and San Clemente’s fast growing programs this could very well happen. I only mention this, as never before have both teams from these schools brought so much pressure to bare upon a dominate Mission Viejo High School program. 

Jimbo Hickman, photo by Kevin Panizza.Look, too, for coach Bandaruk and his girl swimmers from San Clemente High to add further strength to this challenge. Swimmers like, Jennifer Hoiland, Christina Boring, Katlin Poladine, Katy Jaramillo, Marsia Klein, Cortney McCammon and Mallory Mosk present a strong team.

The Chinese often presented the Ch’iao ling’, which was a three-eyed peacock feather award for efforts of high merit. However, our varsity lettermen’s award in honoring school athletes of distinction appears a well-received honor by school athletes. Also, it tends to beat a peacock feather for adornment on a varsity lettermen’s sweater or jacket. Besides, how many people have ever seen a peacock feather with three eyes? For that matter, how many ever see the traditional high school letterman’s sweater on a Southern California athlete anymore? Wonder whatever happened to that salient award of excellence for school athletes?

In August 2008, the Olympic Games will start in Beijing, China with 203 countries and some 10,500 athletes from around the world expected to compete. The number of sporting events are as follows: 165 men’s , 127 women’s and 10 mixed events, a grand total of 302 Olympic events. New Olympic additions - Men’s and Women’s 10 kilometer open water swims, Women’s Steeplechase, Men’s and Women’s BMX Bicycle Racing, Women’s Team Saber & Foil and Team Table Tennis 

With the sport growing world popularity, it’s too bad China didn’t add surfing to their Olympic program. They might have considered using Bohai Bay as a surf break staging arena, although it is much too late for that now. However, the surfing world might start thinking about London, and the 2012 Olympics. Using the mouth of the Thames River that flows into that chancy North Sea could prove a challenge for any surfer. Then, too, the International Olympic Committee could award the games to Chicago, with its great Lake Michigan frontage, for the 2016 Olympic Games. With a good strong northeast wind pressing down from across eastern Ontario, Canada, it could make for great waves on the big lake. Why not … I’ve been told by several local surfers it’s possible, having already experienced that surfing adventure themselves.

I have not filled my surfing notations with many younger surfers other than the names of Kolohe Andino, Riley Metcalf and Anneke Barrie. Although there are many waves for them to ride to further prove themselves, those previously mentioned are of note, because they are very young and have done exceedingly well so far, with talent measured by the surfers’ display of flowing grace, balance, speed, style and a certain amount of continuity. 

Coming before them, surfing talents from San Clemente’s past, the Hoffman’s, the Smith sisters and the Fletcher brothers were all aware of the silent shadows of gifted surfers. A second grouping still floats the waves and passes traditions along the shores of the beautiful San Clemente beaches; the Beschen brothers, Dino Andino, Matt Archbold, Jeff Baxter and Colin McPhillips. As well as present day third wavers whose abilities are fed by world contest tours, photo-shoots and picturesque surfing: the extraordinary Chris Ward, Mike Losness, NateYeomans, Jason Miller, Dane Ward, the Long brothers, Gudaukas brothers, Christain Wach, Troy Mothershead, Brandon Ragenovich and Trevor Saunders. They live and thrive in San Clemente where their instincts and surfing skills are further enhanced. They teach themselves and copy from the best of other surfers. Watch them the next time you view them off T-Street, the Pier or Trestles. It’s not just by magic that they seem to float across, over and through the waves. For some, it goes beyond just talented skills, it borders on athletic genius... 
Although many may attempt to surf, far too many become discouraged and drop out, punishing themselves needlessly. One must be willing to spend the weeks, months and years it takes to become a really skilled surfer. Many often fail to listen to their bodies not caring or understanding the natural limitations we are all touched by. Instead of giving up, they could try a different board size, switch from a shortboard to a longboard, seek out a new shore break or perhaps a new and colorful wetsuit. 

There is something for everyone in this energizing sport. Learn to identify your assets and limitations, opening the inward door to your giftedness and working from there. No doors in surfing remain closed forever, if one is truthful with him/herself. Too many surfers want to be like Kelly Slater, forgetting there is only one of him. Be what you are, and learn to work with those assets you have. By work, I mean work, not just riding a few waves, shooting the breeze and never taking note of why you failed to execute your last wave, or why you lost your balance. Asking … is your head held too high, too low, not leaning enough to the left or to the right? And knowing that both physical and mental speed are very important to successful surfing. Try. Just a half-hour of concentrated, intelligent working out daily might improve one’s surfing skills. Better still, workout with a knowing friend, four eyes are better than two.

Looking back at the Triton surfing, swimming, volleyball, track, golf and baseball teams from this past spring, you witness one of the best years for the Tritons ever. A new swimming, surfing and water polo award by Mr. Bruce Hopping - who has done so much for these sports over the last 50 years – has contributed much to the athletic department’s success. He has donated merit awards for individuals, teams, high schools, colleges and AAU national and international venues. Mr. Hopping recently presented San Clemente High School with a trophy for both men’s and women’s aquatic sports. The coaches’ criteria for awarding this trophy are based on athletic performance, leadership, participation in more than one aquatic sport, and academic excellence. Congratulations are in order for this year’s winners, senior Scott Yeilding and junior Courtney McCammon. b
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