It came down to the wire, but in the end, the Orange Coast College men's and women’s swim teams stood alone atop the mountain, capturing their respective state titles at the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association State Swim/Dive Championships at De Anza College this past weekend.
Late in the final day of the three-day men’s event, Sierra College pulled ahead of the Pirates, 436-435, with just six events remaining. But, it was event 34 — the men's 100-yard freestyle — where the Pirates showed their depth and talent to pick up the points needed to pull away from Sierra.
Once the final points were tabulated, the Pirate men took home the school's eighth men's swim state title in school history with a team score of 571.5 points, 14.5 points ahead of Sierra's team total of 556 points.
"Everyone kept telling me, 'hey you got it,' and I'm sitting there seeing Sierra in the standings right with us," OCC aquatics coach and CCCAA State Coach of the Year Anthony Iacopetti said on Saturday at the state meet. "I was nervous all weekend, and it wasn't until we had a big score in the 100 freestyle that I felt we were finally in a position to win it."
The final relay win was OCC's fifth state relay crown in five races, a key factor in the Pirates winning the state team title.
"We were so strong in the sprint freestyles and this team worked very hard to be ready," Iacopetti said. "As it turned out we needed all five of those relay wins."
Hayden Hemmens, who won his third individual state title on Saturday in the 200 backstroke (1:46.36), shared Men's Swimmer of the Year honors with San Diego Mesa's Brandon Crabtree, who also won three titles at this year's State Meet.
It was a clean sweep for the Pirates, who also captured women's state title at the state meet, giving OCC 92 state/national titles in school history.
After a one-year absence, the Pirate women returned to the top of the mountain, winning the state title for the 19th time in school history, cruising to a 128.5-point win over the rest of the field.
The Coast women rolled to a team score of 522 points, well ahead of runner-up Santa Rosa College (393.5).
"We won all 18 swim events at the conference championships, so we knew what kind of talent we had with our women's team," Iacopetti said after the meet. "That last day, it just seemed like every race we had some one in the lead or near the lead. We were prepared to do our best in every event."