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Edman goes the distance

HIGH SCHOOL SWIM PREVIEW:

SWIMMING: Distance freestyle standout leads Mustangs, who are trying to defend their Orange Coast League championship.

April 09, 2008|By Matt Szabo

Costa Mesa High senior Sam Edman has always had the swimming ability.

Ever since his sophomore year, Edman has been one of the top swimmers in the Golden West League, and now the Orange Coast League, for the Mustangs. Edman is strong in both the 200-yard freestyle and 500 free, and he wants to make it to the CIF Southern Section Division II finals in both events this year.

But although he has always had the ability, Mesa swim coach Patty Smith said she’s noticed a difference in his self-confidence lately.

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For the past two years, Edman has played for the El Toro-based SET water polo club team. Initially, he wasn’t sure if he could stand the competition.

“He didn’t think he was going to make it,” Smith said. “He not only made the team, but he made the best team, the traveling team, playing with some of the best water polo players in Southern California. That helped his self-confidence a lot.”

He’s carried it over to swimming, where Edman wants to defend his league titles in the 200 and 500 free this season. Two years ago, he finished second in both events at the Golden West League finals to then-Estancia senior Chad Kunert, but Edman’s times have only gotten faster.

His personal-best in the 200 free is 1:46.40, Edman said, while in the 500 free it’s 4:56.73. Last year, he was 17th in the CIF Southern Section Division II preliminaries in the 200 free; his goal this year is to be top eight to advance to the championship race.

“[Finishing second in league as a sophomore] was pretty motivating,” Edman said. “That helped me realize I’m a pretty good swimmer, that I almost beat a senior as a sophomore. I wasn’t going to let losing to him get me down. I always wanted to get better, faster.

“I think that if [Kunert] were to come back and swim me now, he’d be a little bit surprised.”

Edman infuses playfulness into the Mustangs, Smith said, with his wry sense of humor. But he doesn’t go too overboard. He realizes he’s a team leader, and it’s a job he said he takes seriously, along with fellow seniors Skyler Twohig and James Fowler.

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