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CdM's Namba is boys swimmer of the year
Jared Namba said he "figured out" this spring how to race.
Yes, leave it to a senior bound for Columbia University to get things right when it matters most.
The Corona del Mar swimmer fulfilled years of potential by capturing his first CIF-Southern Section individual title and posting Orange County-leading times in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke.
No other boy led the county in multiple events.
Namba, The Register's 2012 boys swimmer of the year, also finished second in the county in the butterfly and helped power the Sea Kings' 200 medley relay to a county record. Corona del Mar also took second in team points.
"I'm glad that I performed so well when I needed to," Namba said. "I think by (my) fourth year, I figured out (how to race)."
Namba's improved racing skills shined brightest at the Division 1 finals. He outdueled friend and Aquazot club teammate, Corey Okubo of University, for the 200 IM crown. Namba won by 18 hundredths of a seconds with a lifetime-best time of 1 minute, 50.01 seconds.
While Namba narrowly missed becoming the 10th county boy to break the hallowed 1:50 barrier, he was pleased with the victory.
"I've always wanted to win that one CIF individual title," said Namba, who collected a pair of sixth-place finishes in Division 1 as a freshman. "Thank God I had Corey there ... to push me."
Namba finished second in the backstroke to rising Redlands sophomore Kyle Gornay with a time of 49.94.
But he also broke 50 seconds twice at the Pacific Coast League meet, including his sizzling, lifetime-best 49.40 in finals.
Namba jumped to fourth in county history in the dorsal event and posted the fastest time in the county since Olympians Aaron Peirsol and Michael Cavic each went 47s in 2002.
Namba also posted a lifetime-best in the butterfly at league with a 49.68.
So what did Namba "figure out" this spring? He focused on pool awareness and relaxation. In the pool, he maintained an awareness of his opponents but tried not to look at them too much. And before hitting the water, his goal was to stay calm.
"I think to people I seem really focused but I think I actually (was) even more relaxed this year," he said. "Senior year, it's all about having fun and not having regrets."