Edison's Tom Shields celebrates his national high school record Wednesday.

Shields breaks national record

Shields breaks national record
The Edison senior blazes past Diehl's mark in 200 free, and Fascella stands out in girls Division I prelims.

WALNUT -Tom Shields passed his personal “Babe Ruth” in impressive fashion at the CIF-SS Division I swim prelims Wednesday.

The Edison senior smashed legendary Mission Viejo swimmer Eric Diehl’s 1991 national public school record in the 200-yard freestyle by 1 ½ seconds by blazing a time of 1 minute, 33.83 seconds at Mt. SAC.

Shields also easily sank the national private school record of Olympian Joe Hudepohl, whose standard was a 1:34.96 in 1991.

Shields paid his respects to Diehl. The Cal-bound swimmer told Diehl's former club coach, Terry Stoddard, that Diehl has “been like Babe Ruth” to him.

“One thirty-three is really special,” said Stoddard, who coached Diehl with the Mission Viejo Nadadores and is now a club coach in Pasadena.

“We may have seen the beginning of a great national and international athlete … He's coming of age.”

Shields, 17, surprised himself. He overcame a bout of nerves during breakfast and blasted to the time — also a Southern California Swimming record — in his first race.

Decked out in a full-body TYR Tracer Rise suit, he signaled his intentions in the opening 50 yards, splitting a 21.93.

At the 100 he was at 45.54. When he touched the final wall, Shields coolly pumped his fist. After he climbed out of the pool, he hugged Mission Viejo Nadadores club teammate, Jon Daniec, and waved in the stands to Nadadores coach Bill Rose.

“I was going for it but not by that much,” Shields said of his time.

“Rose told me that I could do it time and time again … I never believed it. Then I looked up and saw it and was ‘Oh, geez, maybe I can.' ”

Shields said prerace nerves caused him to over-eat and get sick during breakfast. By the afternoon, it was the spectators at Mt. SAC who were having a hard time digesting Shields' performance. Shields' time also was just over six seconds faster than the next faster qualifier - Daniec at 1:40.03.

“It's insane,” said USC-bound Trevor Hoyt of Yucaipa, the top qualifier in the 200 IM (1:51.38) and breaststroke (56.84). "He destroyed everyone."

"He beat all the medley relays out there by himself," San Clemente girls coach John Bandaruk said of Shields.

Rose said Shields has the potential to be faster in Friday's 6 p.m. finals at Mt. SAC. All the remaining Southern Section's prelims and finals have been moved to Mt. SAC because a problem with the pool at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.

Rose said Shields turn were strong but can be better. The coach also said final split of 24.32 can be improve.

"I'm sure he can be faster," Rose said.

The national age-group record for 17-18s is 1:33.28 by Olympian Troy Dalbey in 1987.

Shields also qualified first in the butterfly (47.79), led off the 200 free relay in the fastest 50 of the day — 20.56 seconds — and helped the Chargers qualify first in the 400 free (3:06.51). His 50 ties him for fourth in county history with Polish Olympian Bart Kizierowski (Mission Viejo).

Fountain Valley's Cynthia Fascella became the third girl in county history to break 23 seconds in the 50 free by qualifying first in a lifetime-best 22.94 seconds. She also qualified first in the 100 free in 50.20, which ranks third all-time in the county.

At the Sunset League finals, Fascella didn't win either event. The junior said she was battling fatigue from hard training with Golden West Swim Club. She also didn't wear a technical suit because it had a hole.

But Fascella had her legs on Wednesday and a Speedo LZR Racer suit.

"I knew when I was ready to go for CIF, I'd do it," Fascella said of her rebound.

There were some disappointments for county swimmers. Fountain Valley sophomore Shelby Webber, one of the favorites in the 200 free, was disqualified for a false start.

University's girls medley relay was disqualified for an early jump.

Northwood's boys raced for official times but were not allowed to advance because an issue with their entries, section assistant commissioner Kristine Palle said.

Palle said Belmont Plaza is repairing its pump but the timetable for a return to competition at the historic facility remained unclear. “We have to prepare the best we can,” she said.

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