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Tolman narrowly misses qualifying mark for US Olympic Trials
SWM--Ripon Aquatics-Tolman pic 1 LT
Manteca resident Scott Tolman, 17, shattered his personal record in winning the 200-meter breaststroke in the Futures Championships held in Mt. Hood, Ore. on July 30-Aug. 2.


The Bulletin

Scott Tolman wants the remainder of his summer break to be as uneventful as possible.

“I only have a couple days of freedom left,” the Sierra High senior said. “I just want to sleep.”

It’s a much deserved break for the accomplished swimmer. Last week, he joined Ripon Aquatics head coach Erik Zador and four teammates for the Mt. Hood Futures Championships in Oregon.

On Saturday, he set three personal records and nearly qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200-meter breaststroke. His first-place time of 2 minutes, 18.45 was six hundredths of a second off the qualifying mark and about 3 seconds faster than his previous best.

“I was very excited that I dropped so much time but a little sad that I came so close to making that big step,” Tolman said.

Tolman has made huge strides already, but more on that later. He had a busy four days competing in five events. He also placed third in the 100 breast (1:04.83), and though he did not advance to the finals in the 50 free he PR’d with a time of 24.74, good for 34th overall. 

Fellow Mantecan Ty Wells, who attends Ripon High, Christian Britton (Gregori of Modesto) and Kyle White (Downey of Modesto) were Tolman’s relay mates in the 400 free and 400 medley. The quartet took 18th in the 400 free and clocked a season-best 3:37.86. They finished 26th in the 400 medley in 4:03.65.

“My teammates were a big part of this and I couldn’t have done it without them,” Tolman said. 

The Mt. Hood Futures Championships featured some of the top swimmers on the West Coast. Other Futures Championships meets were held simultaneously in Greensboro, N.C. and West Lafayette, Ind.

The Speedo Junior National Championships ended Monday in San Antonio, Texas. Tolman had qualifying times for Junior Nationals, but Zador said the Futures Championships offered him an opportunity to compete in more events and to experience a big event with teammates. Only three finalists in the Junior National 200 breaststroke had faster times than Tolman did in the Futures Championships.

“It was the first time we got on a plane and flew out for a meet,” Zador said. “We just wanted to go up there for the experience. Scott already has that big-meet experience, but some of the other guys got to see that for the first time.”

Tolman is a two-time Manteca Bulletin All-Area Male Swimmer of the Year. In May, he earned Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up finishes in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke and qualified for the inaugural CIF State Swimming Championships. At state, he shattered his own school records in the 50 free (21.28) and 100 breast (56.08) consolation finals. He won the 100 breaststroke consolation final and clocked the fifth fastest time of the day.

In June, he participated in the Arena Pro Series at Santa Clara — previously known as the Santa Clara Grand Prix — and shared the pool with the country’s top swimmers. He raced in the 50-meter free, 100 breast and 200 breast.

“A lot of hard work goes a long way, that’s what I’ve learned this summer,” Tolman said. “If you work hard, listen to your coach, things can go the way you want.”

He’ll have another shot at making the Olympic Trials in December. His breaststroke times at Futures Championships earned him a berth to the Speedo Winter Junior Championships-West in Austin, Texas on Dec. 9-12.

“That’s most likely my last chance,” Tolman said. “There’s a little bit of pressure because if I don’t do it there I’ll have to wait another four years for the next one.”