Nick Silverthorn swam one of the fastest 100-yard breaststroke races in high school history at last year's North Coast Section championships.

Yet, the Granada High star settled for third place after an historic finish in which three swimmers broke Olympian Brendan Hansen's public school national record.

When the NCS championships return to Concord Community Pool on Friday and Saturday, all eyes will again be on the boys breaststroke.

The race will look a little different this time -- the two swimmers that beat Silverthorn have moved on to college -- but should be competitive with another record-breaking performance within reach.

San Ramon Valley's Hank Poppe, Northgate's Stanley Wu and Castro Valley's Carson Sand are among those who will push Silverthorn.

The Cal-bound senior will need the competition. The national record was broken again in February by Andrew Seliskar of Virginia, who finished in 53.24 seconds. Silverthorn's time was 53.61 last year.

"There are definitely other people who are going to step it up, so I don't know that it's going to be a one-man race," Silverthorn said. "It's going to be a fun race."

Silverthorn's rise into one of the country's top young breaststrokers was a quick one. As a youth, his best event was backstroke. Then he burst onto the national scene with age group records in the 11-12 and 13-14 division in distance freestyle events and the 400 individual medley.

He focused on the 200 and 500 freestyle his first few years at the section meet, breaking the NCS record in the 200 as a freshman.


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Silverthorn's potential in the breaststroke only became obvious after he tried it out for fun at a post-NCS walk-on meet two years ago.

"Breaststroke just kind of came along," he said. "I ended up qualifying for winter nationals at that meet and from there it just took off."

As he prepares for the final high school meet, Silverthorn doesn't point to any specific times or mention records. But he does want to do something special.

"I just want to leave my final mark as a high school student," he said. "You can swim USA swimming as much as you want but high school swimming is limited to four years and you have four years to leave your mark. That, as well as helping my team."

  • The girls breaststroke race could also produce some eye-popping times. San Ramon Valley senior Heidi Poppe will be trying for her third straight title in the event, and hopes to do it by going under one minute for the first time.

    The only other girls swimmer to finish in under a minute at the NCS meet is Las Lomas' Kasey Carlson, who set a national record in the event in 2009.

  • Silverthorn will have plenty of competition in the 200 freestyle -- including from his own teammates. Sophomore Maxime Rooney, a double-winner in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly at the EBAL championships, and senior Trent Trump also also among the top seeds in the event.

    The Northgate duo of Michal Zyla and Eric Van Brocklin should also help make for one of the more competitive races on the boys side.

  • Carondelet's Maddie Murphy, who won the 200 and 50 freestyle at the EBAL championships, is going in a different direction for the NCS meet. She's among the very top seeds in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly. She took third at NCS in both events last year.

    NCS Swimming Championships

    WHERE: Concord Community Pool, 3501 Cowell Road, Concord
    SCHEDULE: Friday -- Trials start at 10:30 a.m.; Saturday -- Finals start at 10:30 a.m.