FOOTBALL players and coaches will claim that their sport has the toughest practices of any sport out there. So much so that double-days in the August heat are often portrayed in movies and TV shows as torture sessions that inevitably end with vomiting and unbearable pain.

If it's called "Hell Week," it is just that, one week. Tough? Absolutely. Toughest? Not even close.

The Buzzer has been around the Valley long enough to know that football players are a very dedicated bunch. That being said, nothing compares with the dedication it takes to be a competitive swimmer in the area.

Don't believe it? Ask Granada's Brandon Fischer, Foothill's Karen Wang or Amador Valley's Catherine Breed and Tory Houston.

Fischer, Wang and Breed have qualified for the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials that will run from June 29 to July 6 in Omaha, Neb.; and Houston, who holds Canadian citizenship and is just 14, recently got back from the Canadian trials.

For Fischer, a normal day is nothing like that of a normal person. He's up at 3:45 a.m. and is in the water with his Pleasanton Seahawks swimming team at 4:15. After two hours of practice, he heads back home for a big breakfast, then darts to Granada for school until it's time to head back to the second session of swimming practice, which would last for another two hours.

By the time he gets home, normally after 6 p.m., he has less than two hours to eat and finish any homework he didn't finish at school so he can get to bed before 8.


Advertisement

"If I don't get eight hours of sleep, I'm not going to do well the next day," he said. "But I love what I do, so it's worth it."

Fischer has qualified in the 200-meter breaststroke and will attempt to achieve a 100-meter breaststroke qualifying time at the Santa Clara Invitational the week before the North Coast Section meet in mid-May.

Renowned Pleasanton Seahawks coach Steve Morsilli said it was especially impressive for Fischer, who will head to the University of Wyoming on a swimming scholarship in the fall, to qualify, because on the men's side, the amount of high-schoolers at the trials is only about 10 percent.

Granada coach Bruce Wolfe, who has been coaching swimming for about 40 years, said Fischer has the best work ethic of anyone he has ever coached.

Breed has qualified in three events, the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle, but according to Morsilli, she has the potential to become one of the best 400-meter freestyle swimmers in the world.

"She's already in the top 100 in the world," he said. "I think she can drop down and be in the top 30."

And he's not talking about in her lifetime, he's talking about this year. Not bad for a freshman in high school who just turned 15 years old.

For Amador Valley coach Jon Palleson, having two freshmen with world-class talent in Breed and Houston on the same high school team has been a blessing.

"It's uncharted territory for me," he said. "It's very exciting to announce (their accomplishments) to a crowd of parents and talk about the type of program we have. First and foremost, (Breed and Houston) are outstanding athletes and great people. They are both freshmen, so it will be really exciting to have the opportunity to see them grow."

Houston didn't qualify for the Canadian team, but her future is bright. She'll make another go at it for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Wang, a sophomore — an extremely talented young lady, according to Morsilli — is swimming with near-flawless technique in the backstroke. She has qualified in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events.

Two more EBAL Amador swimmers also are close to making the cut. Kayleigh Foley in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and Lisa Narum in the 200-meter individual medley.

The dedication these kids and coaches give to their sport is amazing. The Buzzer's hat goes off to them and wishes them the best of luck for the rest of the high school season and beyond.

Best of the Valley

1. Livermore baseball — The Cowboys took down Monte Vista and Cal last week, but it doesn't get any easier this week against 3-0 Foothill.

2. Amador girls lacrosse — In a rematch of last year's NCS title game, Amador got revenge against Cal, winning 18-7.

3. California volleyball — Wins against Foothill and Washington last week should impress the NCS committee and help land the No. 1 seed.

4. Foothill softball — Teams in the EBAL are beating each other, while the Falcons stayed unbeaten.

5. San Ramon Valley boys lacrosse — The Wolves have outscored EBAL teams by a combined score of 77-12.

Game of the Week — Livermore at Foothill baseball, 4 p.m. With the Foothill and Livermore both 3-0 in EBAL play, Wednesday's meeting between the two should be good.

The Buzzer, Kyle Bonagura, can be reached at (925) 847-2167 or

kbonagura@bayareanewsgroup.com.

To reach the "Prep Corner" blog, visit http://www.ibabuzz.com/prepcorner.