Seabury Hall graduate Tom makes splash for UC Irvine


POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009

UC Irvine's Randall Tom could get kicked out of school for a very unusual reason.

“;I'm about to hit 242 units in school,”; the 2004 Seabury Hall graduate said. “;I'm actually getting really close to getting booted out. If I hit like 246, they kick you out.”;

It's not often students are busted for taking too many classes, and it's even more rare for an athlete to be in that category.

But that's the situation the Anteaters swimmer finds himself in as he ends his career at the NCAA championships, which begin March 26 in College Station, Texas.

The fifth-year senior felt confident his 46.47 time in the 100-yard butterfly earlier in the year would be good enough to make the A-cut for NCAAs.

Any swimmer who posts a qualifying time good enough to make the A-cut (top 22) automatically qualifies for NCAAs in that event and any other event he makes a B-cut qualifying time.

But after the Southeastern Conference championships a week earlier, Tom's time dropped from eighth to 25th, moving him out of a guaranteed spot.

“;It was just a little nerve-wracking after the SECs happened,”; Tom said. “;I basically went in unrested and untapered and I had to put a fast swim on.”;

He did exactly that at the Big West championship meet last weekend, finishing the 100 butterfly in a personal best 45.73 seconds. He also posted qualifying times in the 200 fly (1:43.63), 100 breaststroke (54.50) and 200 individual medley (1:46.52).

It'll be Tom's second appearance at the NCAA tournament. He qualified as a junior in 2007, when he was named the Big West athlete of the year.

He finished ninth in the 100 fly that season, just missing out on All-America status, which is given to the eight swimmers that make the final. Tom swam in the consolation final and his time turned out to be the seventh fastest in the meet—better than one of the swimmers' times in the championship final.

“;In the morning I was pretty disappointed, but at night I swam with a lot of really fast guys in my heat, and I was not expecting to win it, so that kind of made things a little easier.”;

Part of the reason Tom has taken so many classes at UC Irvine is he redshirted what would have been his senior season in 2008.

He gave up the chance to compete in college-sanctioned events to attempt to qualify for a spot on the U.S. Olympic swimming team.

He stayed in school and trained with his collegiate team, but competed in USA events instead. Eventually, he made his way to the Olympic Trials a month before the actual Olympics in Beijing, and advanced to the semifinals in the 100 fly before just missing out on the final.

“;Pretty much the difference between ninth and 15th was like 0.3 seconds, so it was tight,”; Tom said. “;I know my nerves got to me a little bit too much.

“;I remember walking out and the whole arena was packed and everyone was wearing red, white and blue and I just got super nervous. I think that got to me, but I can't really do anything about it now.”;

Before he returned from the meet, he got a day to train with the Olympic team. Sharing the same pool with gold medalists Michael Phelps, Aaron Piersol and Ryan Lochte helped springboard Tom into his final season with the Anteaters.

“;Just them being in your lane makes you want to train harder, because you don't want to let them down,”; Tom said. “;It definitely pushed me a lot.”;

His goal now is to become an All-American for the first time in his career. He qualified for the NCAAs in four individual events, but hasn't decided on how many he'll swim.

“;I'm not sure yet, but it looks like it will just be two (100 and 200 fly),”; Tom said.

Last year's run to qualify for the Olympics might not be his last. Even though the electrical engineering major says finding a job is his first priority this summer once school is over, he hasn't ruled out one more chance at making the Olympic team.

“;I'm definitely going to do at least one long-course meet in order to qualify for 2012 (trials) in case I do decide to go for it,”; Tom said. “;It'll depend on how the job thing goes down, but I might try to look for a sponsor for swimming and see how that goes.”;



School of Mines digs Pape's basketball skills

For all of Kyle Pape's accomplishments at Colorado School of Mines, there's one statistic that stands out above the rest.

In Pape's senior season, the Orediggers finished 14-13 and extended their streak of winning seasons to five.

Pape, a 2005 'Iolani graduate, was instrumental in the last four, and finishes his career with a bevy of individual accolades.

He was named to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Eastern Division second team this week after averaging 17.2 points per game. He was one of two Orediggers to start all 27 games this season, and finished seventh in the league in scoring and eighth in free-throw percentage (.818).

For his career, Pape was a first-team, all-conference selection once and made the second team twice. He was the RMAC freshman of the year and finishes his career sixth in school history with 1,820 points.


Women's Basketball

» Cal State Northridge sophomore Analee Viena-Lota (Kamehameha '07) finished with nine points, two rebounds and a steal in a 56-48 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. Viena-Lota has started 18 of 28 games this season and averages 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game.

» Idaho freshman Shaena-Lyn Kuehu (Punahou '08) had 11 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block in a 63-60 win over Hawaii at the Stan Sheriff Center last Friday.

» Pepperdine senior Taylor Smith (Kalaheo '05) finished with a team-high 12 points and four rebounds on 6-for-11 shooting as the Waves closed the regular season with a 55-47 victory over San Francisco on Saturday. Pepperdine (16-12, 9-5 West Coast Conference) is seeded third in this week's conference tournament and plays the winner of San Diego and San Francisco tomorrow.

» UNLV freshman Jamie Smith ('Iolani '08) had 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Rebels came back from a 22-point deficit in the second half to beat Air Force 64-63 on Wednesday night. UNLV concludes its regular season tomorrow against San Diego State.

» Washington University (Mo.) senior Shanna-Lei Dacanay (Punahou '05) had four points and an assist on senior night Saturday as the Bears defeated Chicago 70-55. Dacanay earned University Athletic Association honorable-mention honors as Washington finished the season 21-4 overall and 13-1 in conference play to win the league title and earn a berth in the NCAA Division III championships. The eighth-ranked Bears host Capital in a first-round game today at 2 p.m.

» Puget Sound junior Natasha Ludwig (Waiakea '06) was held to five points, four rebounds and a block as the Loggers lost to George Fox in the Northwest Conference tournament championship last Saturday.


Men's Swimming

» Coast Guard Academy senior Jack Suave (Leilehua '05) placed third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.95 seconds at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference championships last weekend. Suave also finished sixth in the 200 breaststroke (2:11.99) and swam a personal-best 2:03.65 in the 200 individual medley. He also swam a leg for the 200- and 400-yard medley relay teams that finished second.


Men's Volleyball

» BYU freshman middle blocker Futi Tavana (Kauai '05) hit .421 with nine kills, three blocks and three digs in a three-set sweep of Pacific on Saturday. Tavana was third on the team with 122 kills and first with 75 blocks heading into last night's match against No. 1 Cal State Northridge.

» Stanford sophomore Spencer McLachlin (Punahou '07) combined for 26 kills and 19 digs in two matches against Hawaii last weekend at the Stan Sheriff Center. Junior Kawika Shoji ('Iolani '06) combined for 87 assists and freshman Brad Lawson ('Iolani '08) had 20 kills as the Cardinal swept the Rainbows on consecutive nights. Freshman Erik Shoji (Punahou '08) chipped in 35 digs over both nights and Jordan Inafuku (Kamehameha '07) also played in both matches.