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Power transfer

Chelsea Griffiths hopes transferring to Hart will boost the team and her career

Posted: March 22, 2009 1:32 a.m.
Updated: March 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Hart High School swimmer Chelsea Griffiths is hoping to help the Indians repeat as CIF champions after transferring two years ago from Canyon.

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During her sophomore season, Hart’s Chelsea Griffiths set a league record in the 100-yard backstroke at the Foothill League Swim Finals with a time of 58.62 seconds.

The catch? She swam for Canyon at the time.

She rolled the dice in order to join the Indians’ relay team, and she was ineligible last season due to the restrictions of her transfer to Hart.

Call it a gamble.

“At that point in my life, it was what was best for me,” Griffiths says. “It wasn’t that there was anything wrong per say, it is just that it needed to happen.”

With the decision, a year of her high school career was gone.

For her entire junior season, Griffiths watched and helped and supported her new teammates.

“I think it would be hard to sit out a year,” says Hart and club teammate Jordan Danny. “I think it was probably so hard for her. But if she waited it out, she would be a part of this amazing team, which is what she needed to do. That waiting process is going to make this season that much sweeter.”

In terms of this season, the year off meant a spot on the Indians’ relay team.

Joined by Danny, Sam Asencio, Hayley Good, Maggie Hanson, Rachel Stoffel, Nicole Antoniuk and Nicolette Barreiro, Griffiths is part of Hart’s deep and talented stable of relay swimmers.

Hart head coach Steve Neale was excited about their potential, calling them “something pretty special.”

Griffiths maintained a positive attitude throughout training, the regular season and postseason, doing whatever she could to help and still be a part of the team.

The whole time she had thoughts of what could be in her senior campaign.

“She’s been waiting two years to have a great high school season,” Neale says. “I want more than anything for that one high school season to be part of a Hart High team that could very well win a CIF Division I championship.”

But don’t expect Griffiths to miss a beat, because she continued to train with her club team at the Canyons Aquatic Center and her team the Senior Gold Group.

This meant she continued working with all of her new teammates, plus some other swimmers.

In fact, the club’s 400 medley relay team comprised of Griffiths, Good, Danny and Canyon’s Kearsten Livingstone took fourth place at Junior Nationals in Texas back in December.

Transition or no transition, she is settling in well wearing the black and red.

“It has definitely added more to the domination factor of Hart High School,” Danny says. “She is going to definitely help out our team a lot, and also as a team leader outside of the pool, helping out the girls who are lower-classmen. That is what we all aim to be — role models, and I think that Chelsea is well-qualified.”

Griffiths says the storms have settled since leaving Canyon, and former head coach Steve Himes agrees, saying everyone has moved on and moved forward.

If there were any hard feelings, both sides believe they are in the rear-view mirror.

Even the time out of high school swimming has had its benefits.

Besides focusing on her club team, Griffiths was able to continue practicing the freestyle stoke.

“When I was watching it was kind of frustrating, but I knew it was for the best and what I wanted.” Griffiths says. “I totally 100 percent do not regret it at all.”

No matter how the season goes, she is prepared to move up to the next level.

The senior backstroker has already committed to Louisiana State University where she plans to continue swimming.

In the meantime, there is a lot yet to be accomplished.

“Hopefully these next two months will really give her high school career a lot of meaning,” Neale says.

pputignano@the-signal.com

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