Luca Urlando bolts into a pool and just goes.
He set a national high school swimming mark the other day, which is pretty heady stuff for a fellow whose lineage includes track and field success. The affable junior at McClatchy finds humor and irony in that.
The son of one-time University of Georgia hammer thrower Alessandro Urlando and grandson of Giampaolo Urlando, a two-time Olympian and 10-time national hammer champion in Italy, Luca Urlando barreled into the national public-school record books in the 100 butterfly in a preliminary heat at the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships.
Urlando cruised at 45.88 seconds, setting the pool ablaze in Lodi. That bettered the mark of 45.89 by Caeleb Dressel in 2013, before Dressel became an NCAA and world champion in the event. The overall national mark — public and private schools — is 45.22 by Joseph Schooling in 2013.
Urlando won the section final in 46.03, more than two seconds faster than the rest of a fast field. Also in Lodi, Urlando won the 200 IM by nearly five seconds, in a section-meet best 1:43.87. His lifetime best in that race is 1:42.99.
And what was Georgia-bound Urlando most excited about? A relay victory, with teammates and friends, in what he called a race to cherish for a lifetime. McClatchy won the 200 free relay in 1:24.85 to beat regional powerhouse programs Oak Ridge and Jesuit.
Urlando swam the opening leg, followed by George Wiley and brothers Ben and Alex Levy.
“It was a good weekend,” Urlando said with a laugh. “I was super happy with it. The fact that we won a relay against such good teams when a lot of people didn’t know what McClatchy could do in swimming was really important and exciting. Not just for me, but for all of my teammates.”
Urlando is so good he may be too good for this sort of thing. That’s not him speaking.
He has coaches for elite-level, year-round programs who have a vision of greatness for him. To that end, Urlando will not compete in the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend in Clovis, where he’d surely be favored to clean up.
Urlando is in an intense year-round training program in a quest to make the national team. This may be an Olympian in the making, in the same breath as regional greats who went on to become swimming Olympians such as Mike Burton, Jeff Float, Debbie Meyer, Sue Pedersen and Summer Sanders.
Urlando will be long-course training in Davis as a member of the acclaimed Davis Aquadarts Racing Team — DART for short.
“I’d really like to go to Clovis, but I’m in a lot of training right now,” Urlando said. “I have future goals of the 2020 Olympics, of doing well at Georgia, of upcoming meets this summer.”
Said McClatchy athletic director Rob Feickert, “Great kid, special kid, just amazing.”
Urlando’s parents met at Georgia, where his father set hammer records. Urlando started swimming when he was 6 years old. He takes honors courses at McClatchy, forever known as an academic boot camp, and he enjoys down time with friends.
“And I like to sleep and eat,” Urlando said in typical teenage talk. “I’ve always been a swimmer. Track and field like my dad and grandfather? Maybe in a different lifetime.”
Last summer, Urlando was third in the 200 butterfly at the U.S. Nationals in earning a spot on the 2018-19 U.S Senior National Team. His 45.62 in the 100 butterfly in the Speedo Winter Junior Championships bettered his national age-group record.
Swimming and diving
Davis won the section girls swim championship with 397.5 points, the 21st title for the Blue Devils, which is 12 more than any other section program.
Vista del Lago won the team title in girls D-II and Sacramento Country Day in D-III.
Oak Ridge, a state powerhouse in recent seasons, edged Jesuit for the boys D-I honor, earning 293 points. Jesuit had 286.5. This was Oak Ridge’s second section team title. Jesuit has a section-record 21 such titles.
Rio Americano won the D-II boys title and St. Mary’s of Stockton the D-III crown.
For complete results: cifsjs.org
Dale Lacky winners
The section awarded 49 winners with Dale Lacky scholarships totaling more than $26,000 at an awards banquet in Lodi.
Lacky winners were based on outstanding athletic achievements, academic success and community service over four years of high school, named in honor of former section and CIF president A. Dale Lacky.
Among the area $800 winners were Sarah Chaves of El Camino and Emily Jagerhorn of Rocklin for the girls and Andre Crump of Monterey Trail, Blake Moser of El Camino and Lucas Murray of Golden Sierra.
The $450 girls winners included Sierra Hagen of Colfax, Lillianna Hammons of Pioneer, Nicole Hensley of Bella Vista, Heidi Johnson of Sacramento Country Day, Lois Kearney of Union Mine, Delaney Keddie of Placer, Sophie Muse of McClatchy, Andrea Nguyen of West Campus, Megan Trottier of Woodland Christian and Emily Urkov of St. Francis.
The $450 boys winners included Jack Christian of Sacramento Country Day, Sam Davis of Bear River, Corbin Farias of Casa Roble, Tommy Hoang of West Campus, Ian Oliver of Union Mine, Caileb Ramirez of Sheldon, Ethan Remmers of Rocklin, Nathan Stewart of Lincoln and Nicholas Tejada of River Valley.
For more information: cifsjs.org