Collegiate swimmer shine

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Tuolumne County Aquatic alumni Jason Tufts, Sara Painter, Michael Baier and Lauren Gerber recorded personal bests at their respective college conference meets.

Tufts (Sonora High School, Class of 2000) and Gerber (Summerville, Class of 2001) reached personal bests in three events apiece for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo at the Big West Championship.

Tufts, competing in his third season for Cal Poly, broke the school record in the 200 backstroke with his time of 1:52.74. That time beat his previous personal-best of 1:52.88, which he set in the preliminary heat.

Tufts also set personal bests in the 100 backstroke (52.08) and 50 freestyle (21.92). He finished in the top 16 in all three events, highlighted by his sixth-place finish in the 200 backstroke and seventh-place finish in the 100 backstroke.

Gerber, in her rookie season for Cal Poly, finished 10th in the 100 backstroke (59.16) and 14th in the 50 freestyle (25.15). Gerber set a third personal best in the 200 backstroke (2:10.53).

At the Pacific Coast Championship, Baier (Sonora, '01) competed for the University of California at San Diego while Painters (Sonora, Class of '00) swam for UC Santa Cruz.

Painters, a junior still recovering from a shoulder injury, competed in the 50 freestyle (27.86), 100 freestyle (59.37), 200 freestyle (2:07.39), 500 freestyle (5:45.64) and 200 backstroke (2:33.44).

Baier, a sophomore, turned in top-10 performances in the 400 individual medley (4:06.21, third place), 200 breaststroke (2:10.11, sixth place) and 200 IM (1:55.46, seventh place). He also reached a national "B" qualifying time in the 500 freestyle with his personal-best time of 4:41.39.

Baier was also part of the 800 freestyle relay team that beat its previous best mark by three seconds and reached the "A" time standard.

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The Union Democrat
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