By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
VENTURA, Calif. — College of the Canyons swimmers Rowdy Feather and Kenny Payne each won an event and combined to bring home 22 event points as the Cougars' men's team took second place at the Western State Conference (WSC) meet hosted by Ventura College last Friday.
Ventura won the event with 63 event points. COC (52) was just off that pace but outlasted Bakersfield College (48) in third and fourth place Cuesta College (24).
"We had a very strong showing," said COC head coach Sean Kakumu about his team's first conference meet. "To place as well as we did, both individually and as a team, bodes well for our end of season performances."
Feather was first in the 200-yard IM at a time of 2:04.98. The Canyon High School graduate also clocked a time of 59:06 for third place in the 100-yard backstroke and continues to be a stalwart in his second year with the Cougars. The previous week Feather put together a trio of top-five performances (400-yard IM/3rd-4:29.81; 200-yard IM/5th-2:04.72; and 200-yard backstroke/5th 2:05.5) at the annual Mt. San Antonio College Swimming & Diving Invitational.
"Rowdy has continued what he started during freshman year," said Kakumu. "He's dominating the 400 IM while fine-tuning his backstroke events. Some adjustments still need to be made, but Rowdy clearly sees a potential conference title and a berth to the state championships ahead of him."
In 2018, Feather was named an All-American in both the 200-yard backstroke & 400-yard IM after competing at the CCCAA state meet. His seventh place time of 1:54.08 in the 200y backstroke at the 2018 state championships is a school record.
Payne's event victory came in the 1,650-yard freestyle at a time of 18:25.68. The sophomore, who was battling a cold on meet day, was also fifth in the 100-yard backstroke at a pace of 1:05.3. The former Valencia Viking was a 2018 All-American in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
"Kenny winning the 1,650 was not surprising, he's been training in practice for this event for months," Kakumu added. "Recovering from a cold does not make for a perfect race, so I can't wait to see what he can do when fully healthy."
Sophomore Miguel Martinez finished runner-up in both the 100-yard butterfly (55:00) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.87). Hart grad Emilio Santayo was the other major scorer for Canyons with a third place result in the 100-yard butterfly (57.62), later finishing fourth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:59.01).
COC will compete at the annual Cuesta College Invitational this weekend, before hosting WSC Meet No. 2 on Saturday, March 16, at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.