Last month, Adam Bonnet put the finishing touches on a terrific water polo and swimming career at San Benito High by competing in the Central Coast Section Championships.
However, he wouldn’t have qualified for the meet had San Benito High not scheduled a last-minute contest with Carmel. That meet, Bonnet said, was “up in the air for a while.” When it was finalized, Bonnet knew he had to deliver.
And that’s exactly what he did, hitting a CCS-qualifying time in the 100-yard butterfly to earn a spot in the CCS Prelims, which took place on May 28 at San Benito High. The recent graduate nailed a personal-record time of 53.09 seconds in the prelims before posting a 53.45 the next day in the finals.
“It was a really cool experience having CCS at my home pool,” he said. “I already had the mindset of going faster because I had been incrementally building up and knew what I had to do to get faster.”
During the preliminary warmups, Bonnet worked on getting a good push and turn off the wall. Swimming competitions tend to be a fraternity and Bonnet knew most of the competitors in the event. As a result, Bonnet said, “We were talking and getting each other hyped up for the race.” His usual ritual before race time involves swinging his arms around, slapping his thighs and drills that warm up his entire body. Bonnet said his strokes felt good during the race, but his turns could’ve been better and he was a tad slow in getting to the wall for the final touch. Nonetheless, he posted a personal-best time and qualified for the finals the next day.
“I was a little bummed I didn’t go 52,” he said. “It was a mixed feeling of excitement and a little disappointment. When I got out of the pool, I was excited to go around and talk to everybody. During the warm down, I already knew what I needed to work on for the finals. I was excited.”
Admittedly, a little too excited. Bonnet ended up going 53.45 in the finals, a time he chalked up to expending too much energy in the leadup to the race.
“I had too much adrenaline going and wore myself out before the race even started without even realizing it,” he said. “I was so focused on getting the 52 second time that I barely missed the day before that I got myself too psyched up going into the race.”
Bonnet accomplished his goal of taking the first 50 yards in 24.90 seconds, but he faded over the final 50 in 28.55. Bonnet said he was pleased with his stroke technique but not the final time. The race capped a stellar career for Bonnet, who qualified to CCS in his freshman, sophomore and senior years (there was no event last season due to Covid).
As a freshman, Bonnet qualified in the 400 free and 200 medley relay. The next year he hit a CCS cutoff time in the 500 freestyle. Last year, of course, the season was lost to Covid. Bonnet was in danger of missing this year’s championships had it not been for the late-season push to get Carmel on the schedule.
For the meet, Bonnet would have two cracks at qualifying for the butterfly—as the first leg of the 400 free relay where he could swim any stroke he wanted. If he didn’t hit the time in that event, he had another crack at it in the 100 butterfly race later in the meet.
“My plan was if I didn’t hit the qualifying time in the relay, I would push for it in the 100 butterfly,” he said. “But I didn’t need it.”
With his teammates standing and cheering him on from the pool deck, Bonnet nailed the 54.79 CCS qualifying time.
“We barely squeezed in that last meet with Carmel, which was great,” he said. “The more the merrier, obviously. It turned out to be a great decision.”