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BY MATT MARTZ Special to The Californian
A quick glance of the top times ever produced by an individual on the Immanuel Christian boys swim team show that Joshua Hanson is clearly ready for the next level.
A senior, Hanson recently completed his final high school campaign with a string of performances so impressive that his times compare quite favorably with those at Division II California Baptist University, where he is headed in the fall on scholarship to continue his swim career.
Hanson won the Southern Section Division III gold in the 200-yard individual medley with an automatic All-American time of 1:50.76.
That's three full seconds faster than the Central Section Division 1 champion, and his 100 breaststroke time of 57.92 would have placed a competitive second in the Valley.
And if that wasn't enough, he swam a school-record 51.3 in the 100 butterfly earlier in the season. For that, Hanson is The Californian's All-Area Boys Swimmer of the Year.
“I feel very honored to receive this title,” said Hanson, who has swam for the Crusaders for four seasons. “I also want to congratulate all those out there in the area that worked hard and achieved much this season.”
Stockdale senior David Hamilton is The Californian’s Boys Diver of the Year.
Hamilton took fourth at the Central Section 1-meter diving championships with a score of 352.35.
Hanson rarely lost a race in his best events, and along the way he shattered every individual school record and swam on every record-setting relay.
He says his only regret of the 2012 campaign was not winning the 100 breaststroke at the D-III championships.
“I did want to win it badly,” Hanson said. “But since the guy who beat me had a great attitude and showed good sportsmanship, I am proud that he earned that place.”
Another letdown was Hanson’s decision not to compete in the 100 butterfly at the section meet, a choice he said was made to allow Immanuel to score more points as a team.
That’s just one example of Hanson’s ability to lead, an impressive attribute that his father, Immanuel Christian swimming coach Grant Hanson, was instrumental in helping many of his teammates qualify for the Southern Section meet as relay swimmers.
“Joshua also has the mental capacity and physical coordination required to continually hone his technique, and the determination to focus and work hard in practice every day to achieve his goals,” Grant Hanson said. “He will be sorely missed at practice, because the other swimmers won’t have anyone that fast to push them, or as technically proficient to learn from.”
But even gifted swimmers realize that there is always room for improvement. And that’s usually what separates them from the rest of the pack — their resolve to continually progress by pushing themselves to the brink of their limitations.
So, Joshua Hanson continued with his tenacious work ethic and leadership in the swimming pool and also hit the weight room with his teammates and dramatically increased his strength.
“His stroke (improved),” Grant Hanson said. “Joshua’s biggest improvements this year came in the butterfly and freestyle events.”
Nevertheless, the younger Hanson says his favorite event is the 200 individual medley.
“It incorporates all the strokes and is a true test of one's stamina,” Joshua Hanson said.
At the end of a rigorous season, Hanson is taking a well-deserved break before embarking on the next step in his life, as he joins his sister Mary in meeting the demands of swimming and academics at California Baptist University.
His future goals will be qualifying for NCAA Nationals as he works towards a degree in engineering.