It was the smallest details that Peninsula's Aiichiroh "Ike" Shirakata paid attention to heading into last Thursday's Bay League swimming championships at Redondo Union High School.
"Going into the meet, the only goal was just to execute all the small details like turns and starts," Shirakata said. "I wasn't rested, so I was just in there to get in some good races."
Not only did the Columbia-bound Shirakata turn in a few good races, he broke a few Bay League records along the way.
His 50.55-second finish in the 100-meter butterfly set a new league record, as did his 1:52.46 time in the 200 IM. Shirakata was also the final leg on 200 free relay team that broke another league record with its 1:27.72 finish while helping Peninsula’s boys win its 11th consecutive Bay League title.
"This was my last league meet, and I wasted to give back to my coaches one last time," Shirakata said. "I think i was even more excited for this meet."
In each of the three events, Shirakata advanced to next weeks CIF Southern Section Division 2 swimming and diving meet, and with it being his fourth and final one, he knows what to expect.
"I am very grateful to swim at CIF again, and I want to swim well not just for me, but for my team, coaches, and my family," Shirakata said. "At CIF, the times get more competitive, so I'm going to rest and sharped up my strokes. I'm very excited to swim with some of the fast kids."
Shirakata will be competing in more than just the 100 fly, 200 IM and the 200 free relay. His is also the second leg of Peninsula's 200 medley relay team, another Bay League champion.
The relay team consisting of Brennan Preyer, Shirakata, Josh Leung and Brandon Yoon posted a 1:36.49 finish that earned them first place.
"Ike is definitely one of the greatest swimmers to come out of Peninsula," Peninsula's boys swim coach Brian Helmrich said.
Shirakata won a CIF title in 2018 in the 200 IM with his 1:49.46 finish. Even with his top finishes, he remained humble.
"It means a lot to have my name up there with the school I represent," Shirakata said. "I hope someone will break the record, because that means the young guys are faster. We need that in this sport."
While Shirakata was leaving his mark on the Bay League on the boys side, Peninsula's Lily Garcia nearly broke her own record in the 100 breaststroke.
Garcia posted a 1:07.50 finish last Thursday, just short of her 1.07 mark that will stand as the league's best for another year.
“Lily did great things for our team this season,” Helmrich said. “She took three months off swimming prior to high school season because of health issues and got back to her top times by the end of the season and qualified for CIF.”
The junior also finished second in the 100 butterfly (58.27), while teammate Mekaela Kaji took third (59.56). Kaji, a freshman, won a Bay League title in the 100 backstroke (59.45), and Peninsula’s girls earned a second place finish in Bay League.
Leung, a sophomore, earned a Bay League crown in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.83).
Also qualifying for the CIF meet were Brandon Yoon (200 free, 100 free), Leung (50 free), Preyer (100 fly, 100 back). Hiro Sato earned a CIF invite with his finishes in the 100 free (48.94) and the 100 back (55.49).
The CIF-SS Division 2 meet will be held Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, at the Riverside Aquatics Complex at Riverside City College.