Saddleback College is sad to announce that former water polo and swim coach Flip Darr suffered an apparent heart attack last night (Monday, July 6) and has passed away, according to a close friend of the family.
Flip was a Saddleback College icon for many years, starting Saddleback's water polo and swim programs during the 1973-74 academic year and guiding both of those programs for 26 years before stepping aside after the 1998-99 seasons. He guided the Gauchos to 10 conference titles in men’s swimming along with six conference runner-up finishes and seven Top-10 finishes at the state meet, including a state runner-up finish in 1985. The women’s swim team posted three conference titles, six conference runner-up finishes, and eight state Top-10 finishes, including state runner-up seasons in 1976 and 1994. As coach of the men’s water polo team he posted nine conference titles and six conference runner-up finishes, qualified for post-season play 17 times, and placed third at the state tournament in 1988 and fourth during the 1998 season.
Flip retired from Saddleback with 141 dual-meet victories in men’s swimming, 111 dual-meet victories in women’s swimming, and a record of 404 wins, 304 losses, and 6 ties in men’s water polo. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2006 (www.ishof.org) and was inducted into the California community college swimming coaches Hall of Fame in 2008. He was well-known nationally and internationally as he coached U.S. teams in the World Championships, Pan American Games, and international dual-meet competitions. He helped developed hundreds of swimmers during his coaching tenure, including Olympic swimmers such as Shirley Babashoff, Gary Hall, Sr., Mike O’Brien, Steve Furniss, Dan Jorgenson, John Mykkannen, and Valerie Lee.
Around campus, Flip was recognizable driving his bright yellow Chevrolet Corvette, smoking aromatic cigars which could be smelled from nearly a block away, and for his support of other Gaucho athletic teams. He attended many of the college's home sporting events and even had his favorite spot along the left field fence to watch Saddleback home baseball games.
The Saddleback swim team finished up strong at the state meet in Long Beach on Saturday. The men’s team finished 8th in the state on the strength of a number of top-10 individual performances while the women’s team finished 12th, with two top-10 performances on the final day of competition.
Hoklam Lau turned in the best performance of the day on Saturday when she swam the 100-yard butterfly in 59.18, for a 7th place finish in the state. Alison Berrien (pictured) was also solid in the pool on Saturday, recording a 10th place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:08.01.
The 12th place finish was the fifth straight season the Gaucho women’s team has finished in the top-15 in the state.
On the men's side, Kris Moore, James Hickson and Marcus Schlundt-Bodine all turned in top-10 times on the final day from the state swim meet to guide the Gaucho men’s team to an 8th place finish for 2009. Moore led the way on Saturday when he turned in a time of 1:58.80 in the 100-yard butterfly, good enough for 7th place in the state. Hickson continued his roll in Long Beach with a time of 1:59.86 in the 200-yard backstroke for an 8th place finish while Schlundt-Bodine swam the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:10.55 for a 9th place finish.
It was the best finish for the men at the state meet since finishing 6th back in 2000 and the sixth best finish ever for a men’s swim team.
The Saddleback swim team is having a solid weekend at the state meet in Long Beach this weekend as the men’s team sits in 9th in the state after day two while the women are in 11th. Alison Berrien (pictured) took home top honors among the women with a fourth place finish in the 50-yard breaststroke while Marcus Schlundt-Bodine finished fifth in the finals of the 100-yard breaststroke.
Berrien was an eyelash out of second place in the 50-yard breaststroke but was edged by two swimmers at the wire to finish 4th in the state. Her time of 31-seconds flat was a hair slower than her qualifying time of 30.89, which was the third best qualifying time of the day. Berrien’s finish coupled with a 6th place finish by Hoklam Lau in the 50-yard fly moved the Saddleback women’s team into 11th place in the team competition, the same spot the Gauchos were in after day one.
Schlundt-Bodine’s time of 59.30 in the 100-yard breaststroke allowed him to take home top honors for the men on day two but a number of other solid performances on the men’s side moved the team into 9th place, up four spots from day one. Kris Moore finished in 8th place in the 100-yard fly with a time of 51.68 while James Hickson finished 10th in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 53.89. Saddleback also turned in fine performances in the 200 Medley Relay and 800 Freestyle Relay where they finished 7th and 8th respectively.
Day one of the state swim meet is in the books and both the men’s and women’s swim teams have top-10 finishes to report. The Gauchos performed well in the 400 Individual Medley Relay, where the men finished sixth in the state and the women seventh.
The combination of James Hickson, Marcus Schlundt-Bodine, Pat Moore and Chris Woods led a Saddleback men’s team to a time of 3:32.56 and a sixth place finish in the state in the 400 Individual Medley Relay on Thursday. The foursome shaved two seconds off of its preliminary time earlier in the day and finished just 10 seconds off the lead, set by Orange Coast College.
The women found success of their own in the 400 IM Relay when Helen Blacker, Alison Berrien, Hoklam Lau and Marina Mladenovic (pictured) finished with a time of 4:06.78, which was good enough for a seventh place finish in the state. The team was just over a second out of fifth place and trimmed its time by 0.26-seconds from earlier in the day.
In individual competition, the top performance of the day was turned in by Hoklam Lau, who finished 10th in the state in the women’s 100 Individual Medley with a time of 1:02.33. On the men’s side, Isaac Mendoza turned in the top performance of the day when he finished 13th in the state in the 500 Freestyle with a time of 4:48.95.
The Saddleback men’s and women’s swim teams are gearing up for big things over the next three days as the state swim meet kicks into high gear in Long Beach, California, on Thursday at Belmont Plaza. Both teams have a number of swimmers with a solid shot at finishing in the top-10 in individual events, including a handful that could be among the favorites.
The women’s team is led by Alison Berrien (pictured) and Hoklam Lau, who both are among favorites to capture individual medals at the meet. Berrien recorded the top time in the 50-yard breaststroke in California this season with a time of 30.38 seconds, nearly a half second faster than her closest competitor. Lau heads to the state meet on a similar path as she recorded the top time in the 100-yard butterfly this season. Her time of 57.01 was 0.72 seconds faster than the next best time in the state.
The men’s team has a handful of swimmers with a chance at top-10 finishes led by James Hickson (pictured) and Marcus Schlundt-Bodein. Hickson recorded the fifth best time in the state this season in the 200-yard backstroke with a 1:56.14 while Schlundt-Bodein heads to the state meet with the eighth best time in the state this year in the 100-yard breaststroke (59.58).
Both teams’ best shot at a relay medal is in the 400-medley relay, where they both recorded the fourth best time in the state this season.
Swimming preliminary heats will start at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. The Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool is located at 4000 Olympic Plaza in Long Beach. Click here for a map of the area.