Viking Tries: Breaking Records


Owen Bittinger, Caleb Wong, and Alex Yan (Art)

From Jeremy Lin to Devante Adams, Paly has a rich athletic history filled with many remarkable athletes. We decided to look back at some of the greatest Paly performances and attempt to beat those records. We selected several track, field, cross country and swimming records and gathered the best of our staff in an all out attempt to beat them.

The first record we tried to beat was the 800m. The Paly record was set in 2010 by Phillip MacQuitty (‘10) who ran a time of 1:52:37. When told about Viking attempting to beat his record, he was excited to hear it.

“I don’t want my records to stay up forever. I want people to beat them,” MacQuitty said.

However we were nowhere close as the fastest time Viking produced for the 800m was 2:20:32, a time distantly far off the record.

 The other track and field records we tried to beat were the 100m, 200m, 400m, and the Long Jump. We failed to beat all of these records and even ran almost twice as slow in events like the 200m – which highlighted the skill of the athletes who set these records.

“These records are crazy,” Jackson Martin (‘23) said. “I thought I was pretty close to beating the records set by these former Paly students but I was so far off.”

Martin attempted the 100m and the 400m, where EJ Floreal and Rod Green hold the records with the times respectively being 10.52 and 48.20. Martin’s times were far in the rear view mirror at 13.23 and 1:19.89. 

The second record we attempted to break was the Girls and Boys Bol Park Cross Country course record. The boy’s record on this course was set by Kent Slaney (‘17) in the 2016 Cross Country season with a time of 10:13, which he failed to beat, putting up a best time of 12:55. The girls record on this course was set by Elizabeth Fetter (‘23) in the 2020 Cross Country Season with a time of 12:18. Determined to beat her own record, Fetter, a Viking staff member, ran the race with an all-out effort and beat her record with a time of 12:15.

“I’m glad to have beat my own record and have to say it’s thanks to my teammate Hillary,” Fetter said. “She’s the one who helped me out the most to accomplish this feat.”

Due to the fact we had only defeated one of the records we set out to beat, we decided to give ourselves an advantage in the swimming events by utilizing fins. 

Immediately, the fins paid off and Viking Editor David Gormley (‘22) managed to beat the 100 yard backstroke record of 49.49 with his own time of 48.84.

“Fins are so overpowered by maximizing  the output of your leg muscles… so in reality I’d be six or seven seconds off that record — which puts into perspective how fast it is,” Gormley said.

While fins allowed us to beat the backstroke record, we were not as fortunate with the next records we attempted. 

“Attempting all of these records, and failing to beat almost all of them, it becomes clear how insanely talented these former Paly Athletes were,” Ijzerman said.

— Ivan Ijzerman ('23)

In order to use the advantage that fins would provide, JJ Stoen (‘23) could not use the standard breaststroke kick in his 100 yard breaststroke. Instead, Stoen had used a dolphin kick with his breaststroke pull, forcing Stoen to swim in a manner he was not accustomed to. Stoen did not manage to beat the record of 55.29 set by Byron Sanborn in 2012, only putting up a time of 59.99.

Ivan Ijzerman (‘23) attempted the 100 yard freestyle record, set by Andrew Liang in 2014. Liang’s time of 44.25, a time less than 2 seconds off the national high school record, was over twelve seconds faster than Ijzerman’s previous record in the 100 free making this a daunting challenge. Even with fins, Ijzerman only produced a time of 52.70, and yet again we failed to beat the record.

The final swimming records we attempted to beat were the 200 yard medley and freestyle relay. During the relay, in order to take advantage of the one set of fins we had at our disposal, we had the first and last swimmer use fins. Despite our planning, we still came short of the records of 1:38.23 and 1:23.31.

“Attempting all of these records, and failing to beat almost all of them, it becomes clear how insanely talented these former Paly Athletes were,” Ijzerman said