The Ventura College men's swimming team has finished in the Top 3 at the California Community College championships for seven straight years.
That streak is in jeopardy this weekend at East Los Angeles College after the Pirates qualified only eight swimmers last week while winning the Western State Conference title.
"We're a little hobbled," Ventura coach Larry Baratte said.
The big blow was sophomore Eric Donahoo, who, slowed for much of the season by what was discovered to be a torn meniscus, failed to qualify in his freestyle events.
"He's been hobbling around and he's been avoiding the doctor," Baratte said. "He's really turned everything over to the team."
Despite soreness, Donahoo, whose healthy times last year would have made him the top seed in the 200-yard freestyle this weekend, still plans to compete in relay events.
"I'm really proud of him," Baratte said. "He could have very easily have shrugged his shoulders and chucked it in."
With just eight men and seven women qualified, both the Ventura men's and women's teams are focused on Top 5 finishes.
Henry Chung is in position to complete a stellar freshman season. The sprinter is the top seed in all three of his individual events -- today's 50-yard freestyle (20.23 seconds), Friday's 100-yard backstroke (49.42) and Saturday's 100-yard freestyle (45.24)
"And I wish I could swim him in even more (events)," Baratte said.
On the women's side, sophomore Shyla Motley is the No. 3 seed in the 50-yard breast stroke (30.92 seconds), while freshmen Christina Robledo and Abby Puczkowski are the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the 100-yard backstroke.
"They've just been solid all season long," Baratte said. "They're hard-working, good group with six freshmen and one sophomore.
"We're going to be right in the hunt. It'll be a great experience for the girls."