Burroughs High School swimming history traced back to 1951

Burroughs High School swimming history traced back to 1951Bruce Auld, a former Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent, is writing the history of Burroughs High School. The articles that are being published are excerpts form his upcoming book, exclusive to The News Review.


The roots of Burroughs swimming can be traced back to 1951 when Dick and Carol Chatterton arrived at China Lake from the University of Nevada, Reno. Dick was raised on Maui, Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, Dick could see the Japanese Air Force lining up for bombing runs on Pearl Harbor. After seaboard US Navy duty (sonarman), Dick enrolled at the University of Hawaii and was a competitive swimmer, training with teammate and Olympic champion Johnny Weissmuller. Dick held several long-standing pool records as a young swimmer in Hawaii. He transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno and earned a degree in electrical engineering.

Carol was raised in Sparks, Nevada. As a young woman, she immersed herself in Red Cross aquatics. Although highly trained in the full spectrum of Red Cross aquatics, Carol had no experience in competitive swimming.

In 1958, the Indian Wells Valley Recreation Council created the Indian Wells Valley Swim Team. Dick Chatterton, given his competitive experience was designated as the head coach and Carol team manager. Shortly thereafter, Carol assumed head coach duties, continuing well into the 1970s, when the Indian Wells Valley Swim Team and the High Desert Swim Team fielded some 300 prep swimmers and dominated Kern County competitive swimming. Given these strong pre-high school swimmers, Burroughs swimming did not lack for well-trained competitors.

In 1974, Charlie Lattig (BHS 1967), both a competitive swimmer at Bakersfield College and California State University, Northridge and Red Cross Water Safety expert, became head coach. Burroughs swimming had recently been sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) as an eligible swimming program. Although always very competitive, Burroughs swimming became CIF legends by winning three consecutive championships on the boys’ side and then capturing a fourth championship with the girls’ team in 2003 with Greg Janson (BHS 1989) as head coach.

In 1994 after dominating the waters of the Golden and Mojave River Leagues, Burroughs claimed its first CIF title in boys’ swimming. The Burros amassed 174 points in the meet, outscoring second place Laguna Hills by 36 points. The team consisted of a well-rounded cast of athletes, but was led by freshman phenomenon David Chan who was named “Swimmer of the Meet.” As with its subsequent titles, the team’s dominance in the water was highlighted by its absence out of it. The competition had both swimming and diving components, and the Burros had no one competing in diving. Long-time head coach Charlie Lattig was at the helm for all three titles. Members of the team included David Chan, brothers Andy and Ryan Lopez, twins Dale and Mark Garland, Ryan Webb and Haydn Wilson. (Wikipedia)

In 1995, Burroughs continued dominance of the CIF pool, claiming its second consecutive division title at Belmont Plaza, Long Beach by edging Jurupa Valley 186-185. This time out the squad was smaller, but the result was the same as Burroughs did not field a diving team. David Chan won his second straight “Swimmer of the Meet” title and named an All-American. Members of the team included David Chan, twins Dale and Mark Garland and Ryan Lopez. (Wikipedia)

In 1996, Burroughs effected a “Three-peat.” And again, Chan was named “Swimmer of the Meet.” Ryan Lopez combined with Mark and Dale Garland to round out what is arguably the most competitive foursome ever seen in a CIF pool. (Wikipedia)

As the 1997 season neared, Chan was named to the US Junior National Team and was on track to be part of the 2000 US Olympic squad, but he was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma in his right shoulder joint. Surgery and radiation treatments were required and he was forced to have 70% of his muscle tissue removed to extract the cancer. He returned to the team as a swimmer/coach in 1997, swimming with one arm and still defeating the league foes he faced. (Wikipedia)

2003 marked the first and only Burroughs CIF championship in women’s sports.

Charlie Lattig had retired and head coach for the 2003 season was Greg Janson (BHS 1989). It was well worth the long wait for members of the 2003 Girls Swim Team. After a season that saw them perform better at a variety of meets that they had in years past, the Lady Burros claimed the school’s first ever CIF Championship for women. Burroughs took to the waters of the Long Beach Aquatics Center on May 16-17 to compete in the CIF finals. While they were able to post a handful of first-place finishes in the prelims, Burroughs failed to win a single event in the finals. But their over-all strength in the individual and relay events earned them a nine-point margin of victory over Yucaipa High School.

The Lady Burros finished with 252 points, while Yucaipa had 243. As with the boys’ championships of ’94-’96, Burroughs did not field any divers. Team members included: Jenna Marvin, Cindy Bithel, sisters Lani and Kari Seaman, sisters Amy and Lisa Spear, sisters Jennifer and Jessica Schwalb, Kym Bauer, Stacy Davis, Moriah Baker, Danielle Herteg and Monika Lee.


Likely, over one-hundred Burroughs swimmers have moved on to compete at the collegiate level in swimming or water polo. Mike Hamm (BHS 1975) may well be the most accomplished, competing for California State University, Northridge (CSUN) on three Division II National Championship teams. Mike was a four-year NCAA All American. Although he garnered numerous gold medals in a variety of strokes and events in his collegiate career, he dominated the 200-yard breastroke competition. In the 200-yard breastroke event he swam to three consecutive NCAA national individual championships and three NCAA national individual records. Simply, “best in class.”

Mike competed in the 1980 Olympic trials. He is a member of the CSUN Hall of Fame, inducted in 1986. Still active in the aquatic community seven days a week and still nationally recognized, Mike has taught some 25,000 children and adults to swim, certified thousands of instructors and certified hundreds of masters coaches.

Sue Faron (BHS 78) swam at California State University, Chico where she was awarded NCAA All American status. Danny Dye (BHS 1983) went on swim at Bakersfield College and Coe College. Currently, he is the Palo Alto High School “Vikings” girls’ varsity coach, a position he has held for 14 years. Danny was named “2017 Coach of the Year” for Northern California by the California Coaches Association for Swimming.

On March 25, 2019, Danny recorded his 201st high school team coaching win. Erica Freeman (BHS 87) competed at California State University, Northridge where she was awarded NCAA All American status in swimming and named an Academic All American. David Lowham (BHS 88) was named a NCAA All American in swimming and an Academic All American at California State University, Northridge.

Jennifer Schwalb (BHS 2003) swam for UC Santa Barbara and was the Gaucho’s top swimmer for four consecutive seasons. She concluded her collegiate career at the 2017 NCAA championships. Jennifer qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Pictured: Former Olympian and BHS swimmer Mike Hamm at a National swim meet in San Antonio, Texas in April of 2015

Story First Published: 2021-04-02