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Vikes make case to be league elite

Valencia controls in boys and girls

Posted: March 26, 2009 1:41 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
With Foothill League play officially underway, Valencia swimming showed why this season may bring with it a changing of the guard.

The Vikings dominated from all sides Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, defeating the Saugus boys 122-48 and the girls 118-52 and establishing themselves as a team to beat.

Valencia posted strong performances from William Kutylo (50 yard freestyle, 22.28), Bryan Kitchener (50 yard freestyle, 23.36 and the 100 freestyle, 49.74), Bob Hwang (200 freestyle, 1:49.80) and the girls 200 medley relay team of Allison Harada, Hannah Stanley, Megan Machynia and Micaela Velasquez (1:58.14), whose individual efforts also spurred their team.

However, Vikings head coach Mike Bechtoldt believes his team is capable of much more.

“We are not swimming our fastest,” Bechtoldt said. “Some of the kids have been sick. Some have been working hard, so they are a little worn out.”

Regardless, the two lopsided victories could signify trouble for the reigning league champions in Newhall.

Bechtoldt acknowledged the strength of the boys team, but doesn’t want to say that his team is ready to take down Hart.

“I think we are able to compete in some events with Hart,” Bechtoldt said, pointing out their team’s strength in the freestyle events.
Things could be more difficult on the girls side.

“The girls are rising to the occasion and getting the best out of themselves and each other,” Bechtoldt said. “They are training hard and they don’t quit. I haven’t seen one kid that has looked like they aren’t trying hard.”

Saugus varsity got its only win of the day from Leeanna Walter, who won the 100 yard breatstroke in a time of 1:13.00.

However, the Centurions also got personal- and season-bests from Luke Rowley (50 freestyle, 23.64), Justin Peris (200 yard freestyle, 1:59.81), Jimmy Karren (100 yard butterfly, 58.45 and 100 yard backstroke, 59.61), the 200 yard medley relay team of Karren, Rowley, Anders Heinstedt and Justin McCance (1:49.33), among others.

“Today, all my kids stepped up and rose to the occasion,” Saugus head coach Vicky Donnelly said. “When you are swimming against a team like Valencia, I tell them to race hard and at the end of the day, come out and race their best times.”

However, the day belonged to Valencia, who got other individual wins from Naomi Asplund (200 freestyle and 100 backstroke), Jamie Bloom (200 individual medley), Stephen Haw (200 IM), Michelle Ahlberg (500 freestyle), Machynia (100 butterfly), Kevin Martinez (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke), Velasquez (500 freestyle), Blake Owens (500 freestyle) and Jonathan Hwang (100 breaststroke).

“I always tell Mike (Bechtoldt) that he is going to give Hart — boys especially — a run for their money,” Donnelly said. “(Valencia) is a team to be reckoned with.”

pputignano@the-signal.com

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