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The Indians’ very tight grip

Hart doubles up on a fast-charging Valencia team

Posted: April 16, 2009 1:12 a.m.
Updated: April 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's Bob Hwang wins the 200-yard individual medley against Hart High School Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

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Hart swimming has been the epitome of dominance for years, even decades, in the Foothill League.

But, this season Valencia was pegged by many as the team that could rival the Indians on the boys side and potentially take the title away from the reigning champions for the first time since 1997.

Coming into Wednesday’s meet, both sides were ready to call upon extra strategy in order to come out on top.

Hart’s worked, defeating the Vikings 98-72 on the boys side and 117-53 on the girls side at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center behind Maggie Hanson’s record-setting performance and by swimming some of its racers out of their comfort zones.

“I’ve been thinking about this meet since last year,” said Indians head coach Steve Neale with a smile. “(Valencia is) an awesome team.”

The day started out in surprising fashion when Neale shuffled his 200-yard medley relay teams, shifting senior Andrew Skvarna to the B team in order to steal second place away from the Vikings.

It worked.

Hart’s team of Alex Ngan, Nick Korth, Konrad Antoniuk and Shane Shields took first in the event with a time of one minute, 41.34 seconds, while teammates Elliot Adair, Grant Miladin, Mitch Johnson and Skvarna took second (1:45.52).

Valencia’s team of Erik Johnson, William Kutylo, Kevin Martinez and Blake Owens took third (1:47.76).

Later in the meet, Neale moved Korth from the backstroke to the breaststroke because of Valencia’s lack of depth in the backstroke, he said.

Again, it paid off.

Ngan finish first (59.20) in the 100 backstroke and Elliot Adair stepped up to take second (1:00.77).

Korth took first in the 100 freestyle (49.22).

The Hart boys (6-0, 3-0) also got wins from Antoniuk in the 200 freestyle (1:46.33) and 500 freestyle (4:50.18), Chris Weber (100 breaststroke, 1:03.03) and the 400-freestyle relay team of Ngan, Antoniuk, Korth and Weber (3:18.02).

Meanwhile, Valencia’s Bob Hwang won the 200 individual medley (1:56.28) and 100 butterfly (53.88), but his participation was up in the air, according to Vikings head coach Mike Bechtoldt.

Bechtoldt said he told Hwang that he would be swimming different events knowing his swimmer was close with many of the members of Hart, in hopes that the rumor might catch the Indians off guard.

Regardless, Bechtoldt was pleased with his team’s effort.

“The thing I’m proud of is that we made Hart swim faster today,” he said. “They were swimming faster because they respect us. The notch went up for everybody today.”

Other Viking wins came from Bryan Kitchener (50 freestyle, 22.06) and the 200-freestyle relay team of Kitchener, Stephen Haw, Stephen Roongsathapaul and Hwang (1:32.92).

Valencia is now 4-2 overall, 2-1 in league.

On the girls side, Hanson broke the school record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.95, originally set by Becky Skyler (Cianessi) in 1994 (58.28).

Hanson also won the 200 IM (2:09.49).

Other Hart wins came from Hayley Good (100 freestyle, 53.60), Nicolette Barreiro (50 freestyle, 25.51), Chelsea Griffiths (100 backstroke, 57.77), Nicole Antoniuk (500 freestyle, 5:18.41), Jordan Danny (100 backstroke, 1:03.89), the 200-medley relay team of Griffiths, Danny, Hanson, and Good (1:50.44), the 200-freestyle relay team of Rachael Stoffel, Barreiro, Good and Sam Asencio (1:42.94), and the 400-freestyle relay team of Hanson, Barreiro, Antoniuk and Griffiths (3:42.49).
Valencia’s Micaela Velasquez won the 200 freestyle (1:56.34).

Hart is now 5-0, 3-0 and the Vikings are 4-2, 2-1.

For Neale, the key to victory was simple.

“We have the depth,” he said. “Those fourth and fifth-place swimmers, they are the unsung heroes.”

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