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Swimmers set table

Posted: April 30, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Updated: July 1, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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He may only be a freshman but Valencia swimmer Bob Hwang has some lofty aspirations.

"I'm just planning on beating the records for our school," Hwang said matter of factly.

At the Foothill League preliminaries Tuesday afternoon, Hwang wasn't too far off.

In winning the 100-yard butterfly, he was one second off the Valencia record. He won the 200-yard freestyle as well, finishing in 1:45.86, topping his seed time of 1.46.30 and automatically qualifying him for CIF.

Hwang was one of many swimmers who managed to swim his way into Thursday's Foothill League Finals, which will determine the Foothill League team champions for boys and girls. Individuals will also have their last shot at making the CIF-Southern Section postseason.

On Tuesday, Hwang won both of his races wire to wire. That was fine by him as well.

"If I'm ahead, I try to keep it that way," Hwang said.

Kathleen Perdisatt said Hwang is one of the fastest 14-year olds in the United States and has the potential to be the best swimmer Valencia has ever had.

"He's very strong for a kid his age, just his muscular development and his focus, and the attention he gives to it," she said.

Hwang's teammate Asher Garcia won the 200-yard individual medley while Saugus' Kyle Burns took home the 100-yard backstroke. The rest of the events on the boys side were won by Hart, a program that's dominated Foothill League swimming to the tune of 45 championships, though it'll have to wait until Thursday to stake its claim as this year's winner.

In the meantime, junior Andrew Skvarna won the 50-yard freestyle, senior KC Linn won the 100-yard freestyle, sophomore Konrad Antoniuk won the 500-yard freestyle and Nick Korth won the 100-yard breaststroke.

"We've had to fight for it," Hart head coach Steve Neale said of his program's success. "It's not handed to you. In fact in this valley you just get into everybody's crosshairs."

Neale's goal for the meet was to prepare for the league finals by getting as many swimmers as possible to Thursday.

Sixteen swimmers qualified for Thursday's meet in each event, while eight of the 16 advanced to the meet finals.

Though she didn't win, Neale was excited that Rachael Stoffel set personal bests in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, automatically qualifying for CIF.

Golden Valley sophomore Michelle Duraj won the 50- (24.85) and 100-yard freestyles (54.11), shaving 0.76 and 49 seconds off her times, respectively.

Duraj said she knew it would be a good day when she woke up Tuesday morning.

"I had more confidence today," she said. "I was really pumped."

In other events, Hart junior Jordan Danny won the 200 IM and 100-yard breaststroke, Hart senior Rachael Krager won the 500-yard freestyle, and Canyon sophomore Kearsten Livingstone won the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.

Neale said the league has tightened over the last three years, with a variety of schools producing times that rank high in Southern California.
On Thursday, Neale expects most of the races to be extremely close.

If there's one team that will surely give them a run, it's Valencia.

"We got a lot of people in the to 16 for varsity. ... I think both of our varsity squads are going to be top competitors," Perdisatt said.

Note: It was incorrectly reported in Thursday's edition of The Signal that Hart had won the Foothill League titles for boys and girls.

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