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Kicking it off the Canyons way

Canyons Aquatic Club leads Junior Olympics with 87 swimmers

Posted: July 30, 2008 9:36 p.m.
Updated: October 1, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Local swimmers partcipate in the Junior Olympics held at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center Wednesday. Jonathan Morsch swims for the Canyons Aquatic Club. The swim meet continues through Sunday.

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Canyons Aquatic Club had several swimmers who set the tone in Wednesday's Summer Southern California Swimming Junior Olympics at Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

After Mission Viejo won the meet last season, Canyons Aquatic was loaded for bear.

Canyons boasts 87 swimmers in this year's Junior Olympics, the largest group among the 47 teams. Irvine Novaquatics is the second-largest team with 80 swimmers.

"This is a much stronger group this year," said Canyons coach Jeff Conwell, who also coaches at College of the Canyons. "We're headed in the right direction. Two years ago we won this meet, so we're trying to repeat this meet."

The SCAC has been the site of the Junior Olympics for the past three seasons, and will once again be the hub next year.

The meet continues today at the Aquatic Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m,, with final heats from 5 to 7 p.m. It will run through Sunday's relays, which will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

"The facility here is perfect for a meet," Conwell said. "It's a bid process. We've been lucky enough to win the past three years."

Swimmers had to meet certain qualifying times in meets this entire season in order to qualify for this weekend's meet. To get an idea of how elite the meet is, Canyons Aquatics has more than 400 swimmers in its membership.

"This is the fastest of our age group swimmers, and some sense the fastest in the country," Canyons Aquatics president Ron Mita said.

Canyons had two gold medalists on Wednesday.

Adria Morales used her powerful stroke to win the girls 13-14-year-old 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2 minutes, 26.91 seconds.

The 14-year-old also finished fourth in the 13-14 200 butterfly (2:30.5), just behind third-place finisher and teammate Nicole Antoniuk (2:30.11).

Morales' twin sister, Allison, touched the wall in seventh place in the girls 13-14 800-meter event.

Adria will be a sophomore at Canyon High this fall. She has been swimming in the Junior Olympics meet since she was nine years old.

"I did the best I could," Adria Morales said. "I have really good competition."

Bob Hwang was the other golden swimmer, winning the boys 15-and-over 100-meter freestyle race (53.39).

Hwang will be a sophomore at Valencia High.

"Sometimes I get frustrated because I don't drop as much time as I wanted to," said Hwang, who dropped his time by eight-tenths of a second. "It was just motivation."

Megan Schultz took home the silver medal in the 11-12 100 back (1:12.75). She is scheduled to swim in the 200 free, 50 back, 200 individual medley and 400 free.

"I didn't think about my race," Schultz said. "If I think about it, I don't do as well. So I go out there and swim."

Maggie Hanson finished second in the girls 15-and-over 200 backstroke (2:28.37).

Also earning silver was Bryana Wage (1:03.6) in the girls' 11-12 100 freestyle; Matthew Johnson in the 11-12 100 free (1:02.82); Mitch Johnson in the boys 13-14 800 free (9:02.67) and Stephen Haw in the boys 13-14 100 free (57.52).

Jordan Danny, who earlier this summer competed in the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, was third in the girls 15-and-over (1:00.33), while Hayley Good (1:00.41) was fourth. Daniel Colvin was third in the boys 15-and-over 100 freestyle event (54.38).

Nui Harris was fourth (2:14.25) in the boys 15-and-over 200 back. Matthew Howard finished fourth in the 13-14 200 butterfly (2:21.99).

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