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Foothill swim: Finals about to heat up

Hart boys in for tough road to 24th Foothill League title; Indians girls team in command

Posted: May 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Bob Hwang swims the breaststroke leg of the 200-yard individual medley during the Foothill League prelims at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center on Tuesday.

The top 16 finishers at the Foothill League Swim Championships earn points, and when it comes down to it, the Hart and Valencia boys teams are going to need every single one.

While the Indians' girls team looks poised to capture its 29th league title, the boys' race is far from decided after Tuesday's Foothill prelims at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

"It looks like we are set up for a titanic battle with Valencia," said Hart head coach Steve Neale.

The Viking boys (5-3, 4-1), who lost to the Indians (6-2, 5-0) 91-79 in their dual meet on March 23, can win the league title with a win at the finals. The meet counts as a dual-meet victory, and the tiebreaker.

Last year, Hart rebounded from a regular-season loss to West Ranch to win the league meet and subsequently, its 23rd Foothill title.

On Tuesday, Viking Bob Hwang was the top qualifier in two events, the 200-yard individual medley in 1 minute, 57.47 seconds and the 100 butterfly in a meet-record 50.54.

"Before (the meet), all the team captains made sure every single guy on the team was pumped up," Hwang said.

He is Valencia's only swimmer in the 100 butterfly championship finals, which consists of the top eight finishers from the prelims.

Hart wound up with 25 boys in the championship finals, led by dual-top qualifier Alex Ngan (50 freestyle, 21.26 and 100 freestyle, 47.56), compared to the Vikings' 16. West Ranch (4-3, 3-2) has 10, Canyon (3-5, 2-3) has six, Saugus (3-5, 1-4) placed three and Golden Valley (2-6, 0-5) doesn't have any.

Every school will field one team in each relay event.

Swimmers like West Ranch's Tyler Hutten, who placed sixth and seventh in the 200 and 500 freestyles, respectively, could prove to be the difference after knocking Hart swimmers out of the top eight in each event.

Wildcat Riley Mita was a top qualifier in the 200 freestyle (1:44.06) and 500 freestyle (4:41.99), while teammate Eric Yoo qualified first in the 100 backstroke (1:02.61).

Valencia's Stephen Haw was first in the 100 backstroke in 54.23.

The Hart girls (8-0, 5-0), who have won 28 straight dual meets, topped four events - Nicole Antoniuk (200 IM, 2:10.31 and 500 freestyle, 5:00.42), Sam Asencio (100 butterfly, 59.34) and Megan Schultz (100 backstroke, 59.48). They will field 21 championship finalists, followed by Valencia (6-1, 4-1) with 17, Saugus (5-3, 3-2) with 12, Canyon (5-3, 2-3) with 10, West Ranch (2-5, 1-4) with four and Golden Valley (1-7, 0-5) with zero.

"At finals, we expect to do really well," said Antoniuk, whose team finished 1-2-3 in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle. "We are hoping for some best times, but our goal is CIF."

Centurion Caitlin Baker qualified first in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.87), and Viking Micaela Velasquez placed first in the 200 freestyle (1:54.07).

"Today was a little sporadic," said Saugus head coach Vicky Donnelly of her team. "I think the kids got off to a lackluster start until the 50 free. I went over and talked to them. It was a matter of letting them know that this is what they've trained for. The last half of the meet, they stepped up their level."

Wildcats sophomore Taylor Poliseno was the top qualifier in the 50 freestyle (24.38) and 100 freestyle (52.87). If Poliseno wins either event, she will be the West Ranch girls' first individual league champion ever.

Canyon head coach Steve Himes credited multiple swimmers for dropping time, including Shayla Austin and A.J. Simpson, who knocked three seconds off his 100 backstroke.

"Overall, I'm happy with my kids, especially when they do stuff like that," Himes said.

Likewise, Golden Valley's Josh and Jared Lee both cut time, said Grizzlies head coach Jenn Marsden.

Jared Lee's 5:35.47 in the 500 freestyle also set a new school record in the event.

"The majority of our team is swimming well and continuing to improve," Marsden said.

The league finals will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.



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