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Prep swimming: Rivals closing in

Hart girls swept regular season, but Saugus and Valencia aren’t going away

Posted: May 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus High freshman swimmer Abbey Weitzeil swims the 200-yard freestyle at the Foothill League prelims at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center on Tuesday. Weitzeil broke the league record with her time of 1:49.54, besting the 1:52.94 set in 2011 by Valencia’s Micaela Velasquez.

The Saugus girls swim team may have lost its dual meet with Hart on April 18, but after Tuesday’s Foothill League prelims, the league title appears up for grabs.

The Centurions, who swam below expectations in that dual meet, exceeded them on Tuesday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

Led by freshman Abbey Weitzeil’s league-record 200-yard free time of 1 minute, 49.54 seconds, Saugus qualified 29 swimmers into Thursday’s finals.

The top 16 finishers at the Foothill League finals score points for their respective teams, and winning the league meet counts both as a league win and the tiebreaker should two teams finish with identical records.

As a result, a Saugus win on Thursday would give the Centurions the league title.

They aren’t the only ones in position to give Hart a run — Valencia qualified a meet-high 31 swimmers for the finals, led by Sophie Fiscella’s top qualifying time of 59.85 in the 100-yard backstroke and second-place finish in the 50 free (24.97).

“This is one of the closest league finals we’ve ever had,” said Hart head coach Steve Neale. “I think you’ll have all three teams within 30 points of each other.”

Hart was led by freshman Mik Ranslem’s wins in the 200 individual medley (2:11.39) and 100 butterfly (58.80), and Saugus received two wins from Weitzeil in the 200 free and 500 free (4:56.84).

“My girls swam really, really well today,” said Saugus head coach Vicky Donnelly. “They swam what they needed to do. We got a couple people into places we didn’t think would happen.”

West Ranch’s Taylor Poliseno was impressive in the sprints, doubling in the 50 free and 100 free, while teammate Courtney Chrzas won the 100 breaststroke.

Chrzas also qualified in the 200 IM, finishing just 0.24 seconds behind Ranslem.

West Ranch will have 20 swimmers at finals, Canyon will have 18 and Golden Valley two.

The boys race doesn’t look as close, as Hart will have a meet-high 32 swimmers at the finals, and finished with the top qualifying time in five of eight events — led by Matt Johnson’s top times in the 200 IM (1:59.34) and 500 free (4:45.25).

Saugus’ Jonathan Morsch broke through the Hart stranglehold to earn the highest qualifying time in the 200 free (1:43.06) and 100 free (47.86).

West Ranch’s Josh Lin capped off the day with the top qualifying time in the 100 breast (1:01.65).

Valencia qualified 30 swimmers, while Canyon had 19, West Ranch 18, Saugus 17 and Golden Valley 12.

Foothill League finals will be held at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center on Thursday at 2 p.m.


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