Floating at pool’s end, Hart’s Adam Osowski and Saugus’ Tanner Olson shook hands and looked toward the scoreboard.
Olson had anchored the Centurions’ 400-yard freestyle relay to an automatic CIF qualifying time.
Osowski and the Indians finished close behind, losing the battle but, ultimately, winning what they knew entering the year would be a difficult war.
The Hart boys won 93-77 Thursday at Santa Clarita Aquatic Center as Saugus threw “everything but the kitchen sink” at it, according to Cent coach Jim Klipfel, over the course of an afternoon of fast, competitive swims on both the boys and girls sides.
The Indians girls team won 121-49.
“We knew it was going to be one of our biggest meets this year,” Osowski said. “We knew it’d be very close, especially with them having Tanner back for their first full meet together with all of them.”
Osowski doubled in the 200 and 500 freestyle races for Hart (4-0 in Foothill League), winning the 200 in an auto-CIF-qualifying time of one minute, 41.18 seconds.
He came in just behind Olson, though, in the 400 free relay, as Olson (who missed Saugus’ dual meet against Valencia), Justin Morsch, Tim Lim and Zander Minano finished in 3:09.94.
The same group won the 200 medley relay for Saugus (2-2) in an auto CIF time of 1:36.89.
“We were talking about it even in the fall,” Olson said of the relays. “We were saying that we could definitely win league off of those relays. We feel our relays will be very powerful at league (finals).”
Saugus co-head coaches Klipfel and Krista Botton labored over the team’s lineup leading up to the meet, making tweaks that included shifting Olson to the 500 free, where he finished second behind Osowski.
It put pressure on the defending Foothill League champions – who will face Valencia next week – but it wasn’t enough.
Hart’s Dawson Waage won the 50 free, while teammate Ryan Brimer won the 100 free. Indian Emilio Santoyo won the 100 backstroke, and Ryan Sevidal won the 100 breaststroke.
Minano, who made his league debut last week after an offseason transfer from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, won the 100 butterfly in an auto CIF time of 50.62.
“We threw everything but the kitchen sink at those guys,” Klipfel said, “and I have no regrets.”
On the girls side for Hart (4-0), Emily Niemi won the 100 breast, and Brooke Helgeson won the 500 free.
Viviana Raker won the 200 free for Saugus (2-2).