Valencia boys, girls sweep Saugus in Foothill League dual meet

Valencia's Hailey Chua swims the backstroke in the girls 200 yard individual medley during a dual meet with Saugus on Wednesday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

You’d think with swimmers like Tanner Olson, Nikol Popov and Julia Wolf missing due to club commitments, Valencia High’s sweep of Saugus High on Wednesday at Santa Clarita Aquatic Center would be lacking in star power.

It wasn’t.

In his Saugus debut, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks transfer Zander Minano broke three school records.

On the girls side, Valencia’s Kaila Wong swam an automatic CIF qualifying time in the event she won last year at Southern Section finals.

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Wong and the Valencia girls won 118-52, while the Viking boys won 113-81.

Both Valencia teams improved to 3-0 in the Foothill League, while each Saugus squad dropped to 2-1.

Minano – who took second in the 50 free at the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 finals last year but had to sit out until April 3 after transferring – broke Saugus’ records in the 50-yard freestyle (20.58 seconds), 100 butterfly (50.43) and, when he led off the 400 free relay, the 100 free (45.90).

He automatically qualified for CIF in each event.

“I think he lived up to all the expectations people had for him,” said Saugus co-head coach Jim Klipfel.

Minano, an All-American last year as a sophomore, said:  “It felt good coming back to high school (competition).”

The Saugus boys, a dark horse pick to challenge for the Foothill League title before the season, are happy to have him. And when, in all likelihood, it has Texas A&M bound Olson back, the Centurions might have the formula to do damage at league finals in May.

As for Valencia, William Chung won the boys 200 individual medley in an auto CIF time of 1 minute, 53.15 seconds.

Saugus’ Zander Minano swims the boys 100-yard butterfly during a dual meet with Valencia on Wednesday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Viking Joshua Lee won the 100 breaststroke in a CIF consideration time of 1:00.58.

Wong, the reigning CIF champ in the 100 breast, won the event in 1:06.00 Wednesday. She also won the 50 free.

Viviana Raker doubled for the Centurions in the 200 and 500 free races on a day filled with good vibes.

“Swimming against Saugus has always been my favorite meet of the year,” said Valencia coach Kathy Rosenast.  “Those kids and their coaches are such good sports and they cheer for each other.”

Rosenast added that with Wolf, Popov and Sonaly Wintermute gone, her girls team got to display its depth.

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