RIVERSIDE — With spectators from all over Southern California, the Division 1 CIF-Southern Section swim finals took place on Saturday at the Riverside Aquatics Complex in Riverside.
For some swimmers, the intensity and atmosphere of the finals is something that they will always remember.
“CIF is always awesome because you’re swimming with some crazy-fast swimmers and athletes that are doing some crazy times,” said Saugus’ Justin Morsch. “I always try to remind myself that I’m swimming against fast people, but I’m here so I don’t let myself get intimidated.”
Finishing sixth and automatically making state in the boys 100-yard freestyle with a time of 46.10 seconds, Morsch gave it his all and ended up dropping his prelims time by .13 seconds.
Kevin Childs of Canyon also finished in sixth place in the boys 100-yard butterfly with a time of 50.08 seconds. But Child’s best finish of the day was in the boys 100-yard backstroke, which was 49.92 seconds. It slid him into fourth place — good enough to make an All-American Consideration.
The West Ranch girls were represented well as Reagan Nibarger competed in the girls 50-yard freestyle, finishing seventh with a time of 23.87 seconds. She then tied for third in the 100-yard freestyle with Terra Matsushima of Marina with a time of 51.44 seconds.
Nibarger automatically made state with both finishes. Maxine Catig of Hart finished in eighth place with a time of 52.21 seconds and got state consideration.
“I was a little tired after all the racing in the past two weeks,” Nibarger said. “…But it’s a lot of fun racing all these girls that I’ve seen before, so it was just a lot of fun.”
Nibarger’s teammate, Sophia Morici, took home eight in the girls 500-yard freestyle, ending with a time of 5:05.51 seconds and earning state consideration.
Valencia’s Izabella Adame swam in the girls 200-yard individual medley and in the 100-yard breaststroke, placing ninth with a time of 2:09.61 seconds and fifth with a time of 1:03.76, respectively. Adame automatically qualified as an All-American in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Adame also took part in the 200-yard medley relay along with teammates Jin Young Yi, Emma Hiett and Allison Cho. The Vikings finished eighth with a time of 1:47.29 seconds and automatically made state.
“It was kind of nerve-racking with so many fast swimmers,” Cho said. “…But we did a really good job of showing up and knowing where we are as a team.”
Two Hart girls relay teams competed in the finals on Saturday, both of which placed seventh in the 200-yard freestyle (Alyssa Hamilton, Megan Soto, Genesis Lewis and Taylor Toledo) and the 400-yard freestyle (Maxine Catig, Gracie Hill, Brooke Helgeson and Hope Hill) with times of 1:38.15 seconds with state consideration and 3:32.52 seconds automatically making state, respectively.
After all was said and done, the Hart girls team finished 10th overall with 111 points. Santa Margarita took home first place with 527.5 points.
The West Ranch boys were the only team to compete in the 400-yard freestyle relay and took home ninth place with a time of 3:13.07 seconds, getting state consideration.
The West Ranch boys had the highest finish on the boys side out of the Foothill League teams, ending the day in eighteenth-place with 48 points overall. Northwood finished first with 282 points on the day.
CIF State swim prelims will take place on Friday, May 18 at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex in Clovis. CIF finals will be on May 19 at 2:30 p.m. at the same location.