With droplets of rain coming down at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center Tuesday afternoon, the Foothill League boys and girls swim teams battled it out in league prelims ahead of Thursday’s finals.
Starting off the day for the varsity girls, West Ranch’s Sophia Morici took home first place in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.80) beating out Hart’s Ellie Horst by .14 seconds to take home the first of two first-place qualifying times on the day. She also posted the top time in the 500-yard freestyle (5:05.02), beating out the second-place finisher by more than three seconds.
“I was just happy that I dropped time and I’m excited for Thursday’s finals because it’s definitely going to be a lot warmer,” Morici said about winning to 200-yard freestyle in dramatic fashion.
Fellow Wildcat Reagan Nibarger also took home two first-place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle (24.03) and the 100-yard freestyle (52.08).
Rounding the West Ranch winners on the day (five), was the boys squad’s Ted Hwang, who finished first in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.20).
“It was fun to win for the first time at a league meet,” Hwang said about his first-place finish. “It felt like it swam a really good race overall and I’m just really happy that I came away with the top seed.”
Tying West Ranch with five with first-place finishes was Valencia.
On the girls’ side, freshmen Izabella Adame and Julia Unas of Valencia finished one-two in the 200-yard individual medley with times of 2:05.20 and 2:09.61, respectively, as well as the 100-yard breaststroke with times of 1:03.81 and 1:06.96, respectively.
The good friends shared how special the day was for them.
“I felt really nervous because this is my first league meet, but as soon as I jumped in I felt really good going in,” Unas said about her first Foothill League prelims. “I won a best time for the season so I was really happy afterwards.”
”Julia and I make it our goal to make sure we put a good name out there for the Vikings,” Adame said about the one-two finishes. “And I’m really proud that we got first and second.”
Fellow Viking freshman Emma Hiett also took home the first-place qualifying time in the 100-yard butterfly (57.99). For the boys, Dylan Perante had the top qualifying time in the 50-yard freestyle (21.50) and Joseph Park finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.05) beating Hwang by .60 seconds.
Saugus’ swam away with two first-place finishes as Justin Morsch took first in two events the: 200-yard freestyle (1:43.22) and the 100-yard freestyle (46.20).
“I’m was pretty confident in the water,” Morsch said about his finishing time in the 100-yard freestyle on Tuesday. “I know the conditions weren’t good, but I really went for it. The last 25 yards weren’t my best, so I’m going to work on that for finals. “
Kevin Childs of Canyon also took home two first-place finishes for the Cowboys’ only wins of the day. Speeding to a win in the 100-yard butterfly (51.78) and in the 100-yard backstroke (51.57).
Rounding out the winners on the day were Hart swimmers Cade Klement, who finished first in the 500-yard freestyle (4.44.17), and Maxine Catig who had the top time in the 100-yard backstroke (57.55)
With such great races on Tuesday, Foothill League finals should be even more exciting as they will also feature relays.
The meet is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.