With a jam-packed house on Thursday afternoon, there was never a dull moment as the fastest swimmers showed their stuff in the Foothill League swimming finals at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.
After all the swimmers were out of the pool and the judges had tallied up the scores, the Hart girls took home first place with 558 total points, Valencia took home the second spot (465) and West Ranch the third place trophy (326).
“I feel like we are on cloud nine,” said Hart senior Gracie Hill standing next to her younger sister Hope. “Honestly, we lost last year and just to be able to win my senior year, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Saugus (262), Canyon (108) and Golden Valley (59) rounded out the bottom three.
Taking home the first place trophy for the boys was Valencia, who ended the day with 453 points, West Ranch came in a close second (404.50) and Hart finished third (391).
Saugus (268.50), Canyon (186) and Golden Valley (107) boys placed fourth, fifth and sixth.
There were some big winners on the day, beginning with the Vikings’ dynamic freshmen duo of Izabella Adame and Julia Unas who, just like in preliminaries on Tuesday, finished one-two in the 200-yard individual medley, with times of 2:04.60 and 2:07.73, respectively, and the 100-yard breaststroke with times of 1:03.18 and 1:06.08, respectively.
Both of them dropped times in both races.
“On Tuesday, I thought I was really excited,” Unas said about her times. “… But today I was even more excited compared to all the other meets I’ve participated in and I felt really happy to represent the Vikings.”
Excited to celebrate her wins with her teammates, the best overall girl swimmer of the day, Adame added, “We are going to go to In-N-Out and have fun with the whole team so I’m really happy.”
Reagan Nibarger of West Ranch also took home two individual first place trophies winning the 50-yard freestyle (23.67) and 100-yard freestyle (51.22).
On the boys side, the overall best swimmer of the day was Canyon’s Kevin Childs taking home first place in the 100-yard butterfly (49.99) and the 100-yard backstroke (50.00).
“I’m honestly pretty surprised because I didn’t think I would win it,” said Childs about taking home the best overall swimmer title. “I just came in here and had a good meet.”
Saugus’ Justin Morsch swam away with first place in the 200-yard freestyle (1:40.65) and the 100-yard freestyle (45.63).
And Ted Hwang of West Ranch, just like he predicted in the prelims, had a tough day battling friend Joshua Lee of Valencia in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Hwang won both events with times of 1:54.79 and 58.64, respectively.
“It was pretty amazing, especially having all my teammates congratulate me afterwards,” Hwang said after winning the 100-yard breaststroke. “Even if they weren’t from my school, people still came up to me. It was surreal.”
For the relay races, Valencia swept both events in the 200-yard medley relay. The girl winners were Jin Young Yi, Izabella Adame, Emma Hiett, and Allison Cho with a winning time of 1:46.55. The boys team included Woo Young Yi, Joshua Lee, Ronit Shrestha and Dylan Perante finishing with a time of 1:36.42.
Valencia girls also picked up another win in the 200-yard freestyle relay as Allison Cho, Emma Hiett, Julia Unas and Izabella Adame finished a full second ahead of the Hart girls with a time of 1:37.30. While the West Ranch boys won on the boys side with a time of 1:26.75 behind Rijker Hutson, Hwang, Tommy Weber and Michael Andrizzi.
And in the granddaddy of them all, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Indians swept both races. The girls won with a time of 3:31.37 with Maxine Catig, Alyssa Hamilton and sister duo Gracie and Hope Hill.
The boys event featured a showdown between the Indians, comprised of Ryan Sevidal, Jonathan Quick, Cade Klement and Dawson Waage, and the Wildcats, made up of Rijker Hutson, Cade Brower, Charlie Morici and Michael Andrizzi.
It came down to the last 15 meters where Dawson Waage came in clutch to preserve the Hart sweep edging out Michael Andrizzi for the win by .23 seconds finishing with a time of 3:09.21.
“I just kind of put my head down and stopped breathing and just started throwing my arms,” Dawson said about his improbable come-from-behind win in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Waage also took home first place in the 50-yard freestyle (21.06).
Other notable winners included Ellie Horst of Hart in the 200-yard freestyle (1.52.71), beating Wildcats’ Sophia Morici by .18 seconds after losing to her in prelims by .14 seconds. Genesis Lewis of Hart won the 100-yard butterfly (57.66) after placing third in the prelims. Sophia Morici of West Ranch won the 500-yard freestyle (5:02.10), Maxine Craig of Hart won the 100-yard backstroke (55.84) and fellow Indian Quick who won the 500-yard freestyle (4:37.83).
Now that Foothill League play is over with the swimmer will prepare for CIF prelims scheduled for Thursday, May 10th with time TBA.