Two of the top three Foothill League swim teams met for the first time this season as Hart and Valencia battled it out at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center on Thursday.
Both teams left it all out in the water, splitting the dual meet as the Valencia varsity girls team squeaked out a two-point win over Hart to take the meet 91-89.
The Hart varsity boys team won by a more comfortable score of 97.50-82.50.
“A lot of team heroes and super-fast times and just passion,” said Hart head coach Steve Neale. “That’s what you want as a coach. To have the kids that excited about a high school meet and have it mean something, it’s everything.”
“The kids swam really really well,” said Valencia head coach Kathy Rosenast. “We had tons of best times, probably over 90 percent of them across the board. They had a really good day and I’m always proud of them. Swimming is an individual sport and it’s how well you swim on the day and the time you swim. The Hart kids came out a little stronger, those boys swam really well. You can’t ask for a better meet. It was a great meet.”
The Valencia girls 200-yard medley relay team (Jin Young Yi, Julian Unas, Izabella Adame, Allison Cho) took the first varsity race of the day building a four-point lead over the Hart girls with a time of one minute and 47 seconds.
The boys 200-yard medley relay team (Ryan Sevilla, Kyle Brill, Jonathan Quick, Dawson Waage) countered by beating Valencia’s A team by a less than a two-second margin with 1:36.16.
The Indians’ Ellie Horst and Alyssa Hamilton took first and second, respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:58.69 and 2:01.48.
Horst also blazed through the 500-yard freestyle in 5:19.96 later on in the day. Her finish was 17-plus seconds better than second-place finisher and teammate freshman Emily Yoon.
Valencia won the next three girls races as Julia Unas and Allison Cho took first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:07.86) and the 50-yard freestyle (25.07), respectively.
Sophomore Izabella Adame finished in 55:06 seconds as Hart had four swimmers place top four in the 100-yard butterfly and placed second in the 100-yard backstroke behind Hart’s Maxine Catig by 1.09 seconds.
Unas also took first in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:05.64.
Swinging the momentum in Hart’s favor, junior Catig and Ellie Horst won the next two varsity girls events with the 100-yard freestyle in 53.62 and the 500-yard freestyle.
The Valencia girls rallied winning the last two relay races: 200-yard freestyle relay (Cho, Adame, Unas, Emma Hiett) in 1:39.67 and 400-yard freestyle (Hiett, Rachel Wong, Yi, Cameron Snowden) in 3:46.36 and secured the Valencia girls varsity victory.
“We tried really hard and we finished strong,” Cho said. “I’m really proud of all the girls and the guys. It’s a fun meet to even be in and it’s a great opportunity to get to swim with such fast swimmers and I’m really fortunate to be able to swim.”
The boys races were skewed in the Indians’ favor as Valencia varsity boys’ lone win of the day came when the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Jacob Gibbs, Dylan Parente, Ronit Shresta and Woon Young Yi pulled out the two-plus second win in 1:28.49.
Hart’s Jacob Gragas and Ryan Sevidal won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:43.74 and the 100-yard backstroke in 54.26 seconds for their lone individual wins of the day.
“If we can beat them (Valencia), I think we can beat a lot of other people,” Sevidal said.
Senior leaders Dawson Waage and Jonathan Quick each took home two first-place finishes winning the 50-yard freestyle (21.58) and 100-yard freestyle (47.32), and 100-yard butterfly (50.75) and 500-yard freestyle (4:45.20).
The pair also closed out the meet taking first in the 400-yard freestyle relay along with Gragas and Sevidal beating Valencia’s second-place finish by more than 10 seconds.
“We are actually pretty strong compared to last year,” Gragas said. “This year we are really fast. We are going to do really good at league for Mr. Neale.”
Also doubling up on wins was one of Hart youngest varsity boys swimmer Kyle Brill. Brill took first in the 200-yard individual medley (1:56.99) and 100-yard breaststroke (59.23) beating Valencia’s Joshua Lee by .31 seconds.
“It was a nice little upset, so I was excited about that,” Brill said. “I tried to get in the warm-up pool, but it was really crowded and I didn’t allow myself enough time. I just decided to get up and swim it and I thought I did a really good job of coming back on the last lap. I think that’s what got me the race.”