By Jason Greenwald
For The Signal
Swimmers from all over the Foothill League will be representing their high school in the 2019 CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Swimming Prelims and are hoping to challenge not only themselves, but challenge some of the best swimmers in Southern California.
There will be a lot of excitement from these athletes who have worked vigorously all year for the opportunity to make it to prelims and hopefully move on to compete in the finals. Swimmers from Hart, Valencia, West Ranch, Saugus and Canyon will compete on Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Riverside Aquatic Complex.
The events below will list the top competitors in their respective race based upon their time in that event.
Varsity girls 200-yard medley relay will be represented by Valencia (1:43.52), Hart (1:46.87) and West Ranch (2:00.61). The boys will be represented by the same teams as well, Hart (1:34.33), West Ranch (1:34.85) and Valencia (1:34.96)
Varsity girls 200-yard freestyle will have Ellie Horst (1:51.91) and Emily Yoon (1:57.75) from Hart, Viviana Raker from Saugus (1:52.71), Jin Young Yi (1:57.19) from Valencia and Nicole Whitehead (1:58.37) from West Ranch. The boys 200-yard freestyle will have Justin Morsch (1:38.72) from Saugus, Jacob Gragas (1:40.40) from Hart, Ronit Shrestha (1:43.36) and Woo Young Yi (1:43.81) from Valencia.
“I’m hoping to make it back to the finals in all of my events,” Morsch said. “As competitive as CIF is, it will take some pretty fast swimming to get it done, so I’m excited and ready to go. I’m feeling very happy with how I did at league finals, so coming into CIF I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself, but it would be nice if I could prove a little bit more.
“I’m looking to go out there and try to hit those times again, compete and try to see if I can take home a medal. CIF is always really tough to make it, so it’s always encouraging when we have people from any of the high schools make it there because a lot of these swimmers that are competing are top notch in the country.”
Varsity boys 200-yard individual medley will be represented by Ted Hwang (1:51.56) and Cade Brower (1:53.33) from West Ranch.
Ryan Sevidal (1:54.92) and Kyle Brill (1:56.49) represent Hart and Joshua Lee (1:55.23) and Joseph Park (1:58.64) Valencia.
The girls will be represented by Julia Unas (2:03.81) from Valencia and alternate Brookelynn Wesselhoff (2:14.01) from Saugus.
Varsity girls 50-yard freestyle will have Reagan Nibarger (23.75) from West Ranch, Allison Cho (24.26) and Emma Hiett (24.76) from Valencia and Megan Soto (24.29) Genesis Lewis (24.35) and Alyssa Hamilton (24.78) from Hart.
“I just want to make it into the top seed for finals and place high to represent my team, hopefully I can be in the top three or place as high as I can get,” Nibarger said. “It’s good to race all the girls, I’ve raced them in club but the environment is different in the high school settings, and I like the CIF settings a lot. Having swimmers in the Foothill League go and represent our high schools individually is really cool and we are representing something besides ourself too.”
The boys will have Dawson Waage (20.80) from Hart, Jacob Gibbs (21.00) and Dylan Parente from Valencia and Rijker Hutson (21.64) from West Ranch.
Varsity boys 100-yard butterfly will have Kevin Childs (48.30) from Canyon, Jonathan Quick (49.12) from Hart, Charlie Morici (50.07) and Hutson (51.08) from West Ranch. Jacob Aina and Ronit Shresta will swim for the Vikings.
The girls have Ana Izabella Adame (53.85) and Hiett (57.37) from Valencia, Lewis (56.16) and Colette Masino (57.64), Hannah Siegel (57.87) and Taylor Toledo (58.55) from Hart. Marika Van Gent will be the lone representative for West Ranch.
“I’m hoping to win the 100-yard backstroke and then the 100 butterfly,” Childs said. “I’m seeded second going into CIF, so I hope to live up to that. Canyon High School relays are seeded higher than ever so that’s exciting and in the Foothill League we have multiple top seeds and we’ll be represented well.”
Varsity girls 100-yard freestyle will be represented by Nibarger (51.04), Maxine Catig (51.63) and Cho (53.05). The boys will have Morsch (44.86), Waage (45.98), Gibbs (46.67) and Parente (46.84).
Varsity boys 500-yard freestyle will have Quick (4:29.92), Brower (4:35.98) and Young Yi (4:39.72). The girls will have Horst (4:58.71), Raker (5:06.43) and Whitehead (5:17.57).
“My goal for this CIF is to make it back for Saturday’s final,” Raker said. “I’m ranked 13th in the 200-yard freestyle and 14th in the 500-yard freestyle, so I’m hoping to make it back to the finals. I will look to represent the Centurions and the coaches at the prelims. I’m looking to push everyone at Saugus so we can compete and do our best.”
The girls varsity 200-yard freestyle relay consists of Valencia (1:36.38), Hart (1:37.84), West Ranch (1:42.51) and Saugus (1:44.07). The boys division has Valencia (1:25.69), Canyon (1:28.25), West Ranch (1:28.45), Hart (1:28.48) and Saugus (1:29.11).
Varsity boys 100-yard backstroke will have Childs (47.92) and Jordan Krestul (54.25) from Canyon, Gragas (51.43) and Sevidal (52.75) from Hart, Morici (51.59) from West Ranch and Jacob Aina (53.19) from Valencia. The girls will consist of Catig (54.90), Masino (58.89) Hope Hill (59.24) Siegel (59.28) from Hart, Young Yi (58.01) from Valencia and Marika Van Gent (59.97) from West Ranch.
Varsity girls 100-yard breaststroke will feature Adame (1:02.21), Unas (1:03.75), Wesselhoff (1:09.01) and Toledo (1:09.09).
“I’m hoping to maintain what I held at league because I dropped a lot of time there,” Toledo said. “Maybe I’ll even drop more time seeing that all these swimmers are fast and competitive. I’m always looking to make a PR, it’s a very fast meet and there are fast kids that are from club, so I’m looking to try as hard as I can and stay up with them.
“I’m really proud of our team this year, a lot of us are going and it’s really cool that it’s Neale’s last year too and we all want to swim for him. We’re hoping to do well because Neale has been training us hard for this and we are all really pumped.”
Hwang (56.72) will be swimming for the Wildcats, Park (57.92) and Lee (58.36) for the Vikings, while Brill (58.61) and Luke Christensen (59.75) for Hart.
The last event at the prelims will be the varsity girls 400-yard freestyle relay consisting of teams from Hart (3:30.75), Valencia (3:38.81), West Ranch (3:40.35) and Saugus (3:46.91).
The Foothill League boys team will be represented by Hart (3:05.34), West Ranch (3:08.20), Valencia (3:14.74) and Saugus (3:16.86).