Foothill League swimmers impress at CIF-SS Division 1 prelims

Hart's Dawson Waage swims the 100-yard butterfly against Golden Valley High School earlier this year. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Sending numerous swimmers to the CIF-Southern Section Ford Division 1 Swimming and Diving Preliminaries, the Foothill League was well represented at the Riverside Aquatics Complex on Thursday.

Ten relay teams from Valencia, Hart and West Ranch advance to Saturday’s finals with more than 20 individual swimmers from Hart, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon and West Ranch qualifying as well.

“I was just so proud of the entire SCV crew there with probably the fastest high school meet in the nation and not a single school in our district has a pool on campus,” said Hart head coach Steve Neale. “We were well represented. The SCV is a swimming powerhouse now and this kind of cemented it.”

Hart leads the way with five relay teams and 10 individual swimmers advancing onto the next round.

“I’m happy with the kids’ races,” Neale said. “I think we are in good position for finals and I think we can go faster. Our league is so competitive that we didn’t get a lot of the super-personal bests, but we were solid.”

Two boys relay teams recorded All American Consideration times as the boys 200-yard medley relay (Ryan Sevidal, Kyle Brill, Jonathan Quick, Dawson Waage) finished in 1:34.12 and the 400-yard freestyle relay (Ryan Sevidal, Jacob Gragas, Jonathan Quick, Dawson Waage) finished fifth with a time of 3:06.71.

The Indians had two girls relay teams finish seventh as the girls 200-yard medley relay team (Maxine Catig, Taylor Toledo, Genesis Lewis, Megan Soto) finished with a time of one minute and 47.76 seconds and girls 200-yard freestyle relay team (Lewis, Soto, Alyssa Hamilton, Hope Hill) finished seventh in 1:37.62.

Catig, Hamilton, Ellie Horst and Hill finished fifth in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:32.02.

Horst qualified for the 200-yard freestyle in eighth place (1:51.56) and the 500-yard freestyle finishing in seventh (4:59.03).

Catig finished in fourth in the girls 100-yard backstroke (55.42) and seventh in the 100-yard freestyle with an AA Consideration time of 51.81.

“Maxine, she’s on the cusp and can come through and maybe even win the backstroke and do well in the free,” Neale said.

Hart has three boys swimmers advance to two individual races as Jacob Gragas, Dawson Waage and Jonathan Quick will all compete in multiple events.

Gragas recorded an eighth-place finish in the boys 100-yard backstroke (51.27) and seventh in eighth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:40.94).

Waage got an AA Consideration time finishing fifth in the boys 50-yard freestyle (20.92) and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle (46.03).

Quick garnered two AA Consideration times in the boys 100-yard butterfly with a fifth-place finish (49.47) and sixth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:31.30).

“I think that Jonathan Quick is looking really good for improvement in the butterfly and the 500,” Neale said.

Valencia girls relay teams in the 200-yard freestyle relay (Ana Izabella Adame, Julia Unas, Cameron Snowden, Allison Cho) finished fourth while the 200-yard medley relay (Jin Young Yi, Unas, Adame, Cho) qualified in third place with an AA Auto time of 1:44.53.

“They did about the same time,” said Valencia head coach Kathy Rosenast. “They came in well and they held their position so it’s not like they are fighting to get any higher. The thing about our times traditionally, sometimes about our area as a whole, our Foothill League championships times are really fast so we always struggle for placement the first day of CIF prelims. The fact that they are able to hold their spots is really promising.”

The boys 200-yard freestyle relay of Jacob Gibbs, Dylan Parente, Ronit Shrestha and Woo Young Yi placed fifth in 1:26.28.

Adame and Unas advance to the finals in the girls 100-yard breaststroke as Adame was the top swimmer with an AA Auto time of 1:01.87 while Unas placed fifth in 1:03.48, which is an AA Consideration time.

“I think they were a little bit tired,” Rosenast said. “Julia did a great job and held her own. Iza did a fabulous job in the breaststroke. She didn’t really place as high as she wanted to in the butterfly, but will be someone to reckon with and that no one is expecting on Saturday. I think that the end of their season is going to show well because they are continually getting faster. They just don’t give up.”

Unas will also represent the Vikings in the 200-yard individual medley finishing fourth (2:05.16) while Adame will see if she can improve on a seventh-place finish (55.69) in the 100-yard butterfly.

Gibbs is the lone Vikings boys swimmer to advance to the finals on Saturday with a seventh-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle (21.24)

Wildcats girls swimmer Reagan Nibarger had two top-nine finishes, finishing with an AA Consideration time in the 100-yard freestyle (51.03) for fifth-place and sixth in the girls 50-yard freestyle (23.89).

West Ranch’s 200-yard medley relay team (Ted Hwang, Cade Brower, Charlie Morici, Michael Andrizzi) and 200-yard freestyle relay (Rijker Hutson, Michael Lee, Michael Andrizzi, Ted Hwang) finished in seventh and ninth place, respectively.

In a blazing fast boys 100-yard butterfly race that saw all nine finalists finish with AA times,

Morici finished ninth with an AA Consideration time of 49.87.

Canyon’s Kevin Childs dominated in the 100-yard backstroke (48.81) placing first with an AA Auto time and the 100-yard butterfly (49.49) getting an AA Consideration time.

Saugus’ Justin Morsch finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle (45.87) and ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:41.44).

CIF-SS Division 1 finals are set for 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Riverside Aquatics Complez.

“To see Kevin Childs, of Canyon, maybe be a CIF champion and to see Iza, from Valencia, maybe be a CIF champion, it’s pretty amazing,” Neale said. “It’s like the 661 area code came through. For years, we were like the red-headed stepchild of swimming and now we are at the center. I’m a happy guy and we will see what happens on Saturday.”

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