Foothill League swimmers ready for California Speedo Sectionals Championships

Julia Unas of Valencia swims the 200 IM against Hart this past season. Dan Watson/The Signal

With the recent heatwave that struck California and the Santa Clarita Valley, local Canyons Aquatic Club and Paseo Aquatics Club swimmers are glad to be back in the water with the 2019 CA Speedo Sectionals Championships at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center beginning Thursday at 9 a.m.

For some of the swimmers, it’s a chance to improve their positions for future meets this summer. For others, it’s the last meet of the summer.

“This is a good leadup for Futures (USA Swimming Futures Championships) and for some, this is the last meet of the summer,” said Canyons Aquatics swimmer Julia Unas. “It’s really about putting everything into our races and getting our best swims in.”

Valencia High School’s Unas, the Foothill League titleholder in the 200-meter freestyle and the 100-meter breaststroke, is just one of multiple swimmers that will be racing in five different events: the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke, the 100-meter butterfly, the 200-meter individual medley and the 50-meter freestyle.

With the prep swim season over for more than a month now, Foothill League swimmers have turned their attention to training and preparing for club season as is evidenced with their arduous and never-ending training schedules.

“Our training schedule has been jammed packed,” Unas said. “We have doubles three days a week and we are swimming for over 20 hours, plus three hours in the weight room per week.

“In high school, the atmosphere is a lot different. I personally like the atmosphere of high school a little bit better because you are swimming more for your team, it doesn’t necessarily matter what your times are, you are just trying to beat the person next to you. In club we train with each other, we support one another, but ultimately in our races it’s about the time we get and how fast we can get to the wall. I guess it’s a little bit of a different mindset swimming for club.” 

Fellow Vikings and Paseo Aquatics Club swimmer Jacob Gibbs will compete in the men’s 100-meter freestyle with the fifth-fastest qualifying time (46. 67 seconds), but will have his hands full as rival Hart High School and Canyons Aquatics Swimmer Jonathan Quick had the top qualifying time of 46.09.

Gibbs also qualified with the second-fastest time in the men’s 50-meter freestyle in 21-seconds flat. 

Quick will compete in six total events, including the 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly and the 50-meter freestyle.

Former West Ranch and current Canyon Aquatics women’s swimmer, Sophia Morici, returns home after spending her freshman year swimming for Utah University women’s swim team.

“I’m excited to see what I can do at my home school,” Morici said. “I’ve been swimming with them since I was eight years old and I’m 19 now and it’s so much fun to be back, be with my teammates and be at home.”

Morici will compete in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle, the 200-meter freestyle, the 400-meter freestyle and the 800-meter freestyle. She feels that her lone year in Salt Lake City has prepared her to excel in the meet.

“In college, I do so many dual meets and so many meets a week that I feel like I’m more mentally prepared to race and I’m not as scared to get back on the block,” she said. “You really learn how to swim for a team that’s bigger than yourself and that’s what I’m excited to do tomorrow for Canyon.”

The meet runs through Sunday evening with the last session of finals heat beginning at 4 p.m.

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