Valencia boys’ and girls’ swim finished the regular season off strong with wins over the Hart Indians on Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center.
The Viking boys won, 99.5-68.5, while the girls won, 94-82.
On the girls’ side, Valencia’s Joy Lee won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle with a pair of automatic-qualifying times, where she beat a pair of Indian standouts. Lee won the 50 in 23.49 seconds, just beating out Hart’s Caitilin Brown who also auto-qualified with her 23.99-second finish. Lee then won the 100 in 51.25 seconds, narrowly beating out Hart’s Lily Dormans at 51.37 seconds.
Lee and Dormans’ finish in the 100 was faster than any time on both boys’ and girls’ sides for the day.
Lee also swam relay for the girls’ 200 freestyle, where the team nearly auto-qualified for CIF with an impressive 1:39.93 finish.
Dormans, a USC commit, dominated in the pool, winning three events and finishing with two auto-qualifying times by nearly two seconds of the needed mark. Dormans won the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 50.31 seconds and swam anchor on both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
Brown swam alongside Dormans in both relay times along with Aly Yokoyama, who also picked up a pair of wins outside of the relays. Yokoyama won the 100-yard backstroke with ease in 56.88 seconds, an auto-qualify time, and won the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes and 7.13 seconds.
“Aly Yokoyama was definitely a highlight swimmer of the meet,” Hart coach Tim Lim said in an email. “Winning both of her individuals and picking up a CIF D1 auto-time as well. Anna Brill, Caitlin Brown and Lily Dormans also had great swims with multiple CIF D1 times mixed in. The four swimmers pulled off wins in both of their relays.”
Valencia’s Tori Yamamura will also see a lot of postseason action, after finishing the 100 butterfly in 55.63 seconds.
Valencia’s boys were led by Thomas Hadji and Jordan Lozado. The two combined for wins in six events, as each won a pair of individual races while leading the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay teams.
Hadji hit two CIF qualifying consideration marks in his wins in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke races. Hadji topped the podium in the backstroke in 52.73 seconds and won the freestyle in 21.62 seconds, just ahead of fellow qualifying teammate Ilya Alexeyev.
Alexeyev also won the boys’ 100-yard freestyle in 51.85 seconds.
The three Vikings, along with Jeremy Lawas, combined for a 1:32.66 finish in the 200 freestyle relay, breaking into the consideration ranks by almost two seconds.
Lozado also picked up wins in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly.
“I think we were as ready as we could’ve been,” Lim said. “The swimmers have been training hard in preparation for this meet and the end of the season. Valencia is a great team and never fails to provide a challenge.”
Even with standout days from Lozado, Hadji and Lee, Valencia head coach Jayme Wheeler still believes the best is yet to come from the Vikings’ top swimmers.
“I’d say it was a good day for them all, but they have more to bring,” Wheeler said via email. “They are great role models and swimmers definitely look up to them.”
Wheeler has seen the team battle tons of obstacles in the head coach’s first year, but everything will be on the line next week when the two teams meet again at the Foothill League preliminaries on Tuesday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center at 3 p.m.
“I’m hoping to see that same energy we had at the dual meet paired with the ability to swim their own race,” Lim said. “Obviously, the goal is always to get your hand on the wall first, but dual meets really double down on that pressure. Focusing on the details and honing in on their race strategy will be key to success at prelims and finals.”