When it comes to girls’ swimming, the Eagles of Santa Margarita aren’t landing any time soon.
Advancing from dominant to overwhelming, Santa Margarita won its fifth straight CIF-Southern Section Division 1 girls’ swimming championship May 12 with a mind-boggling performance at the Riverside Aquatics Center. The Eagles won eight of 10 events, set one meet record and narrowly missed two others, and amassed 527.5 points, nearly two and a half times as many as second place Tesoro (222).
And since Coach Ron and Richard Blanc’s team features numerous non-senior stars, a repeat in 2019 is a very real possibility. Santa Margarita’s highlights among highlights included:
— A meet record in the 200 Freestyle Relay by the team of sophomore Anicka Delgado, junior McKenzie Degn and seniors Marriott Hoffmann and Samantha Shelton. The winning time of 1:31.47 was nearly 4 seconds better than second, and just .75 off the national record.
— A 200 Medley Relay win by seniors Hoffman and Isabelle Odgers and sophomores Ella and Mia Ristic in 1:42.62, only .33 off the meet record.
— A 400 Freestyle Relay win by Delgado, Degn, Shelton and Ella Ristic in 3:18.63, more than 8 seconds ahead of second place, and just .37 off the 2017 meet record set by the same four girls.
— Individual wins by Odgers (200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke), Delgado (50 freestyle and 100 butterfly), Shelton (200 freestyle) and Ella Ristic (100 freestyle).
— Points scored in every event, either in the championship finals (first through ninth-place finishes) or consolation finals (10th through 18th), or both. Earlier in the week, divers Alexandra Barnes and Londen Christensen recorded top-10 finishes.
In addition to the aforementioned swimmers, scoring points for the Eagles were seniors Isabela Patino; juniors Caitlin Caruso, Kimberly Woolfenden and Haley Calaiacovo; and sophomores Josette Odgers, Natalie Oien, Junie Carlos and Katie Nugent. Besides the victories, Santa Margarita posted eight top-5 finishes in the finals.
Mater Dei also did well in the Division 1 finals, finishing eighth with 135 points, and aided (like Santa Margarita) by a host of underclasswomen, notably junior Stephanie Su, second in the 500 free and ninth in the 200 free. Freshman Kailia Utley, sophomores Lily Olson and Alyssa Watson, and senior Lauren Openshaw also scored points as the Monarchs made the finals of two relay events.
Sophomore Emily Giesler of Flintridge Sacred Heart earned 8 points for her team in the 100 breaststroke.
St. Lucy’s Priory placed 19th with 44 points, thanks largely to the performance of freshman Marly Lough. She finished fourth in the 100 and 200 freestyle events, and swam leadoff on the 400 Freestyle Relay team (with senior Sienna Jagielski and sophomores Caitlin Basulto and Madison Thom) that qualified for the consolation finals, placing 14th.
Mayfield senior Kat Lopez, the only Catholic school swimmer in the D-3 championship finals, placed seventh in the 100 breastroke and eighth in the 200 IM, and was part of the 200 Medley Relay team that placed 12th.
In team scoring, Mayfield was 17th (69 points); Immaculate Heart, 25th (35); Louisville and Marymount, tied for 35th (17); and La Reina, 42nd (10).
Earning points for their schools in the consolation finals were Mayfield’s Kathryn McCullough, Sami Pratt and Maddie Lewis; La Reina’s Bridget Aamoth; Marymount’s Reagan Whitney; and Immaculate Heart’s Irene Gil, Mia Speier, Danielle Sanchez and Olivia Shaw.
Earlier in the week, Immaculate Heart’s Brighida Rosendahl placed second in the diving competition, qualifying for this week’s state finals.
Once again, underclasswomen were the leaders of the packs, as La Salle (150 points) and Bishop Amat (122) placed fourth and fifth in team scoring, with St. Joseph/Lakewood 18th (55); St. Monica Academy, 23rd (36); and St. Anthony, 26th (31).
Individual stars included La Salle sophomore Raquel Torrez, second in the 200 and 500 freestyle and part of two top-5 relay team finishes; La Salle freshman Alison Wong, top-5 in the 50 and 100 freestyle, and relay team member; St. Monica Academy sophomore Isabella Escovar, third in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 butterfly; St. Anthony’s Emma Mehus, fifth in the 50 freestyle; and Bishop Amat sophomore Tyler Quintas, second in the 100 butterfly and top-5finishes as part of two relay teams.
Also scoring points were La Salle’s Annika Suderburg and Carolyn Cohn; Bishop Amat’s Francesca Magana, Haley Quintas and Isabella Sanchez; and St. Joseph/Lakewood’s Analise Burch, Zoey Carrillo, Ella Gannon and Teresa Gonzalez.