Swim team dominates meet with record times.
By Timithie NORMAN
It was a great day in the water for the Crescenta Valley High School boys’ swim team in Riverside Saturday when they claimed the CIF Southern Section Division II title in a performance that included six first-place finishes and a record-breaking relay. It was their first CIF championship in 12 years.
Earning 301 points, just eight more than second-place team Damien High School of La Verne, the Falcons dominated a variety of events thanks to strategic planning by head coach Jan Sakonju.
“We strategically place guys to reduce other teams’ points,” said Sakonju. “When you are going for a team championship, you have to shuffle things around.”
Junior stand-out Young Tae Seo claimed two first-place finishes in the 500 free and 100 breast with times of 4:28.95 and 55.91. Seo also contributed to a first-place 200 medley relay along with juniors Harrison Thai, Jacob Ksendzov and Antonio Camarillo. The group finished in 1:35.51, missing last year’s meet record set by Thai, Seo, Louis Wojciechowski and Andrew de Jong by just under two seconds.
Thai earned another two top scores in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM, where he chased teammate Seo’s 2011 meet record of 1:48.38. Thai’s 1:48.86 finish couldn’t quite break it but was good enough for first place.
Joined by freshman Edward Yi, Wojciechowski and Seo, Thai swam in the 400 free relay for a combined time of 3:05.50, setting a meet record previously held by La Canñada High School’s 2009 team.
Also contributing to the championship was senior Wojciechowski’s two second-place finishes in the 50 free and 100 free and a sixth-place finish for Wojciechowski, Ksendzov, Camarillo and Stephen Woo in the 200 free relay.
The Falcon girls’ team, which sent a handful of swimmers to the finals, met their goal of finishing in the top 20 for two relay events. Sophomore Iva Icheva, seniors Sabrina Hatzer and Nayiri Kechichian and sophomore Jessie Gabor finished 11th in the 200 medley relay, while Icheva, Gabor and Hatzer were joined by sophomore Heather Abrams for a 15th place finish in the 200 free relay.
Icheva finished in the top 10 for her two individual events, the 50 free and 100 back, while Hatzer finished top ten in the 100 breast.
“We have a young team,” girls’ coach Pete Loporchio said. “It will be great to see how the team builds next year.”