The girls navigate their prelims today at the Foothill Swim Games at 3 p.m., setting the stage for Saturday's 10 a.m. finals. Here are some of the matchups to watch:
In the 200-yard free, Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo Nadadores teammates Katie McLaughlin and Samantha Shelton could make this a "friendly rivals" finale on Saturday.
McLaughlin, the O.C.-record holder, leads the county this season (1:47.76) and is coming off a breakthrough long-course 200 free at the recent Arena Pro Swim in Mesa, Arizona.
The 200 IM offers excellent racers. There's county-record holder Ella Eastin of Crean along with super-consistent Nora Deleske of Edison and Foothill's Courtney Mykkanen. Also keep an eye out for Tesoro freshman Jessica Epps.
Crean Lutheran freshman Elise Garcia is the top-seed in the 50 with a 23.90 and her toughest opponent might be teammate, Tianna Jorgenson.
McLaughlin's second race is the 100 fly, her national record event from last season. She ranks third in the county this season with a 54.15, so she could be after Eastin's O.C.-leading time of 53.74. Eastin's sister, Emily, also is in the fly and could push McLaughlin.
Garcia also is the top seed in the 100 free but watch for Shelton and Mater Dei's Aislinn Light as a potential challengers.
In the backstroke, Emily Eastin, Mykkanen and perhaps Light could produce one of the closest races.
In the breaststroke, Ella Eastin is the top seed but Deleske might make things interesting.
And with top-ranked Santa Margarita and No. 3 Crean Lutheran in the same meet, the relays should be fast and competitive.