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TEXT, PHOTO BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Crean Lutheran's Lindsey Engel flashes a smile after breaking her own record in the 100-yard backstroke at the CIF Division 3 prelims Wednesday night at Riverside City College. The sophomore blazed to a time of 53.60 seconds.

Crean's Engel, Eastin make waves at Div. 3 prelims

OCVARSITY.COM

RIVERSIDE – Lindsey Engel danced in the warm-down pool after blazing to a Southern Section record in the 100-yard backstroke.

Ella Eastin rocked to Eminem on her listening device before blazing to one of her two top-seeded times.

Yes, Crean Lutheran's rising girls team found its beat early and often Wednesday night at the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 swim meet at Riverside City College.

And it was just prelims.

Engel and Eastin, two of Orange County's best swimmers, and a few of their teammates (including three divers) will be back here tonight to make more waves.

"I think we're going to surprise some people," Crean Lutheran coach Leslie Tomlinson said. "We had some great swims tonight (in prelims). All the girls stepped it up."

Engel set the pace by lowering her Division 3 record in the backstroke with an Orange County-leading 53.60 seconds.

The sophomore sliced four-hundredths of a second off her dominating record from last season's final.

Engel highlighted her record by blasting her underwater streamline at the 50. She then flashed a bright smile and a thumbs-up when the time on the timing board sunk in.

"I'm on my game right now," she said. "We tapered a lot and it's definitely showing. I'm pretty excited for (finals)."

Engel also qualified first in the 100 freestyle by becoming the first county girl this season to break 50 seconds by unleashing a 49.54, less than two-tenths of a second off her Division 3 record from 2011.

Engel not only rested for prelims, she shaved and donned a racing suit.

Eastin and fellow Crean freshman Lauren Maurer each qualified first in two individual events. Eastin grabbed the top seed in the 200 individual medley by more than 3 seconds with a 2:03.22 and brushed the Division 3 record in the butterfly with a 55.95.

Eastin is focusing on next month's Olympic Trials.

"I'm in a little pain because the practices we've had haven't been easy," said Eastin, who trains with the Irvine Novaquatics. "I'm not shaved or tapered. ... I'm just getting through it and going as fast as I can."

Maurer clocked the top times in the 200 (1:56.26) and 500 (5:10.70) freestyles. The Saints also qualified second and third in the two freestyle relays.

Laguna Beach's girls, another contender, lost its 200 free relay to a disqualification but performed well in other events.

Pacifica senior Dylan Alba clocked lifetime bests in the 50 (21.16) and 100 (47.07) freestyles to grab a No. 1 and No. 2 seed.

Kennedy's Ryan Kao also doubled with top seeds by securing the 500 free (4:34.99) and 100 back (52.21). The sophomore is the defending champion in the 500.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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