Tesoro boys swim coach Mike Gibson prepares to race a 400-yard individual medley against his standout freshmen, Daniel Kim, and Jonathan Cheng, after the Titans' meet against Capistrano Valley on Tuesday. The race was part of a fundraiser for NEGU.

Tesoro boys pull off rare win over Capo Valley


Tesoro boys swim coach Mike Gibson planned Tuesday to race a post-meet 400-yard individual medley for charity regardless of his teams’ outcome against visiting Capistrano Valley.

But after his team’s performance against the reigning South Coast League champion, Gibson approached his grueling event in a better mood.

“Much better mood,” Gibson said before racing his standout freshmen, Daniel Kim and Jonathan Cheng.

Tesoro’s boys, ranked No. 9 in the county, defeated the seven-time defending league champion Cougars, 111-59, to improve to 2-0 in league and set the stage for a showdown next week at No. 5 Dana Hills.

The Titans’ girls, ranked No. 2 in the county and the defending league champion, moved to 2-0 with a 122-48 triumph.

Capistrano Valley’s boys (0-2 in league) were without CIF champion Nick Norman, who will race later this week with the Mission Viejo Nadadores club at the Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Arizona. The Cougars also didn’t have double-winner Rafael Felix (200 free, 50 free) for the freestyle relays because of a lifeguarding class.

Tesoro placed first-second in the 200-yard medley relay and got sweeps from Kim in the 100 butterfly (52.83 seconds) and backstroke (55.55) and Cheng in the 200 individual medley (1:59.07) and breaststroke (1:02.13). Kyle Cude added a victory in the 100 free (49.87).

“It’s probably been a decade since (we’ve beaten Capo),” said Gibson, whose squad finished a narrow-second to the Cougars last season in league.

Kim and Cheng also split a victorious 400 IM against Gibson as part of a fundraiser for NEGU, which supports children with cancer. The veteran coach, however, received plenty of encouragement in clocking a 5:48.29.

Kim and Cheng alternated strokes to finish in 5:03.23.

"One of the parents offered to donate a 100 boxes of cranyons to NEGU if I would do it," Gibson said of the 400 IM. "So I figured, what the heck." 

Tesoro’s girls touched first-second in the medley and 200 free relays and rallied behind anchor Mandy Barnes (53.82) to capture the 400 free relay (3:44.37). The Titans also swept the top three places in the four events, including the 500 free with Division 1 consideration times from Barnes (5:05.57), Rhys Empey (5:07.71) and Casey Brotherton (5:12.37).

Tesoro not only showed its depth but impressive youth. Five freshmen scored points.

"It's so cool to see them swimming so fast," said Barnes, a senior bound for Boise State. "More people are going to be, 'Wow. I want to be part of this team with these fast swimmers.' "

Tesoro also dominated without Jessica Epps, who also is part of the Nadadores' team in Arizona.

"We all knew this was coming," Capo Valley coach Pat Higginson said of the Titans' rise.

Capistrano Valley freshman Andrea Felix prevented a Tesoro sweep of first-place finishes by out-touching Barnes by two one-hundredths of a second to claim the 100 butterfly in season-best 58.93.

Barnes and Felix are teammates with the Nadadores.

"She works hard, so she deserved that," Barnes said of Felix.

In the Sunset League:

No. 9 Los Alamitos 91, Fountain Valley 79: Nicqueline Rettberg won the 500 free in 5:04.86 to help pace the Griffins’ girls (3-0 in league). The boys meet ended tied, 85-85.

In the Sea View League:

Mission Viejo 91, Laguna Hills 78: Freshman Matt Hales won the 200 (1:44.49) and 500 (4:35.60) freestyles for the Hawks boys, but Min Zhi Chua touched first in the backstroke (55.11) and 200 IM (2:02.02) to lead the host Diablos boys (2-1 in league).

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