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JOSHUA SUDOCK, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Edison's swimmers will be trying to finish on top of the upcoming Sunset League Finals, but the competition will be tough, especially for the boys. The Sunset finals are at Golden West College on May 8.

Drama builds around each league swim final

STAFF WRITER

League finals in swimming and diving arrive next week.

Here is a league-by-league preview of the swimming races:

• Academy: Crean Lutheran’s defending champion girls could start to build momentum for a CIF-SS Division 2 title push. One newcomer to watch is Saints diminutive freshman sprinter Elise Garcia, who has earned strong reviews from Coach Craig Brown for her leg strength and efficient stroke. Whitney of Cerritos is the top boys contender.

• Crestview: Foothill’s boys and girls are favorites to defend their titles in the Division 1 league. The Knights’ boys, led by freestyler Spencer Kendall, finished undefeated in league duals for the second consecutive spring. Foothill’s girls have received strong contributions from college-bound water polo players Emily Konishi (Bucknell) and Julia Sellers (Michigan).

• Empire: Cypress’ boys and Valencia’s girls each finished 5-0 in duals in the Division 3 league. The runner-ups were the Valencia boys and Cypress girls, so watch for the Centurions and Tigers.

• Freeway: Freestyler Taylor Ault and the Sonora girls went 5-0 in the Division 2 league and are seeking their first league crown since 1984. Troy’s boys went 5-0 in league duals.

• Garden Grove: La Quinta’s girls finished 5-0 in the Division 4 league and are aiming for their first league crown since 1994. But host Garden Grove will challenge the Aztecs. Garden Grove didn’t have CIF veteran Natalie Contreras for its dual against La Quinta. “It’s going to be close,” La Quinta girls coach Jason Mills said. Garden Grove’s boys and girls are seeking their sixth consecutive league crowns.

• Golden West: Ocean View and Coach Adam Gonzales, the former breaststroke standout at Fountain Valley, finished undefeated in boys and girls duals in the Division 4 league. The Seahawks could make waves at CIF.

• North Hills: Brea Olinda’s boys finished 3-0 in the Division 2 league and are hosting the league meet. The Wildcats are seeking their first league title since 2012. Canyon's girls also went 3-0.

• Orange: Katella’s defending champion boys cruised to a 3-0 record in duals in the Division 4 league, but are now looking to earn CIF qualifying times.

• Orange Coast: Laguna Beach’s boys and girls are the front-runners in the Division 2 league. Keep an eye out for fast times from Breakers senior Erik Juliusson.

• Pacific Coast: University’s defending champion boys are also the reigning CIF Division 1 champions, so the Trojans will be tough to beat. No. 2 Corona del Mar and No. 3 Northwood will provide plenty of competition. Corona del Mar’s defending champion girls will try to hold off surging Woodbridge.

• Sea View: Aliso Niguel’s boys and girls each finished 4-0 in the new-look, Division 2 league and are seeking to capture their first league titles.

• South Coast: Tesoro’s second-ranked girls and Dana Hills’ fifth-ranked boys are the league favorites, but watch for San Clemente’s boys to challenge. The Division 1 league could produce some fast boys times.

• Sunset: The boys dual-meet season was one of the most competitive in the county with Edison finishing 4-1 and Fountain Valley and Los Alamitos tying at 3-1-1. With Newport Harbor (3-2) also in the title hunt, it could be a four-team race at Golden West College next Friday. “It’s unbelievable,” Fountain Valley coach Mike Nichols said of the boys race.

Newport Harbor and first-year Aaron Peirsol can rise from fourth to at least a share of the league title if it wins the league and Edison finished third or lower. "It's going to be a barn-burner," Los Alamitos coach Brent Danna said.

• Trinity: Santa Margarita’s boys and girls are seeking to sweep the league titles in the Division 1 league for a third consecutive season. The Eagles’ girls have won 15 consecutive league titles. Santa Margarita's Katie McLaughlin will race her county-record events: 200 free and 100 butterfly. The Eagles' Grant Shoults is entered in the 200 IM and backstroke.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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