Swimmers line the pool deck Tuesday to watch and cheer the meeting-ending 400-yard free relay between visiting Loyola and University. The Cubs won the race to seal a 90-80 victory between the Division 1 powers.

University loses early showdown with Loyola


IRVINE - The teams from University and Loyola of Los Angeles were separated by 91 points at the CIF-SS Division 1 boys swimming finals in May.

On Tuesday, the margin was not only significantly less, the final standings were reversed.

It wasn’t CIF-SS and University wasn’t at full-strength, but Loyola swooped into Orange County and defeated the reigning Division 1 champion, 90-80, in a high-energy nonleague showdown at University.

With swimmers cheering at the pool’s edge for the 400-yard freestyle relay, Loyola sealed the victory by turning a strong leadoff by Sean Lee into a meet-clinching victory in 3 minutes, 7.04 seconds.

The Trojans (1-1) needed to finish first-third to grab the meet victory but touched second and fourth to the Cubs (1-0), last season’s Division 1 runner-up.

University raced without Harvard-bound Daniel Tran (field trip) and junior Stephen Yang (sick), but Trojans coach Kevin Potter was pleased with his team’s effort and quickly found a positive.

“It’s going to be a good fuel for (our guys). It’s going to fire them up,” he said. “(Loyola) is going one of our major competitors … We had good depth. We just needed more ones.”

Lee led off the 400 relay in 46.81. The sophomore also claimed the 200 individual medley (school-record 1:50.53), edged University’s George Horvath by three-tenths of a second in the 500 free (lifetime-best 4:30.50) and anchored the winning 200 free relay (1:26.07).

Loyola coach Kevin Mann called Lee the Cubs’ “mini Corey Okubo” in a reference to his well-rounded abilities, a trait of the former University standout. But Mann didn’t get too excited about the victory.

“I think if Danny (Tran) is here, we don’t win,” Mann said. “I’m not going to take this meet too seriously.”

Will Hofstadter, wearing a traditional trunks suit, swept the 50 (21.17) and 100 (46.48) freestyles to collect University’s only victories. He also split a 20.41 anchor to nearly rally his 200 medley relay, which touched two one-hundredth of a second behind Loyola (1:36.56).

“Today, since it was so close, it shows that we’re going to be really, really good at the end of the season,” University tri-captain Matt Wong said.

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