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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Katie McLaughlin of Santa Margarita races to victory in the 100-yard butterfly Thursday as the Eagles defeated host Tesoro in the teams' Dual in the Pool.

Santa Margarita girls lean on depth to beat Tesoro

STAFF WRITER

LAS FLORES - Santa Margarita’s depth was put to the test Thursday by the No. 2-ranked girls swim team in Orange County and the absence of two CIF qualifiers.

The top-ranked Eagles and Katie McLaughlin passed with record-setting numbers, defeating host Tesoro, 101-69, to capture the schools’ “Dual in the Pool” meet.

Related: Thursday's leaderboard

The defending CIF-SS Division 1 champion Eagles (2-0) raced without Sydney Franzen (back) and Emily Boggess (hip) but seized the lead in the 50-yard freestyle and sprinted to the finish.

“Their depth is unreal,” Tesoro girls coach Todd Conrad said. “It’s tough for us (but) it’s fun. It gives us someone to chase.”

No. 4 Santa Margarita (2-0) beat Tesoro, 92-78, on the boys side, but the Titans made a case for being included in the county top 10.

In a rare move, McLaughlin led off the meet-ending 400 free relay – instead of anchoring – and blazed a time of 50.50 seconds for her second school record of the afternoon. The U.S. national team member combined with Isabelle Odgers, Camryn Barry and freshman Samantha Shelton to claim the relay in 3:32.97.

McLaughlin filled in for Franzen and Boggess in the 500 and won in a school-record 4:51.86. The Cal-bound senior also touched first in the 100 butterfly (54.15), her national record event.

McLaughlin holds school records in seven of the eight individual events.

Santa Margarita also got a pair of victories from Shelton (200 free, 100 free) and a key victory from Jeni Griffin in the 50 free (25.18). The sophomore touched first in an event that gave the Eagles the lead for good.

“Turned this meet,” Santa Margarita co-coach Ron Blanc said of Griffin’s victory. "There was so much quality racing."

The boys medley relay and 100 butterfly were strong examples of that quality. The Eagles’ boys set a school record in the medley relay with a 1:36.69, but touched second to Daniel Kim, Jonathan Cheng, Kyle Cude and Quinn Gates of Tesoro (1:36.51).

In the fly, Santa Margarita’s Grant Shoults held off Kim, a freshman, to win in 49.64. Kim finished second in a school-record 50.17.

Shoults also captured the 200 free (1:43.24) and the Eagles also got double-wins from Marc Morizono (100 free, 500 free) and rising sophomore Alexander Qu (200 IM, 100 breast). But the Eagles were pushed by the Titans all afternoon, clinching the meet record in the 400 free.

"I was really pleased with how long into the meet we stayed with it," Tesoro coach Mike Gibson said. "We were really stoked about that (medley relay)."

Tesoro freshman Jessica Epps also doubled, capturing the 200 IM (2:08.46) and 100 breast (1:07.63).

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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