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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Fountain Valley's Shayla Erickson captured the 200 and 500 freestyles Tuesday to help the Barons defeat host Newport Harbor in the teams' Sunset League opener.

Fountain Valley finds way to sweep Newport Harbor

STAFF WRITER

NEWPORT BEACH The boys and girls swimmers in the Sunset League aren’t just fast between the lane lines.

Fountain Valley and Newport Harbor showed Tuesday that they can also adjust quickly.

The No. 10 Barons’ girls carried on without Carly Perri, opening league with a 96-73 victory at Newport Harbor.

Fountain Valley’s boys began defense of their first league title under sixth-year coach Mike Nichols by holding off a fired up Newport Harbor, 88-82.

“We have such competition in the Sunset League,” Newport Harbor girls coach Brian Melstrom said. “It’s exciting.”

Tuesday's leaderboard

Fountain Valley’s girls lost Perri, a league record holder, for the season because of a rib injury, but inserted Shayla Erickson into Perri’s lead freestyle spot Tuesday. The sophomore won the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 53.27 seconds and the 500 free in 5:03.41.

Freshman Hannah Farrow moved to the No. 1 butterfly slot and touched first in 58.37.

Newport Harbor’s girls feature six freshmen and they came ready to race. The Sailors’ all-freshmen medley relay of Ayla Spitz, Kili Skibby, Zoe Spitz and Anne Rankin won in 1:51.18. Ayla Spitz later claimed the 100 free in a swift 52.38.

Newport Harbor’s boys used a rally in the 200 free relay by anchor Sawyer Farmer to take a 64-60 lead. But the Barons’ Justin Nguyen captured the 100 backstroke (52.09) and Kyle Reilly (1:01.35) claimed the breaststroke for an 80-76 lead going into the 400 free relay.

Nguyen’s 46.45 leadoff sent the Barons to the victory in the 400 (3:16.53), but Reilly’s breaststroke offered a wrinkle. He replaced league champion Samuel Knott.

“He knows we need (his breaststroke),” Nichols said.

Newport Harbor’s swimmers crowded around Jerod McMillen’s lane in the breaststroke, cheering him on to a runner-up finish in 1:03.57.

“I kind of challenged them at the beginning, ‘Look, it’s a race. It’s who has the competitive spirit,’” Sailors coach Ross Sinclair said. “I thought both teams showed it.”

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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