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University boys embrace dramatic finish to edge CdM
The crowd of swimmers swarmed the far end of the pool, chanting and cheering as their teammates pushed the duel to the final race Wednesday night.
University and Corona del Mar had already provided plenty of back-and-forth drama but the pool deck clamored for resolution.
“That was so cool,” University senior Jarod Yoshihara said of the atmosphere. “It was really good energy. I think that probably helped a lot with our swims.”
University’s third-ranked boys swim team certainly seemed inspired. The two-time defending CIF-SS Division 1 champions captured the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay in 3 minutes, 12.76 seconds to seal a hard-fought 89-81 victory against visiting No. 5 Corona del Mar in the Pacific Coast League.
The defending league champion Trojans led, 79-77, going into the 400 relay and needed a victory in the race to improve to 3-0 in the Division 1 league. The foursome of Yoshihara, Aaron Lee, George Horvath and Andrew Knoell delivered with a five-second victory against Corona del Mar (3:17.91).
Yoshihara led off with a split of 48.74 seconds while Lee (48.50) and Horvath (48.45) built a lead for anchor Knoell (47.07).
“The pressure really got us to step it up and really perform at our best,” Yoshihara said. "We really want to uphold that tradition of definitely league champions and hopefully we can aim for CIF again."
The tight competition began in the first event. Corona del Mar won the meet-opening 200 medley relay by a tenth of a second as Ethan Archer, Ryan Schildwachter, Jon Polos and Tanner Roletter combined for a 1:37.71. The Sea Kings took the third-place touch by an even closer margin: one one-hundredth of a second.
The lead in the meet changed three times in the final five events. University took its first lead in the 500 free behind Horvath’s victory in 4:44.72. But Corona del Mar responded by sweeping the top-two places in the 200 free relay, with its B team touching first in 1:30.29.
The 200 free was still close. Polos sizzled a 21.93 anchor for the CdM A team (1:30.35), which finished less than half-a-second ahead of University (1:30.79).
University claimed the lead for good with a sweep the backstroke with Knoell (52.03), Sean Messer (54.39) and Austin Yan (55.72) racking up 13 points. Schildwachter, an emerging sophomore who raced on JV last season, won the breaststroke in 1:01.41 to set the stage for the finale.
"Real happy with the guys," Corona del Mar coach Barry O'Dea said. "It was back and forth. It was fun."
University's girls won for the second consecutive week by a 90-80 margin to improve to 3-0.
In the Crestview League boys:
Villa Park 86, Esperanza 84: The Spartans rallied from a 10-point deficit with two events remaining to win the league opener. Dash Farr led a first-third-fourth finish in the breaststroke (1:00.63) and then anchored (47.87) the winning 400 free relay to a dual-meet school-record 3:16.26. Villa Park also touched third in the 400 to claim the decisive two points. On the 400, Farr combined for Daniel Herrera, Troy Furniss and Isaiah Beasley.