Seedings reveal intriguing matchups
The CIF-Southern Section swimming and diving championships will have new matchups to go along with their new venue.
The Division 1 seedings released Saturday revealed some intriguing race selections made by Orange County's top swimmers for the meet this week at Riverside City College.
The swim finals shift to the Inland Empire after spending almost all of the past 25 years at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.
Megan Rankin of defending Division 1 champion University provided a twist by picking the 200-yard individual medley to complement her best event, the 500 freestyle.
The past three seasons, Rankin paired the 500 with the 200 freestyle but has been improving in the individual medley.
"I'm starting to be more focused on IM," the UCLA-bound senior said Friday at the Pacific Coast League finals. "I've gotten better at IM since I've moved with Coach (Mark) Schubert (at Golden West Swim Club)."
Rankin is seeded fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 2 minutes, 5.48 seconds, about 31/2 seconds behind top-seeded Lizzie Devitt of Santa Margarita (2:02.02).
In late March, Rankin captured the 400-meter individual medley (4:47.34) at the NCSA junior nationals in Orlando, Fla.
But if Rankin is going to win next week, she will have to do so tired. She is focusing on the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June and plans to train the morning of the Division 1 finals, May12. "I won't be rested at all," said Rankin, who trains with comeback Olympic legend Janet Evans.
Edison's Josh Smith also is using the 200 IM to provide a new look. The UC Santa Barbara-bound senior paired the event with his signature 100 backstroke. Smith is seeded 16th in the 200 IM with a 1:56.11.
The Division 1 swim prelims are Thursday at 9 a.m.
In Division 3, the selections of Crean Lutheran's Lindsey Engel and Ella Eastin also were anticipated.
Engel will stick with her record-setting events from last season: 100 free and 100 back. Eastin, a freshman, will make her CIF debut in the 200 IM and butterfly. Both girls are seeded first.
Another change, the top 20 places will score points at finals. That's four more places than in the past.
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