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FRANK BELLINO , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Members of the University High School boys swim team celebrate after winning the CIF-SS Division 1 Boys swimming championship at the Riverside Aquatics Complex in Riverside.

Santa Margarita girls, University boys dominate

STAFF WRITER

RIVERSIDE – Katie McLaughlin fired up her teammates for Saturday’s CIF-SS Division 1 swimming finals by passing out temporary tattoos. Santa Margarita wore them on their cheeks like war paint.

After a finals sessions packed with five national records, including one by McLaughlin and teammate Grant Shoults, and the tears of joy that fell late in the night, those tattoos still popped at Riverside City College.

“Water proof,” McLaughlin said with a smile.

The title reigns of Santa Margarita’s girls and University’s boys also proved to be plenty indestructible. The Eagles defended their title by scoring 290 points in a revised scoring, sinking Trinity League rival JSerra at 257. University’s boys cruised to a dominating title defense, racking up 317 points to outdistance first-time runner-up Dana Hills at 220. Loyola of Los Angeles fell to third after a disqualification in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

McLaughlin shed tears with 400 free relay teammates Sydney Franzen, Camryn Barry and Samantha Shelton after they capped their title with a Division 1 and Orange County record time of 3 minutes, 21.04 seconds.

“Bittersweet tears,” McLaughlin said. “Last high school meet is kind of sad.”

The Cal-bound senior made it memorable. She reclaimed her national high school record in the 100 yard butterfly by touching in a best 51.53 seconds. Rising freshman Eva Merrell of Corona del Mar stayed close to McLaughlin for the first 50 but McLaughlin delivered one of her trademark strong finishes to take down Beata Nelson’s 2014 record of 51.70 at Wisconsin’s Verona.

McLaughlin put a scare into the national record in the 200 free, roaring to a personal best and Division 1/Orange County record 1:43.01, two-tenths of a second off the record.

“We swam so well tonight,” Santa Margarita co-coach Ron Blanc said.

Shoults, a member of the Nadadores club like McLaughlin, set the national private school record in the 200 freestyle with a national-leading 1:34.54, which ranks him just behind overall leader Tom Shields’ 1:33.83 for Edison in 2009.

Shoults later out-dueled his club teammate, Nick Norman of Capistrano Valley, to take the 500 free in a Division 1/Orange County record 4:15.56, also a national-leading time. Shoults fist-pumped after smashing Ian Prichard’s 2000 record of 4:19.34 for Buena of Ventura but soon hugged a celebrating Norman, who also sailed well-past the record at 4:17.00. “It’s just like practice,” Shoults said. “We pushed each other a lot. That was an awesome experience to be with Nick.”

University sparked its night by nearly breaking its Division 1 and county record in the medley relay, winning in 1:30.40 behind the team of Daniel Tran, Judd Howard, Andrew Knoell and Will Hofstadter. Tran later captured the 200 individual medley (1:47.16) and backstroke (school-record 48.20).

“There was a huge expectation from our seniors last year that we would uphold the tradition to win,” said Tran, one of eight key seniors for the Trojans. “I think they’ll be happy.”

JSerra’s girls medley also clocked a Division 1 record as Katie Glavinovich, Catherine Lowengrub, Sonia Wang and Kaitlyn Albertoli finished with a 1:42.29.

Saugus sprinter Abbey Weitzeil again blasted national records in the 50 (once) and 100 (twice) freestyles. She settled with times of 21.64 and 47.09. Shelton impressed in the 100 free, clocking a runner-up finish in a lifetime-best 49.67.

The girls scoring and results were revised late after disqualifications to Woodbridge and Fountain Valley but didn’t affect team plaques.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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