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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Los Alamitos swimmers, from left, Sydney Rouse, Sharon Banh, Karley Kraft, Kara Gilbert, Calysa Toledo, Jessica Saliba, Amy Griffin and Alyson Mendez show their winning plaques from the Klaus Barth Invitational on Friday night. The Griffins won titles on the varsity and junior varsity levels.

Los Alamitos girls capture Klaus Barth title

STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH – They’re young, close-knit and, best of all, fast in the pool.

Los Alamitos’ girls swim team continued its ride as one of Orange County’s surprises by capturing the team title at the Klaus Barth Invitational at the Belmont Plaza outdoor pool Friday night.

The 10th-ranked Griffins, who graduated 22 seniors last year, racked up 135 points to outdistance Long Beach Poly (113).

“It’s kind of blowing my mind,” third-year Los Alamitos coach Leslie Weber said of her team’s season. “Each girl keeps exceeding my expectations. … It’s exciting.”

Lakewood’s boys edged Cerritos, 97-93.5, for the other varsity title.

Los Alamitos’ girls lineup didn’t feature a senior but collected three first-place finishes to highlight county performances in the 56th edition of the meet. The Griffins and Marina were the county’s lone representatives.

Junior Nicqueline Rettberg captured the 200- (1 minute, 54.55 seconds) and 500-yard (5:02.12) freestyles in season-best times to lead the Griffins. She followed up the 500 by anchoring the winning 200 free relay to a season-best 1 minute, 40.70 seconds.

Freshman Sydney Rouse led off the 200 free relay with a swift 25.43 and was followed by sophomores Kara Gilbert and Sharon Banh.

Rouse and fellow freshman Amanda Poor helped the Griffins seal the title by clocking season-best times in the next two events. Rouse touched second in the 100 backstroke (1:00.60) while Poor took second in the breaststroke (1:07.71).

“We have a really good, fast, young group coming in, so it’s been really fun,” said Rettberg, whose teammate, junior Sabrina Anderson, took second in the 500 (5:26.15).

Weber said the Griffins have changed her outlook.

“When the season started, I was focusing more on all the kids we lost,” she said. “Our new crop is amazing.”

Rouse said the team bonded Friday morning by lifting weights before the meet.

"That's really good for bonding," she said. "That's what really makes us good."

Marina sophomore Jacquelyn Harris recorded a pair of narrow second-place finishes in the 50 free (24.66) and 100 butterfly (58.32). Vikings freshman Terra Matsushima placed second in the 100 free (54.32).

Los Alamitos' Derek Fordham won the 200 individual medley (2:02.02) for the county's lone victory on the boys side.

Lakewood’s Daniel McArthur and Long Beach Poly’s Saranna Quach, both of whom won the backstroke, were selected swimmers of the meet.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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