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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
University's boys swim celebrate their second straight CIF Division 1 title on Saturday night in Riverside.

CIF breakdown: University met expectations with winning formula

OCVARSITY.COM

RIVERSIDE Expectations were soaring for University’s boys swimming team at CIF-SS Division 1 finals.

Point projections based on a scoring of prelims established the Pacific Coast League champions as the heavy favorite to capture a second straight title.

Related: Division 1 finals recap

There also were internal expectations.

“There was a huge expectation from the seniors from last year that we would uphold the tradition to win,” said Daniel Tran, one of eight key seniors for University.

But just like in 2014, University met the expectations and then some, capturing the Division 1 crown by almost 100 points at Riverside City College on Saturday night. The Trojans scored 317 points to outdistance runner-up Dana Hills (220) and rival Loyola of Los Angeles (220), which was hurt by a disqualification in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“I think they’ll be happy,” Tran said of last year’s seniors.

University followed a familiar formula. The Trojans employed a deep and well-balanced CIF roster that produced points with first-place touches along with depth across most events.

The Harvard-bound Tran paced University by capturing the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 47.16 seconds) and 100 backstroke (lifetime-best 48.20) in two of the fastest times in county history. Tran’s IM ranks him third in county history while his school-record backstroke places him fourth.

“Surprised,” Tran said of being a double-winner. “(I) didn’t expect it. I knew it was going to be hard but I’m really happy, happy to score points for Uni.”

University’s title run was again sparked by a victory in the 200 medley. Tran teamed with senior Judd Howard, sophomore Andrew Knoell and senior Will Hofstadter to clock a 1:30.40, just three-tenths of a second off the Trojans’ Division 1 and county record of 1:30.10 from last season. The Trojans led at the midpoint but were rallied by a sizzling 19.94 anchor split by the Northwestern-bound Hofstadter.

Hofstadter later finished second in the 50 free (20.82) and 100 free (45.18). Howard also placed second in the 100 breaststroke, blazing a school-record 54.98 that ranks him fourth in county history.

The Trojans’ title sprint also featured a third-place by senior Ken Takahashi in the 200 IM (1:48.50), a sixth from Knoell in the butterfly (49.96), two B finishes by senior Alejandro Ortiz, B final points from senior breaststrokers Matt Wong and Christopher Havton and a seventh in the 500 free by George Horvath.

“We wanted to go out with a bang and do as much as we could and I think we accomplished that,” Howard said.

University sealed their title in the 400 free relay as Knoell, Ortiz, Tran and Takahashi finished sixth in a school-record 3:05.12.

“Great senior leadership,” first-year University coach Kevin Potter said. “That’s an impressive class.”

University’s title celebration included swimmer Aidan Yong, who is recovering after being hospitalized with a bacteria infection in his brain. Yong celebrated in the water with his teammates, including his brother, senior Matt Yong.

“It was a lot of hard work throughout the season that really led to this,” Hofstadter said.

University's CIF point scorers

Chris Havton, Sr.

Judd Howard. Sr.

Will Hofstadter, Sr.

Alejandro Ortiz, Sr.

Ken Takahashi, Sr.

Daniel Tran, Sr.

Matt Wong, Sr.

Stephen Yang, Jr.

Andrew Knoell, So.

George Horvath, So.

Jonathan Aizik, Fr. (diver)


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