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3 things learned from Wednesday's prelims

OCVARSITY.COM

Three things we learned from Wednesday’s prelims:

1. The boys breaststroke has been the most exciting individual event in Orange County swimming this spring, and thankfully, there’s more racing left.

Just check out the top-eight times from Wednesday:

1. Trent Pellini, Dana Hills, 56.15 (county-leading)

2. Zach Nelson, Edison, 56.50

3. Andrew Koustik, Calvary Chapel, 57.53

4. Brad Prolo, San Clemente, 57.55 (owns 56.28 this season)

5. Dash Farr, Villa Park, 57.59

6. Alexander Qu, Santa Margarita, 57.80

7. Henry Wu, Northwood, 57.88

8. Max Morgan, Laguna Beach, 57.95

Any that doesn’t include Fairmont Prep’s Edgar Chin.  There was Koustik-Morgan on Wednesday and it's Pellini-Prolo on Thursday. And don't forget Grant Shoults is racing the breaststroke on Friday in the Trinity and Farr is on fire in the Crestview.

It’s going to be exciting to see how many O.C. boys break 57-seconds, perhaps 56-seconds or even 55 seconds. The county record: 54.14 by John Criste of Mission Viejo in 2007.

2. Dana Hills’ boys are close to improving their chances in Division 1 but need a big finals Thursday.

The Dolphins, surprise runner-ups last season to University, have their stars with Owen Kao, Shane Forker and Trent Pellini but here’s what they have in the mix as of Wednesday:

Jack McLaughlin, 51.69 fly, half second off automatic

McLaughlin, 21.57 50 free, two tenths off automatic

Bennett Williams 22.06 50 free, three-quarters of a seconds off automatic

Adam Cole, 53.37 100 back, about a second off automatic.

If Dana Hills adds a few more automatic qualifiers to its CIFfleet, watch out. But even if they don't, the Dolphins speed is promising for the relays. And don’t forget about their divers.

3. Mater Dei's No. 2 boys could have the depth to beat top-ranked Santa Margarita at the Trinity finals, and the Eagles know it.

Give credit to Santa Margarita co-coaches Rich and Ron Blanc and the team-first attitude of Shoults. Did you see that Shoults is racing the breaststroke, one of his off events? The Blancs do their homework and Shoults' impressive resume continues.

It's one thing to race an off-event in a dual meet but to do it again in a championship meet? And on top of his impressive, county-leading times and records, this is why Shoults is leaving a legacy on the O.C. aquatics scene.

There just aren't a lot of kids as talented and school-centered as Shoults.

The Shoults breaststroke selection is a sign that the Eagles need to be strategic to have a chance against the Monarchs’ depth. Mater Dei's boys have clearly been training hard under Coach Ken Dory and their top-four depth appears stronger. Santa Margarita will attempt to counter with more first-second place finishers.

That’s a tight-rope course for a Santa Margarita squad looking to knock off the defending league champs.


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