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El Toro's Anderson takes narrow lead in Div. 1
RIVERSIDE – Aquatic sports fans will get a closer look at Orange County's top up-and-coming diver during the CIF-SS Division 1 finals Saturday night.
And thanks to a solid effort Tuesday, El Toro's Mark Anderson will be in first place when his high-flying act shifts to primetime.
Anderson, a 16-year-old who has qualified for next month's U.S. Olympic Trials, scored 441.70 points during an eight-round preliminary session at Riverside City College. The boys field will complete the final three rounds Saturday.
The break for diving will give a few thousand Southern Section fans a chance to watch Anderson, the defending Division 1 champion. In past seasons, the 11-round diving finals have been held separate from the swim finals, usually in front of sparse crowds like the one Tuesday afternoon.
"I think everyone will step up and (the crowd) will make it more fun," Anderson said.
Anderson also can look forward to competing against friend and former synchronized diving partner Lester Wright of Dos Pueblos of Goleta.
Wright, a former teammate of Anderson with the Mission Viejo Nadadores, is second by just 3.5 points. Anderson called the two friendly rivals, to which Wright replied jokingly, "Except when we miss a dive."
The boys finals will be held after the 200-yard freestyle relay; the girls after the 50 freestyle.
Defending champion Alexandra Caplan of Mission Viejo (422.90) and Santa Margarita's Izzy Choquehuanca (389.00) will enter Saturday's girls finals in first and second, respectively. Choquehuanca recoded two perfect 10s in round 7 on a forward 11/2 somersault pike on the 1-meter springboard but Caplan responded in round 8 by scoring big on a back 21/2 somersault tuck on 3-meter.
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