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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Foothill swimmers, clockwise from bottom right, Brenna Thomas, Courtney Mykkanen, Rachel Thompson, Brooke Maxson and Emily Konishi.

Foothill girls moving in the right direction

OCVARSITY.COM

If swim fans believe the CIF-SS Division 1 girls meet can't get more competitive than last season, they should think about Foothill.

The Knights, last season's CIF Division 2 runner-up to Esperanza, now reside in Division 1. They could create waves by teaming several key returners with a freshman class led by Courtney Mykkanen.

"I'm kind of excited we're moving up," Foothill coach Stephen Pickell said. "I like to compete against the best, and really feel the girls do, too."

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2013 girls swim preview:

Top 10 teams, swimmers to watch

2013 boys preview:

Top 10 teams, swimmers to watch

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Mykkanen, daughter of Olympic silver medalist and former El Dorado standout John Mykkanen, is a rising standout from the Irvine Novaquatics club. She brings a well-rounded resume that includes racing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., and a few Southern California Swimming records in the backstroke.

Brooke Maxson is another freshman to watch. Foothill also features key returners such as junior Rachel Thompso, sophomore Emily Konishi and senior Brenna Thomas.

Last season, a strong freshman class and a relay disqualification helped lift JSerra past defending champion University, 275-274, for the Division 1 title.

JSerra, University and Santa Margarita, a strong third in Division 1 last season, are loaded with returners this spring.

Foothill's season will start next week with its Century League opener against Esperanza.

ALISO'S BURNS OUT

Aliso Niguel senior Janardan Burns, the reigning CIF Division 1 champion in the 500-yard freestyle, will not swim this season, Wolverines athletic director Mike Middlebrook and interim boys Erick Lynch confirmed.

"In short I believe it simply came down to a conflict in schedules and requirements and keeping everything in balance," Middlebrook said in an email.

Burns mother, Mitra, wrote in an email, "Janardan is going to take a break for his senior year to focus on academics and long-course training for some of the upcoming USA swimming meets this summer."

Burns is a rising standout with the Mission Viejo Nadadores club. The Cal signee captured the 500free at the Division 1 finals last season by almost 2seconds by clocking a time of 4 minutes, 23.55seconds. The time ranked Burns 15th in county history.

DISTANCE DEPTH

Orange County will still be strong in the boys 500free.

Capistrano Valley senior Spencer DeShon and Mission Viejo senior David Heron return after placing third and fourth in Division1 last season. Capistrano Valley sophomore Nick Norman is another distance ace. He was sixth in the 500 free at Division 1 finals in 2012.

DeShon, Heron and Norman train with the Nadadores.

McLAUGHLIN WATCH

JSerra sophomore Katie McLaughlin has surged to be one of the top 15-year-olds in the nation after an impressive showing at the long-course meters Austin Grand Prix in January. The Nadadores swimmer owns the fastest long-course times in the nation this year for 15-year-old girls in the 50 free (26.49), 100 butterfly (1:00.82) and 200butterfly (2:10.37). "She's the real deal," Nadadores coach Bill Rose said.

NOTES

Here’s some notable transfers, with their previous affiliation in parenthesis: Edison’s Calvin Rogers (Brea Olinda), Dana Hills’ Jan Kaatz (Germany), Corona del Mar’s Stephanie Samudro (San Marino), Los Alamitos’ Brad Toland (Mater Dei) and University’s Ken Takahashi (Diamond Bar). … Veteran coach Craig Brown is the new coach at Crean Lutheran, which is a title contender in Division 3 girls. The Saints return the 1-2 punch of Lindsey Engel and Ella Eastin and add Eastin’s sister, Emily, who also is on the rise.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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