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Small Garden Grove squad has big night
RIVERSIDE – Garden Grove's girls team was small in numbers but mighty in points and heart at the CIF-SS Division 4 swimming and diving finals Friday night.
The six-member squad collected runner-up medals in the 400-yard freestyle relay, two consolation victories and three school records en route to a fourth-place finish in an intense girls finale at Riverside City College.
In posting their highest finish in school history, Garden Grove finished with 212 points, just 16 points behind bronze medalist Citrus Valley of Redlands.
“I’m really happy with the accomplishments we made this season,” junior Sofia Contreras said. “We only have a couple seniors who are graduating. Our team is pretty young … so I want us finish higher next year.”
La Salle of Pasadena edged Viewpoint of Calabasas, 249.5 to 248, in the closest finish in Division 4 history.
Garden Grove's 400 free relay sealed the fourth-place finish by touching second to La Salle. The quartet of Sofia Contreras, her sister Natalie, Hannah Caskey and Raquel Licea sped to a school- and league-record time of 3 minutes, 46.64 seconds.
Natalie Contreras, a freshman, split the anchor in 55.51 despite battling cramps throughout the night. She was carried to a warm-down pool by her teammates.
“They’re willing to do whatever it takes to help the team,” veteran Garden Grove coach Keith Clarkson said of his swimmers.
The Argonauts also established a school and league record with their fifth-place medley relay (1:55.94). The team consisted of the Contreras sisters and seniors Vivianne Mai and Briana Vi.
Orange's Gabriel Phillips paced the county boys with a runner-up finish in the backstroke to Austin Wilson of Buckley of Sherman Oaks. Phillips stopped the clock in 55.90 .
Ocean View was the county's highest-finishing boys team at ninth.
Temescal Canyon of Lake Elsinore powered to the team title.