Spencer DeShon of Capistrano Valley powers through the butterfly leg of the 4x100-yard grab bag medley relay at the Villa Park Relays on Saturday.

Capo Valley, Santa Margarita start strong at Villa Park Relays


Capistrano Valley’s boys and Santa Margarita’s girls opened their swim seasons Saturday with a dominance befitting their No. 1 rankings in Orange County.

The Cougars and Eagles each won all seven of their races, several in meet records, in defending their titles at the Villa Park Relays.

Not even the tricky 4x100-yard grab bag medley relay, in which swimmers learn on the blocks which stroke they will race, threw off Capistrano Valley and Santa Margarita.

“I thought we did a good job,” Capistrano Valley boys coach Steve Yancey said. “They like coming here. They like this meet. There’s no pressure, and they swim well when they come here.

“It’s fun. The grab bag, that’s huge. They all kind of get a kick out of it. You throw that at club swimmers, they become little boys again.”

Capistrano Valley set meet records in the 4x200-yard freestyle (7 minutes, 16.20 seconds), 4x100 breaststroke (4:16.13), 4x100 butterfly (3:39.72), 4x100 backstroke (3:43.69) and 4x100 free (3:20.25) in claiming its fourth straight title.

The Cougars produced several strong lead-off times to highlight the afternoon session.

In the 4x200 free, sophomore Nick Norman led off with a 1:44.31, just one one-hundredth of a second off the automatic CIF Division 1 qualifying standard. He split his race in 50.70.

Junior Matt Chalcarz led off the 4x100 fly with a 52.62, about half-a-second off the automatic Division 1 standard.

And in the 4x100 freestyle, senior Spencer DeShon opened with a 47.83, just over a tenth of a second off that automatic Division 1 qualifying time.

Norman, Chalcarz and DeShon all raced well despite an early-morning club practice with the Mission Viejo Nadadores.

“We just switched to long course (training) – that’s kind of been a rough transition,” DeShon said. “Our distance group did 9,000 (meters Saturday morning). … (I) came home, took a nap, and then came here.”

DeShon wasn't feeling great when he first arrived at Villa Park but he rallied.

He helped Capistrano Valley’s breaststroke team break the longest-standing varsity boys record. DeShon (1:02.58 lead off), Slater Goodman, Rafael Felix and Jack DesCombes combined for a 4:16.13, which sliced almost two seconds off Irvine’s 2003 record.

In the morning session, Santa Margarita’s girls established meet records in the 4x100 breast (4:48.42), 4x100 butterfly (4:10.72), 4x100 back (4:10.91) and 4x100 free (3:42.59) en route to their fourth straight title.

The butterfly and backstroke records belonged to Woodbridge and Villa Park since 2003.

Junior Raquel Remick anchored two of the record-setting relays. In the 4x100 free, she split a personal-best 53.53 to team with Taylor Calaiacovo (54.91), Peggy Goonan (56.79) and Megan Roby (57.59) for a meet-record 3:42.59.

And in the butterfly, Remick split a 58.86 anchor to combine with Jax Shoults, Kristi Fecarotta and Riley Beeler for the meet-record.

Santa Margarita blazed despite missing five varsity girls.

“We’re shooting for a lot of lofty goals this year,” Santa Margarita co-coach Rich Blanc said.

Saturday was a good start for the county No. 1’s. 

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