A year after winning its first Sunset League title in 20 years, the Fountain Valley High girls' swim team does not expect a letdown.
The Barons made that clear Saturday afternoon at a rainy Capistrano Valley Relays meet. Fountain Valley made the championship or consolation finals in every race and finished a strong third as a team at Capistrano Valley High, behind Santa Margarita and Tesoro.
"I'm excited," said Barons senior Shayla Erickson, who contributed to top-five finishes in the 400-yard freestyle (second), 200 butterfly (third) and the meet-ending 200 medley relay (fourth). "It's a good starting point to the season. We're still deep, we're still strong."
Fountain Valley's 400 free relay quartet, which also featured Katelyn Dang, Kaitlyn Chu and Megan Le, touched in 3 minutes, 35.51 seconds, behind only meet champion Santa Margarita. Erickson said she was especially pleasantly surprised with the leadoff leg of Dang, a sophomore who split a 53.99.
"I was expecting her to go fast, but she just killed that," Erickson said.
The Barons' 200 butterfly relay team, which touched in 1:44.97, also featured Chu, Sarah Hopkins and Hannah Farrow. The 200 medley relay team (1:48.60) also had Hopkins, Farrow and Abbie Nelson.
The other local squad to earn second in an individual event was Newport Harbor's boys, in the 300 free relay. The Sailors dropped nearly four seconds from preliminaries to touch in 2:10.81, behind only Los Angeles Loyola.
Newport Harbor's boys ended up tied for sixth with Mater Dei as a team; Tesoro won the meet. Max Sandberg, Nick Halphide, Michael Paduano, Jason Grew, Matthew Carlson and Makana Sanita made up the 300 free relay team. Of the six, only Halphide is a club swimmer.
"The 6x50, that's one of Newport Harbor's long-time best events, just because we're such a water polo school," Halphide said. "It's something we take pride in."
Newport Harbor's girls finished tied for eighth. They started strong in the 400 IM relay, as Ayla Spitz, Carly Yasko, Zoe Spitz and Dinny Stevens placed third in 3:58.37. The Spitz twins, Yasko and Linnea Kelly finished fourth in the 200 fly relay (1:46.02).
"[Santa Margarita] is a really good team, and it's fun to be up next to them," Ayla Spitz said. "They're insane, but we still held our own."
Corona del Mar's boys' team, which placed eighth, provided a highlight in the 200 breaststroke relay. Robert Genc, Eugene Lim, Tanner Pulice and Ryan Schildwachter broke the previous meet record and touched third in 1:49.58.
Edison had three boys' teams make the championship finals in the 400 IM, 200 fly and 200 medley relays, respectively. All three featured Nathan Fernandez, Taylor Whitmore and Marcus Dalija, and all three teams placed eighth.