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Crescenta Valley girls’ swimming notches impressive fifth-place performance

RIVERSIDE — Young yet talented, Crescenta Valley High's girls' swimming team had high but realistic goals entering the season.

"I think at the beginning of the season, top 10 was an expectation," said Falcons coach Peter Kim on Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Division II championships at the Riverside Aquatics Complex.

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As the season wore on, expectations grew as the Falcons racked up an 11th-straight Pacific League title and things began to come together.

On Saturday, led by an impressive third-place swim from freshman Amanda Petersen in the 100-yard breaststroke, the Falcons finished fifth with 151 points.

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Said Kim of things played out: "To finish fifth was perfect."

The Falcons weren't far from finishing higher as Glendora was fourth with 154 points and Foothill was third at 157. Los Osos won with a tally of 254.5 followed by Redlands East Valley (232).

Crescenta Valley's boys also had a successful day, marked by a sixth-place finish in the 100 butterfly by Andre Yarcan, consolation finals victories from William Blake in the 200 and 500 freestyles and Yarcan in the 100 breaststroke and a consolation win in a relay. A season after its 24-year string of Pacific League titles was busted, the Falcons returned to the top in the league and coach Jan Sakonju's bunch placed 14th at the Division II finals with 79 points as a marked improvement and onus on hard work paid off.

"The season in general was very successful coming off last year," Sakonju said. "I think with our guys, they certainly put in more work this year and it showed with our success."

Petersen's third-place showing shined as the highlight for the Falcons, though, as she was the fourth-place qualifier at 1:05.42, which was slower than her seeded time of 1:05.16.

On Saturday, she moved up to third as she swam down to 1:04.63, which was a state meet-consideration mark.

"Coming into prelims, I did go up, but I noticed a lot of the girls did, too," Petersen said. "My goal was to go sub-1:05. I felt like this was the last chance."

She got her goal, as Petersen, who was dancing on the deck during warm-ups has brought an energy and spirit to the team.

"I was really happy. Usually after my races I don't smile at all, but I actually did this time," Petersen said. "I think it's more about pushing myself, but I'm happy with third as a freshman; it's a great accomplishment."

Petersen was also a member of two other top-five finishes in relays.

Crescenta Valley's girls' 200-yard medley relay kicked off action and took fifth place at 1:48.38.

The squad of Gabriela Icheva, Peterson, Miya Higuchi and Kimmy Park was just .25 removed from third-place Ayala (1:48.13). Like Petersen in the breaststroke, the relay squad moved up as it was the No. 7 seed coming into Saturday.

Concluding the afternoon, CV's foursome of Icheva, Higuchi, Petersen and Park took fourth in the 400 free relay at 3:33.32, which was more than two seconds better than the team's prelim showing and was an automatic state qualification time and likewise up from a No. 7 seed.

Park actually won two races. Park won the girls' 50 free consolation at 24.11, which was a state consideration time, and returned to claim victory (10th overall) in the 100 freestyle in a state-consideration time of 52.32.

Back in the breaststroke, Icheva won the consolation final in 1:05.62, which was a state-consideration mark.

Icheva and Peterson finished back-to-back in the 200 individual medley consolation at second (11th overall) and third (12th overall) at 2:06.75 and 2:08.64, respectively. Both times were state consideration marks.

Higuchi was 16th overall in the 100 butterfly at 58.59.

Blake won the boys' 200 free consolation final in an automatic state qualifying time of 1:40.41, which was a big improvement from his prelim mark of 1:41.93.

Blake, Yarcan, Karl Puttler and Bennett Hesse teamed up for another consolation victory in the 200 medley relay at 1:39.70.

Blake later won the 500 consolation at 4:35.50, which was a state consideration time.

CV's day ended with a third-place (12th overall) swim in the 400 relay as Blake, Harrison Blake, Puttler and Yarcan finished at 3:12.71, which is a state-consideration time.

Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon

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