The Newport Hills Swim Team, known as the Killer Whales, topped the field and won the South Coast Swim Conference championship swim meet on Saturday.
The meet, that took place at the NHST pool, included the top swimmers from six area swim teams.
NHST Coach Michelle Sperling and her assistant coaches all showed up in bright orange shirts that seemed to scream: "Let's Do This!"
And the Killer Whales followed those words, as they dominated the competition en route to the championship, scoring 1,705.5 points to easily outdistance Green Valley, which tallied 1,298 points and Harbor View with 1,258.5.
"We are so excited to win the league championship against such great swim teams," Sperling said. "Our kids were fired up and ready to go and the results show it. They worked hard all summer and kept competing. This is a great victory for our entire program – athletes, coaches and families."
The Killer Whales took first place in six of the 12 age groups – Boys Under 6 (BU6), Boys and Girls age 7 and 8 (B7-8, G7-8), Boys and Girls age 9 and 10 (B9-10, G9-10) and Girls age 11-12 (G11-12). In all, the Killer Whales took first place in 10 of the 24 relay events and won 19 individual first-place finishes.
Lauren Openshaw (G13-14) set a South Coast Swim Conference record in taking first place in the 50-meter breaststroke at 32.93 seconds and then teamed with Chloe Harbilas, Hana Cloherty and Sara Cargile to set a team record in the 4x50 medley relay. The foursome clocked in just under the two-minute mark at 1.59.90 breaking the previous record of 2:02.91 by almost three seconds.
Jake Bays (B11-12), Colton Quick (B9-10), Bianca Bays (G9-10) and Lance Laster (B7-8) all earned a clean sweep by bringing home first-place finishes in all four events they competed in. Jake Bays won the 50-meter butterfly, 50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter freestyle and teamed with Speedy Laster, Tommy Bethel and Colin Spruce to win the 4x50 meter medley relay in the Boys 11-12 category. Laster also won the B11-12 50-meter backstroke.
Quick (B9-10) won the 100-meter individual medley, 50 backstroke, 50 freestyle and teamed with Jack Pluma, Ryan McManigal and Nico Hult to win the 4x25 medley relay. McManigal and Hult also teamed with Luke Wallace and Ayden Ziegler to win the 4x50 freestyle relay.
Bianca Bays (G9-10) placed first in the 25-meter breaststroke, 25 butterfly and 50 freestyle. She also teamed with Riley Hult, Morgan Corcoran and Sierra Kuperschmid to win the 4x25 medley relay. Hult also won the Girls 9-10 50 backstroke.
Lance Laster proved to be the best freestyle swimmer in the boys 7-8 group winning the championship for 25 and 50 freestyle and then swam it twice more to lead Killer Whales to victory in the 4x25 medley relay and the 4x25 freestyle relay. In the first-place freestyle relay he was joined by Cordell Cook, Carson Simonsen and Trenton Quick. Laster and Quick teamed with Miles Pluma and Jacob Winn to win first place in the 4x25 medley relay. Winn also won the Boys 7-8 butterfly and then further distinguished himself by setting a new team record in the 25 backstroke. His record-setting 17.39 seconds earned him a first-place finish.
The Girls 7-8 won both of the relays, with Charli Krotts, Sophie Gazzaniga, Dotty Laster and Alex Boserup teaming up to win the 4x25 medley relay. Krotts, Laster and Boserup were joined by Hadley Harbilas for the victory in the 4x25 freestyle relay.
Grant Christian won the 25 backstroke in the Boys 6 and Under group.
In the Boys 15-18 category the team of Robbie Farber, Trent Dill, Trenton Spruce and JT Russell won the 4x50 freestyle relay.
"It is especially satisfying for our swimmers to win as a team in addition to their individual achievements," Sperling said. "They are all such close friends and have such a great time together. This is truly a special group."
Coach Sperling also expressed a special thanks and recognition to the Killer Whales graduating seniors who contributed to the swim finals victory: Ryan Cargile, Trent Dill, Robbie Farber and Courtney Garkani.
"It's tough for graduating seniors to find the time to compete on the swim team, but this group showed commitment and good leadership to our younger swimmers," Sperling said.
— Reader submission