Miraleste Carries Bay Hopes in the CIF Swimming, Diving

Only one of six South Bay high schools figures to make a splash when the CIF-Southern Section swimming and diving playoffs begin today at 12:30.

Pioneer League boys champion Miraleste High in the 2-A Division could improve on last year’s third-place finish. But five other area schools that qualified several athletes expect mediocre finishes, making the CIFs not much more than a fringe benefit for swimming well in league competition.

“The most important thing is league competition,” said Mira Costa Coach Mike Nolan, whose 3-A teams qualified five individuals and four relay teams for CIFs. “If we get to the CIF playoffs, it’s really an afterthought.”


Swimming preliminaries begin at noon Friday at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach. The top 12 finishers in all events advance to Saturday’s finals at noon.

Diving competition begins today at Heritage Park in Irvine.

Points will be awarded to the schools of all final-round competitors based on how well qualifiers do in the finals. The school with the highest point total wins the Southern Section championship. To qualify for the preliminaries, individuals and relay teams must have met or beaten CIF time standards during the regular season.

Mira Costa junior Simon Kim (200 freestyle) and senior Todd Douglas (100 breaststroke) will join seniors Casie Davis (100 backstroke) and Mary Bradshaw (100 breast) and sophomore Aida Castel (100 free) in individual competition.

Mira Costa will also have boys and girls teams in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. The medley consists of one leg each of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.

Last year Miraleste took third in the Southern Section with just two individual qualifiers and one relay team. This year, with three potential top-six individuals and a possible CIF-champion boys medley relay, Miraleste is shooting for second behind defending champion Calabasas.

“From the start of the season, I’ve had the CIFs in mind because I thought we could do better than last year,” said Miraleste Coach Scott Peppard.

Seniors Steve Barber (50 and 100 free), who last Friday broke the Pioneer League record in the 50 free, Steve Kan (50 free, 100 breast), George Salib (100 fly) and Jason Tamaino (50 free) and freshmen Zolton Gyruko (200 individual medley, 100 back) and Andy Foster (500 free) are Miraleste’s boys qualifiers.

The girls team qualified senior Natalie Keese (50 free, 100 fly), both relay teams and senior diver Charleyne Burks, juniors Stephanie Chew and Cindy Towle and sophomore Shane Fowler.

Redondo qualified three relay teams, three boys, including seniors Joel Wiljanen (200 individual medley, 100 back) and Rob Mitobe (100 fly), and five girls, including senior Tina Wells (200 individual medley, 100 breast), a 1987 finalist in both events.

Rolling Hills, the two-time consecutive Pioneer League girls champion, will send both girls relay squads, senior league diving champion Caroline Wiese and junior Lucy Grekowicz and four individual qualifiers, including potential finalists in sophomore Deborah Cory (100 fly, 100 breast) and junior Laura Clavadetscher (50 and 100 free).

Rolling Hills also qualified both boys relay teams and five individuals, including possible top-six finisher Mark Goetze (200 individual medley, 100 breast) who finished sixth in the 200 and 500 freestyle events.

Palos Verdes qualified boys and girls medley relay teams as well as juniors Amy Elwell (200 individual medley, 100 breast) and Brian Lannigan (100 fly).

El Segundo (100 back) and Chadwick (50 and 100 free) will each send one qualifier in girls competition.