There was something old and something new in the City Section swim finals Wednesday night at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.
The old? Palisades High again dominated the team scoring, winning both the boys' and girls' team titles.
For the boys, who handily outscored second-place Birmingham, 385.5 to 196, it was the sixth consecutive title. For the girls, who held off Venice, 269-245, it was their ninth championship in the past 10 years.
The new? Three City records fell, two going to sophomore Kristine Quance of Granada Hills.
Quance, 16, won the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes 2.21 seconds, a personal best that broke her City mark of 2:06.04, set in last week's preliminaries.
"I didn't think I'd get that nervous tonight," Quance said. "But on the (starting) block I was kind of getting a little nervous and I was like, 'Whoa. Why are you nervous?' But I guess it was because I really wanted to do my best time."
She did, then erased the City record in the 100-yard breaststroke. Her time of 1:03.39 broke her mark of 1:03.87, which also was set in last week's preliminaries.
"I wanted to go 1:02," Quance said.
Also setting a City mark Wednesday night was Carson's Claudine Martinez, who clocked 1:53.16 in the 200-yard freestyle. Martinez also successfully defended her title in the 500 freestyle Wednesday.
Continuing a successful meet for Valley-area girls, Birmingham's Heather Ballard swam the 100 freestyle for the first time in a City meet and won the race in 54.01.
"I'm not a sprinter, but I had to beat my sister's time," Ballard said with a grin. Her 12-year-old sister Gretchen has clocked 54.76 in the 100 freestyle.
Other Valley-area winners included Oriana Cavallaro of Kennedy (50 freestyle) and Veronica Hernandez of Birmingham (100 butterfly).
The Palisades boys' team, coached by former Dolphin swimmer Shawn Donahue and 20-year mentor Dave Anderson, was not challenged. Palisades, led by Tim Gair, won every event but two.
Gair won both the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle. The only swimmer from a school other than Palisades to win an event was Bell's Tom Salcedo, who doubled with wins in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke.
On the girls' side, Palisades had to overcome a strong bid by Venice. But depth--including four top-six finishers in the 100 backstroke--gave the Dolphins the win. It is the sixth time that boys' and girls' teams from Palisades have won titles in the same year.
"I work in a winning system," Anderson said. "We have so much parent support and help here and there, it's hard to credit anybody in the whole program individually.
"But essentially, this year's team was one of our most cohesive yet."