SOUTHERN SECTION SWIMMING / DIVISION III CHAMPIONSHIPS : Laguna Hills Falters at End, Finishes Second
It was after the 100 backstroke that defending Southern Section Division III champion Laguna Hills fell behind Ridgecrest Burroughs in the boys’ team competition Saturday at Belmont Plaza Pool.
Unable to qualify swimmers in the last two individual finals, Laguna Hills then had to watch Burroughs rack up points going into the last event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay, to clinch the championship.
The relay result--Burroughs first and Laguna Hills second--was meaningless.
“Yeah, it was kind of hard not to get any points in those events and win,” said first-year Laguna Hills Coach Chris Duncan. “But I’m still very proud of how well we did.”
Burroughs finished with 170 points, followed by Laguna Hills (134) and Trabuco Hills (104).
Trabuco Hills’ victory in the 200 freestyle relay (1 minute 26.58 seconds) helped clinch third.
Though Burroughs won, Laguna Hills swimmer Mark Kwok was the meet’s top individual.
Kwok, the only double winner from the county, was named swimmer of the meet. Victories in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly made it one of the 16-year-old junior’s best meets.
In the 200 IM, Kwok just missed a Division III section record, finishing in 1:51.49. Last year, he was second.
“I just wanted to get a better time than I had in prelims,” said Kwok, whose winning time was his personal best. “I was really excited going into this race. So I wanted to make sure that I swam every stroke strong.”
And strong he was, keeping the lead throughout the entire race.
In the fly, Kwok swam another personal best, 50.41, which was an All-American qualifying time and his first senior national qualifying time.
Kennedy sophomore Tim Martin finished first in the 500 freestyle in 4:32.24. Laguna Hills’ Preston Hammontree was second (4:43.15). Martin also finished third in the 200 freestyle (1:42.44).
Orange County had only one swimmer in the girls’ finals. But Kennedy’s Wendy Martin, older sister of 500-yard freestyle winner Tim, left her mark, finishing second twice in strong fields.
In the 200 freestyle, her county-leading 1:52.25 was behind only the 1:50.79 of Ashley Haendings of Whittier California, one of the state’s best. In the 500, Martin trailed nationally ranked Alexis Larson of North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, whose 4:48.85 was one-hundredth of a second off the Division III record. Martin finished in 4:53.03, also best in the county this year.
The two swims were enough to give Kennedy 16th in the team competition. Harvard-Westlake won with 122 points; Cerritos was second (106.5).