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Swimming Preview: Burroughs' Wilson again leads local contingent

Swimming Preview: Burroughs' Wilson again leads local contingent
Maya Wilson is a key returner this season for the Burroughs High swim team. (Raul Roa \ Staff Photographer)

For the third straight season, Maya Wilson should be the premier swimmer among the local contingent.

Wilson, a junior at Burroughs High, has set multiple school records and is one of the most decorated swimmers in the area the past few seasons.

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Wilson will lead an Indians squad with a small group, while Burbank looks to make some noise in a Pacific League that will likely be ripe with talent.

Here is a closer look at the teams.

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BURROUGHS

Wilson, who competes for Rose Bowl Aquatics, is coming off a sophomore campaign in which she was named the All-Area Girls' Swimmer of the Year for the second straight season.

After breaking five school records as a freshman, in 2018 she bested her previous mark in the 200-yard freestyle with a 1 minute, 51:02 second effort, broke her own 100 freestyle time with a 52.89 and established a record in the 200 individual medley with a 2:12.81.

In the Pacific League finals, although recovering from an illness, Wilson easily captured a 500 freestyle title as her time of 4:59.15 was 42 seconds ahead of second place.

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Wilson also competed in the 200 freestyle, where she swam to victory in record-breaking time. With a mark of 1:51.73, Wilson set a new league record, breaking the time of Crescenta Valley's Heather MacDougall in 2013 by .03 seconds.

Although still not completely over her illness, Wilson advanced to the Division II finals at the Riverside Aquatics Complex in May. She concluded her season with a sixth-place finish in the 200 freestyle in a personal-best time of 1:51.02 and took seventh in the 500 freestyle in another PR of 5:01.93.

“She already has goals set for herself, but I kind of basically put into her head that she can break these records and that she can basically do whatever she sets her mind to,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “She just trains so hard and she really gets after it.

“I think she will be able to go lower this season and break some of those records that she has set.”

Also expected to contribute on the girls’ side is freshman Liliana Noriega, who will compete in freestyle events.

On the boys’ side, the team will be led by four-year swimmer Reign Abaoag, who can swim a variety of events. He finished 28th in the 100 butterfly in 53.19 and was 31st in the 100 breaststroke 1:01.86 in the CIF Southern Section Division II preliminaries.

“Those are really the three top swimmers for us,” Cook said. “They will be the standouts … They are kind of on their own level.”

In league, Cook said he expects Crescenta Valley and Arcadia to have competitive teams.

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“Some of those teams, it’s hard to compete against because they have some much depth,” he said. “We have some top swimmers but we just don’t have the depth to compete against them team wise.

“Our thing is for our swimmers to get better and better their own personal times.”

BURBANK

The Bulldogs will have smaller numbers on the girls’ side, but have more athletes out for the boys’ team.

“I’m really excited to see how they will be able to do this season, especially with the boys,” Burbank coach Cody Parker said. “I think it is going to be a good year for them, even better than last year. So we’re hoping to get some automatic cuts for CIF.

“For the boys’ side, we lost just one senior, so the majority of our point-earners are back. We even have a few new additions who should help get us some points.”

Returning to lead the boys’ team is junior David Lee. In last season’s league finals, Lee got the win in the 50 freestyle, recording a time of 23.05, just .06 ahead of second place, and won the 100 freestyle with a mark of 50.17.

Other boys’ contributors could be seniors Gevorg Vardanyan, Dorian Andrei and Ashot Gavurmadchyan, along with junior Ryan Feldman, who all will swim a variety of events.

For the girls, the team also has a core of athletes who can swim various events, including seniors Michelle Morlock and Emily Udall and juniors Simone Bethel and sister Geneva.

“We know team wise it’s going to be tough for us in league,” Parker said. “I think it’s realistic that maybe we can win some individual events and hopefully come up with some upsets in the relays.”

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