Burroughs swim teams show talent despite losses

BURBANK — In the continuation of a classic confrontation, although one usually not contested in water, the Cowboys ventured away from home to battle the Indians.

This chapter in the long-standing historical rivalry came in the form of a nonleague swim meet between Canyon Country Canyon High and host Burroughs.

"Canyon is always a really, really strong team, I mean anyone from the Santa Clarita area is always going to be a tough swim," Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia said. "It was a little intimidating the numbers they brought up. I mean, they had 70 to 80 kids and we have around 65. So, I know all the kids had some big eyes, but everyone swam really tough."

When it was all over, it was the Cowboys who came out ahead in both the boys' portion of the contest, 94-76, and the girls', 89-70, sweeping their Pacific League hosts,

However, the losses didn't dampen the sprits of the Indian coaching staff.

"For this being the beginning of the season, I see so much potential," Garcia said. "They are almost already where they were at the end of last season at the beginning of this year, which is always great to see."

For both teams, it represented a chance to get their feet wet in direct competition and gauge where they are early in the season. It was the second head-to-head meet of the year for Burroughs, which had split its first meet going up against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame on the last day of February, with the boys coming out on top and the girls falling short. Monday's meet was the first head-to-head meet of the season for the visiting Cowboys.

"It was a good swim." Canyon Coach Steve Himes said. "It was our first meet and coming out to John Burroughs is always a good event. They've got great swimmers and really pushed our kids really well."

The Burroughs boys' squad had three individual winners in Casey Ueno (50-yard freestyle), Daniel Mairena (100 butterfly), and Brandon Olivas (500 freestyle). Ueno, Mairena, and Olivas also captured two more victories by teaming up with Dexter Brown to win the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

"I am seeing the general trend that the boys are going to be really strong," Garcia said. "I've got five very solid swimmers and the rest of the team is just a notch below them."

Brown was filling in as a member of the relay teams due to the absence and illness of key team contributor, Kevin Ueno.

"It's always hard having one of your big guys out, who's a senior also, great swimmer," Garcia said of the missing Ueno.

The Burroughs girls' squad ended up with two athletes finishing as multiple winners. Michaela Salinas won both the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle. Ahsha Earwood showed a variety of skills to take first place in both the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle.

In general, the Indian girls stayed competitive throughout the meet and hung with Canyon. Indian Kailee Groveman won the 100 backstroke, as Burroughs' only winner of either gender in the discipline.

"What I'm seeing from the varsity girls is a lot of fire in them," said Garcia, who in his fifth year with the Burroughs program. "Especially with today, there were a lot of races....The times that I have are fantastic."

Burroughs will be back in the pool on Wednesday to host Monrovia and build toward the Pacific League Relays at Burbank High on Friday. Before that, Canyon will be headed to Burbank for its next meet on Wednesday. The Cowboys look for similar results to what they got on Monday.

"Burbank is good. Burbank is strong," Himes said. "We'll see what we can do. It will probably be a bit of what happened today, some good and some bad... Mentally [nonleague meets] are good for the kids to get experience. I like coming out to John Burroughs and Burbank because they have good, solid swims and it keeps the kids aware compared to some other teams that just don't really have good races. So these two teams out here I like a lot for Canyon. They do a lot of really good matching up."

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