Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar split Battle of the Bay swim meet
The Battle of the Bay swim meet was wet and wild on Tuesday at Newport Harbor High.
Rain turned into huge downpours at times. Scoreboard equipment kept malfunctioning, and at one point a Corona del Mar High swimming tent nearly flew over the north wall of the pool complex.
The wind also moved the flags above the pool — designed to tell swimmers where they are in the race — off track at times.
“On my finish, I tried to look where the lane line went solid white instead,” said CdM senior Milan Bever, who won the girls’ 100-yard backstroke. “I was able to nail my finish, even with the flags being really off.”
The CdM girls again nailed the meet itself. For the second straight year, they won every race, cruising to a 118-51 victory.
Newport Harbor’s boys, who had lost every race against their rival last year, rebounded in a big way. They used their depth to earn a 96-74 win, their first in the Battle of the Bay meet since 2019.
It was the first meet of the season for CdM; coach Kareem Captan said the CdM pool has been down for the last couple of weeks, and a meet against Laguna Beach had to be rescheduled.
But that didn’t stop the CdM girls from producing. University of Virginia-bound Maggie Schalow was a double-winner, in the 200 freestyle and the butterfly. Bever, sophomore Joyce Chang, Schalow and sophomore Alexandra Milisavljevic also touched first in the 200 medley relay, while senior Jillian Schlom, junior Taylor Park, sophomore Nikki Lahey and Schalow won the 200 free relay.
“These conditions aren’t ideal for a swim meet, but everyone’s been super-positive,” Schalow said. “Our team’s been cheering all our teammates on. It’s just been a fun meet. The conditions aren’t great, but we make it fun.”
Schalow was CIF Division 1 runner-up in both her individual events last year. As of now, she said she’s planning to swim the same events again this year, though that could change. She said she hopes to get down to 51 seconds in the butterfly by season’s end.
Bever, bound for the University of San Diego, finished second to Schalow in the 200 free in addition to winning the backstroke. She also formed part of the winning 400 free relay team, along with Park, Schlom and Lahey.
“We didn’t lose anyone last year, so our team’s only getting faster and older, which really helps,” Bever said.
Individual event winners for CdM also included Milisavljevic (200 individual medley), Lahey (50 free), Schlom (100 free), Park (500 free) and Chang (breaststroke).
Sophomore Harper Price finished second in the 100 freestyle and third in the breaststroke for Newport Harbor’s girls (2-1).
On the boys’ side, Newport Harbor sophomore Aidan Arie was a double-winner in the 500 freestyle and backstroke. Arie said his goal this year is to break Todd Lincoln’s school record from 1980 of 4:29.2 in the 500 free; he’s gone a 4:31 in club swimming.
Arie was the only multiple-event winner for the Newport Harbor boys (1-2). But the Sailors beat their rivals with depth, and solid swims from guys like water polo seniors Finn Genc and Finn LeSieur.
They seized control of the meet after Arie, Gavin McNeal and Kenzie Tang swept the top three spots in the 500 free. The Sailors also swept the top three spots in the 200 free (Ty Hansberger, McNeal and Peter Castillo) and the backstroke (Arie, Nick Kennedy and Mateo Abourjelly).
“It always feels good to beat [CdM],” said Castillo, a star water polo center. “There’s not a day in my life for any sport where you don’t want to have that competition with them. It’s always fun to play them, whether you win or lose, but it’s always much better to win.”
CdM’s boys earned a pair of wins from senior Kevin Li in the IM and butterfly, as well as junior Camren Simoncelli in the 50 free and 100 free. The Sea Kings won the 200 medley and 400 free relays, while Newport Harbor won the 200 free relay.
Corona del Mar opens Surf League competition at Fountain Valley on Tuesday, the same day that Newport Harbor hosts Laguna Beach in its first Wave League meet.
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