Ayla Spitz and Hannah Farrow each can say they went out with a bang.
The Newport Harbor and Fountain Valley high school seniors dazzled Saturday at their final high school meet, the CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals at Riverside City College. Each was a double winner.
Spitz earned the third and fourth individual titles of her sparkling high school career, and did so against top competition. She rallied on the last lap to win the girls’ 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 45.38 seconds, nearly three-10ths of a second faster than junior Ella Ristic of team champion Santa Margarita. Foothill junior Samantha Pearson was third.
The 100 final followed a similar story, as the Cal-bound Spitz touched in 49.42, ahead of Pearson (49.59) and Ristic (49.66).
“They’re both great racers, so it was really fun racing them,” Spitz said. “Going in being seeded third, I feel like I was really motivated to try and win those. I’m glad that it came together my senior year … I didn’t race Ella or Sam in prelims, so having them in my heat right next to me [in finals] definitely pushed me.
“I always get really motivated on the last 25 to have a strong finish, and then put my head down at the flags.”
Farrow, bound for the University of Arizona, won the first two individual titles of her high school career. She captured the 200 individual medley, dominating the field to win in a school-record 2:00.06. Farrow then won the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.63, again taking it by nearly a second.
“It feels so good,” Farrow said of setting the school IM record, which was previously held by Shelby Webber (2:00.28). “I’ve been trying to get it for like three years now. To finally get it at my last meet, it feels really good … I just really wanted to push as hard as I could [in the breaststroke]. It was my last race being a Baron.”
Farrow helped Fountain Valley’s girls finish eighth as a team, while Newport Harbor finished ninth.
Huntington Beach sophomore Madelyn Harris nearly won the 100 backstroke. She took second place in 54.87, two-hundredeths of a second ahead of Marina senior Sage Matsushima in third.
“I’m definitely more tired than I was at league,” said Harris, who was also ninth in the 50 free (23.99) and added that she has been battling sickness this week. “I think I could have won, for sure, if I just tried a little harder on the last lap.”
Matsushima finished second in the butterfly in 53.79, behind winner Anicka Delgado of Santa Margarita (53.33). Fountain Valley junior Katelyn Dang was fifth in 55.20.
The Brown University-bound Matsushima finished off a remarkably consistent prep career. She was second at CIF in the butterfly as a freshman and sophomore, and third last year as a junior.
“I’ve always had Anicka right next to me,” Matsushima said. “She really helped me push to get a personal-best, and I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
Fountain Valley sophomore Ivan Nghi was the only local boy to compete in a Division 1 championship final. Nghi finished second in the breaststroke (55.60) and fifth in the individual medley (1:50.21).
Among other girls competing in championship finals, Corona del Mar sophomore Michelle Tekawy was a strong competitor in the girls’ IM. Tekawy took third in 2:04.17. The Sea Kings’ 200 free relay of Tekawy, Stephanie Lin, Leora Rose and Karsyn Cook finished fourth in 1:36.76.
Newport Harbor senior Zoe Spitz finished fifth in the girls’ 50 free, in 23.71. The Sailors’ 200 and 400 free relay teams, each of which featured the Spitz twins, Kili Skibby and Taylor Smith, both placed seventh.
Fountain Valley’s girls’ 200 medley relay team, featuring Emme Nguyen, Farrow, Dang and Sarah Hopkins, placed fourth. The Barons’ 200 free relay team of Dang, Phoebe Munholland, Hopkins and Farrow, was sixth.
Huntington Beach sophomore Summer West was sixth in the girls’ 500 free in 5:00.13, and eighth in the 200 free (1:51.29).
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