Newport Harbor High brought just four girls to Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Division 1 swimming finals at Riverside City College, and that number was almost three.
Coach Brian Melstrom said sophomore Carly Yasko had a 103-degree fever and was at urgent care earlier Saturday. She still gutted it out and swam at finals.
The Sailors did well in Melstrom’s final meet as coach, finishing in fourth place as a team. That was tops among local squads, even with just the four swimmers of junior twins Ayla and Zoe Spitz, Yasko and senior Dinny Stevens.
“She’s such a trooper,” Ayla Spitz said of Yasko, who still helped the Sailors finish second in both the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays. “She did so well. Poor thing was sick this morning, and she still killed it here.”
So did Ayla Spitz. After finishing second in the 200 free in 1 minute 45.56 seconds, she came back and was the area’s only individual champion in the 500 free. Spitz won in 4:45.91, with Fountain Valley senior Shayla Erickson in fourth and Stevens in seventh.
It was the second individual CIF title for Spitz, who won the 100 free last year.
Fountain Valley junior Hannah Farrow was happy with second-place finishes in both of her individual events, the 200 individual medley (2:00.90) and the 100 butterfly (53.80).
“I was really excited, because that’s the highest I’ve ever placed at CIF so far,” Farrow said. “It’s just exciting. I’m moving up. Hopefully next year we can get some firsts here.”
The other two second-place finishers were Huntington Beach freshman Madelyn Harris and Corona del Mar senior Ryan Schildwachter. Harris overcame a rough start in the girls’ 100 backstroke to finish second in 54.98, and she was also sixth in the girls’ 50 free in 23.85.
Schildwachter, a water polo player who is in his first year swimming for Aquazot Swim Club, placed second in the boys’ 100 breaststroke in 55.58.
“It’s really fun to be competitive in CIF this year,” said Schildwachter, adding that he plans to walk on the swim team at Cornell. “Usually, league [finals] is the big meet for me, but this year I was able to compete [at CIF] and it made it really fun.”
Marina junior Sage Matsushima also had a strong meet. She was third in the butterfly in a school-record 53.96 and also third in the backstroke in 55.43.
Sage’s older sister, New York University-bound Marina senior Terra Matsushima, tied for third in the girls’ 100 free in 51.44.
“I’m honestly so stoked right now,” Terra Matsushima said. “I haven’t been able to place as high as I wanted to in [past] years. This year, I just said, senior year, push as hard as you can and just have fun.”
CdM freshman Michelle Tekawy was fourth in the girls’ breaststroke (1:03.65) and sixth in the individual medley (2:03.88).
Huntington Beach senior Grant Brehm finished fifth in the boys’ 50 free in 20.74 and eighth in the 100 free in 46.48.
“I can see Grant doing very well as a college swimmer,” Oilers boys’ coach Ryan Camps said of Brehm, who is headed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “He was a late developer in high school.”
Huntington Beach senior Natalie Crocker was eighth in the girls’ 50 free and ninth in the 100 free.
In the Division 2 swim finals: Laguna Beach High senior Kasey Karkoska finished fourth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 100 backstroke Saturday at Riverside City College, helping the Breakers girls place ninth as a team.
Karkoska touched in 55.91 in the butterfly and 56.60 in the backstroke. She also helped the Breakers’ 200 free relay team place third in 1:36.59, while the 400 free relay team was fifth in 3:33.94.
Sage Hill School junior Jason Schreiber was sixth in both the boys’ 200 IM (a school-record 1:52.96) and breaststroke (57.98).