For the first time in a four-year high school career, Edison High senior boys’ swimmer Taylor Whitmore cannot call himself a league champion in an individual event.
Whitmore won the 200-yard individual medley in his first three years on varsity. As a senior, he finished second to Marina junior Stuart Holton in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke during Friday’s Wave League finals at Golden West College.
Whitmore did not pout. Instead he got over the backstroke runner-up finish quickly, cheering fellow Chargers senior Jakob Otte to victory in the next event, the 100 breaststroke.
“It was important to get the league title, whatever you have to sacrifice,” Whitmore said.
The team title was more important than his individual accomplishment. For the first time in Whitmore’s four years in the program, Edison’s boys won a league title.
The Chargers swept the four-team Wave League finals. Edison outlasted Huntington Beach 395 points to 387 on the boys’ side. The Edison girls finished with 363 points, ahead of Laguna Beach with 339.
Otte had a big meet, as he claimed the breaststroke (58.22) and the individual medley (1:58.61). The breaststroke time was significant; Edison coach Matt Whitmore said that Otte had not gone under a minute prior to the league preliminaries on Tuesday.
But Otte and Edison senior Marcus Dalija went one-two in the breaststroke, helping Edison build an 18-point lead on Huntington Beach headed into the final event of the 400 freestyle relay.
“I’ve always been competing with Marcus,” Otte said. “He’s always been ahead of me, and this year in prelims I beat him. I knew he was going to be right next to me, and I just wanted to push myself to beat him.
“This is my fourth year. Freshman and sophomore year, we got close to winning, and last year we didn’t do so well. This year, just pulling it out is just awesome.”
Huntington Beach sophomore Chase Dodd won the 200 free (1:43.86) and the 500 free (4:39.94). Oilers senior captain Brenden Tran won the 100 free in 48.10, and Huntington Beach also won both freestyle relays.
Edison’s boys won the medley relay.
Junior Emma Willmer was a double-winner on the girls’ side for Edison, capturing the individual medley (2:06.51) and the breaststroke (1:05.32). But the Chargers, who had no other individual champions and won no relays, won the title with depth. Danny Gillissen finished second in the butterfly and breaststroke.
Edison also was helped when Laguna Beach disqualified both its “A” and “B” relays in the meet-opening 200 medley relay. The “A” relay was disqualified because a swimmer took off early, while a swimmer contributed a stroke infraction on the “B” relay.
“Laguna helped us a little bit,” Matt Whitmore said. “That opened the whole meet up. And the girls, when that happened, they stepped up. That’s sports, right? A lot of happy accidents I guess.”
Marina senior Sage Matsushima became an individual event champion in league for the first time, winning the butterfly in 53.94 by more than seven seconds.
Huntington Beach sophomores Madelyn Harris and Summer West each won two events. Harris captured the 100 free (51.56) and backstroke (a meet-record 54.01), while West won the 200 (1:51.78) and 500 (5:01.14) freestyle events.
West is now the school-record holder in both distance freestyle events, Oilers girls’ coach Candice Mason said.
Claire Kelly won the 50 free in 24.42 for Laguna Beach, which had Molly Renner finish second in both the 100 free and 200 free. The Breakers also won both freestyle relay events.
Those who have qualified will compete at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 preliminaries and finals next week at Riverside City College. The preliminaries are May 2 at 9 a.m., while the finals are May 4 beginning at 11 a.m.
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