Laguna Beach again sweeps Orange Coast League swimming finals
Like other teams at the school, the Laguna Beach High swimming program is moving from the Orange Coast League to the Sunset League in the fall.
The Breakers did not want to go out with a loss.
Coach Kari Damato is in her 10th year in charge, and she said every year her team has come out on top in both genders. Call it a decade of dominance that the Breakers completed Thursday at the Orange Coast League swimming finals at the Laguna Beach community pool.
Laguna Beach’s boys overcame a challenge from Costa Mesa, winning the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay to cap a 362.5-345 victory. The Breakers girls were more dominant, finishing first with 489 points. Costa Mesa was second with 236.
Estancia finished fourth in both genders, also behind Calvary Chapel.
For the second straight year, Laguna Beach’s boys won no individual events, but the Breakers’ depth won out. All Laguna Beach had to do in the last relay was avoid disqualification, but the Breakers still won a close race, as Colton Gregory, Nathan Solomon, John Ford and Riley Bumgardner touched first in 3 minutes 22.25 seconds. Costa Mesa’s Aidan Blair, Will Harrington, Tony Shin and Augie Cunningham were second in 3:22.82.
Gregory, Bumgardner, Solomon and James Nolan also won the 200 free relay in 1:31.34.
“This being our last year in this league, it was fun to close it out with a win and secure dominance, basically,” said Bumgardner, the only senior on the Laguna Beach boys’ squad.
Costa Mesa’s boys turned in some top individual swims. Sophomore Aidan Blair won the 200 freestyle in 1:41.63, which coach Tim Postiff said is not far off the school record of 1:41.30, set by Bob Dolan in 1978. Blair was also second in the 100 breaststroke.
Mustangs senior Augie Cunningham won the 500 free in a season-best 4:58.78.
“He was a little upset about [finishing third in] the 200,” Postiff said. “He could have let it affect him, but he swam his best time in the 500 … Overall I was happy with the way we swam.”
Estancia’s boys had a double winner in senior Cobi White, who won the 50 freestyle for the third straight year in 21.59. He also held off a charge by Calvary Chapel’s Timothy Townsend to win the 100 free in 47.73, just two-hundredths of a second faster than Townsend.
“I go all-out and then I run out of gas,” White said. “I’m just happy I beat my times from last year.”
Senior Kasey Karkoska paced the Laguna Beach girls, who won every individual event and relay. Karkoska set a meet record in the 100 butterfly (56.52) before winning the 100 free (53.23).
“That was probably not my best move,” said Karkoska, who also swam on both winning freestyle relays, of swimming back-to-back events. “That was tough on my legs.”
Still, the Columbia University-bound Karkoska said she is excited for the CIF Southern Section Division 2 meet, which has preliminaries on May 11 at Riverside City College and finals the following day.
Breakers sophomore Ella Judd won the 200 individual medley (2:09.00) and the 500 free (5:08.17). Senior Kyla Whitelock won the 50 free in 24.68.
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