Huntington Beach girls’ swimming smashes relay record from 1997

Huntington Beach High senior Natalie Crocker, shown competing in a meet on March 27, 2018, helped the Oilers break the 400-yard freestyle relay school record during Tuesday's meet at Fountain Valley.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Most of the marks on the girls’ swimming record board at Huntington Beach High are either from the mid-1990s or have been set in the last few years.

It is clear that both eras were strong ones for the Oilers. Well, now it’s time to take another old record off the board.

The Oilers’ Madelyn Harris, Caitlin Richter, Summer West and Natalie Crocker smashed the school record in the 400-yard freestyle relay during Tuesday’s Sunset League meet at defending league champion Fountain Valley. They touched in 3:41.24, which bested the previous record of 3:45.78, from 1997, by more than four seconds.

“My goal for the girls is to have all three new records on the board by the end of the season,” Huntington Beach coach Candice Mason said. “They did not think they would [break] the 4x100 [record] at Fountain Valley, just because of the pool. And Natalie wasn’t feeling well that week. So when they found out they got the record, they were really excited. Also, in that race they placed first against the ‘A’ relay of Fountain Valley, which was a huge deal.”

If Crocker, a senior who has signed with the University of Idaho, is to set more relay records this season, she will be breaking her own marks. Crocker, Abby Smith, Sara Chin and Ivana Jeremic set both the 200 medley relay record (1:52.02) and 200 free relay record (1:41.06) when Crocker was a freshman in 2015.

Huntington Beach’s girls are 0-3 in Sunset League dual meets, but being in last place in league speaks more to the strength of the league than the weakness of the Oilers.

“Being a Division 1 school, we have a lot of schools that we’re competing against that have great teams,” Mason said. “Our downfall is we are more of a water polo school, so our depth in swimming isn’t as high ... We do have our set of girls who compete very well against the rest of the D1 schools in the Sunset League. It’s a good challenge for them, good preparation for them if they want to continue swimming in college.”

It is the relative youth of this current squad that gives Huntington Beach reason for optimism in the future. Harris, a freshman, set the school backstroke record earlier this year by swimming a 57.02, lowering Meghan Casillan’s mark of 57.51 from 1996. West is also a freshman, while Richter is a sophomore.

Huntington Beach swims at Los Alamitos on Tuesday before closing out league dual meet action at home against Edison on April 24.

Newport Harbor standing tall in Sunset League boys’ lacrosse

The Newport Harbor High boys’ lacrosse team heads into spring break next week all alone in first place in the Sunset League.

The Sailors, seeking their third outright title in three years, earned an impressive 13-2 home win over Edison on Wednesday. That improved Newport Harbor to 6-0 in league, with just two matches remaining.

Newport Harbor plays at Los Alamitos (4-1 in league) on April 25 in a game with likely league title implications. The Sailors edged the Griffins 13-12 in the teams’ first league meeting on April 4.

Twitter: @mjszabo