Killer Whales top rival Dolphins

The South Coast Swim Conference kicked off its season Saturday, and it was a bit more important to most Corona del Mar-Newport Beach swimmers than most opening days, as it featured the defending champion Newport Hills Killer Whales against their neighborhood rival Harbor View Dolphins in the always friendly but hotly contested Battle of the Greenbelt.

Elementary and high school friends, water polo and swimming club or high school teammates and greenbelt neighbors all put other activities on hold, so they could swim their hardest to claim local bragging rights. This year was a bit more difficult than most, as swimmers were jockeying between the pool and Daily Pilot Cup soccer, baseball playoffs and SAT exams. However, as is always the case when these two teams swim against each other, team and pool records are broken, and numerous swimmers set new personal-best times.

After a day of intense competition at the Newport Hills pool, the depth of the Killer Whales was too much for the Dolphins, and Newport Hills won the meet, 739-586.

The Killer Whales were led by four swimmers that were three-time event winners in individual events. Speedy Laster in the 7-8 boys, grabbed the blue ribbon in the 25-yard freestyle, the 25 butterfly and the 25 backstroke. Chloe Harbilas in the 9-10 girls, swam to first-place honors in the 50 free, the 50 back and the 100 individual medley. Madeline Musselman, who set a new Newport Hills team event record in the 11-12 girls, was victorious in the 50 free (where her time of 27.03 fell short of the new pool and team record of 26.56 she set on May 22 at the team pentathlon, but broke the previous team record of 27.13 set by Michelle Bird on August 12,1978 and the pool record of 27.12 established by Harbor View swimmer Jules Pouch on May 31, 2008), the 50 fly and the 100 IM (where she set a new team record of 1:09.63, breaking the record of ex-Newport Hills coach Lauren Powers, of 1:10.26, which was set Aug. 10, 1996), and in the 15-18 boys, Christian Garkani was the winner in the 50 fly (where he set a new pool record of 23.87, breaking the 24.12 time of ex-Killer Whale and current USC swimmer Patrick White, which was set June 10, 2006), the 50 back and the 100 IM (where his time of 56.25 broke another Patrick White team record of 57.37, which was set July 12, 2008, and the old pool record time of 56.84, which was set by Green Valley swimmer Adam Gonzalez June 16, 2007) .

Alexa Raack in the under-6 girls (25 free and 25 back), Carter Loth in the under-6 boys (25 breaststroke and 25 fly), Jake Bays in the 9-10 boys (50 breaststroke and 25 fly) and Brianna Daboub in the 13-14 girls (50 free and 50 breaststroke) were all two-time individual event winners for Newport Hills.

For the Dolphins, Abby Nutt in the 7-8 girls (25 free, 25 fly and 50 free) and Timmy Hanson in the 11-12 boys (50 free, 50 breaststroke and 50 fly) were three-time individual event winners, and Conner Mickelsen in the 13-14 boys (50 fly and 50 back) and Tori Gabert in the 15-18 girls (50 breaststroke and 50 fly) were two-time individual event winners.

Individual event winners for the Killer Whales included Olivia Krotts in the under-6 girls (25 fly), Luke Wallace (25 free) and Augie Laster (25 back) in the under-6 boys, Grant Loth (25 breaststroke) and Tommy Bethel (50 free) in the 7-8 boys, Anna Wilde (50 breaststroke) in the 9-10 girls, Kaveh Meaddeli (50 free) and Wyatt Genc (100 IM) in the 9-10 boys, Lauren Openshaw (50 breaststroke) in the 11-12 girls, JT Russell (50 back) and Henry Wilde (100 IM) in the 11-12 boys, Natalie Wilde (50 back) in the 13-14 girls, Taylor Cortens (50 breaststroke) and Danny Robertson (100 IM) in the 13-14 boys and Blake Motal (50 free) in the 15-18 boys.

Dolphin individual event winners included Ashley Riba in the under-6 girls (25 fly), Abby Snider (25 breaststroke) and Kate Watson (25 backstroke) in the 7-8 girls, Jen Alvarado in the 9-10 girls (25 fly), Alexander Taxman (50 back) in the 9-10 boys, Siena Secrist (50 back) in the 11-12 girls, Ellie Reid (50 fly) and Eliza Britt (100 IM) in the 13-14 girls, Ford Secrist (50 freestyle) in the 13-14 boys, Pippa Saunders (50 free), Delaney Pouch (50 back) and Jules Pouch (100 IM) in the 15-18 girls and Jack Harryman (50 breaststroke) in the 15-18 boys.

There were 12 medley and freestyle relay events, and the Killer Whales won 15 out of the 24 races.

Killer Whales swimmer Hollace Barden, who set a new team and pool record of 25.62 in the 15-18 girls' 50 free at the team's recent pentathlon event May 22 (breaking her old pool and team record of 25.69), unfortunately missed the big neighborhood meet, as she was taking her SATs.

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