It was one of those typical Battle of the Greenbelt face-offs. The cluster of Corona del Mar High incoming ninth-graders that was laughing and joking prior to the meet was the perfect example of the normal tenor of these neighborhood showdowns.
All in this specific group have been attending early morning workouts for the first time as preparation for Corona del Mar High water polo. Such dedication and hard work among peers creates a strong bond, and it was obvious that this group shared a special closeness.
However, when the individual swimming events started, the group split, some with Newport Hills and the other with Harbor View, and all were competing as hard as they could to perform at their peak against and in front of their buddies. The beauty was that the closeness and brotherhood-like competitiveness brought out numerous personal-best performances, and yet when the race was finished, it was all high-fives and big smiles. All across the board, 18-year-olds or 4-year-olds, swimmers from both teams tried as hard as they could to excel, but when it was over, they were all still real friends — it is the personification of genuine sport.
When Newport Hills and Harbor View swim teams square off, it is a special day on this side of the bay.
This past Saturday, the Newport Hills Swim Team put the icing on another undefeated season. With their 741-577 victory over the Harbor View Dolphins, the Killer Whales won the South Coast Swim Conference title for the fifth time in a row, and over that time have posted a record of 29 wins and 0 losses.
Over the past few weeks, the Killer Whales defeated second-place Green Valley of Fountain Valley and third-place Lake Forest II — at the time of those meets, both opposing teams came into the event undefeated. In addition, Newport Hills was champion of the Relay Finals held at Corona del Mar High June 25, when all five teams in the conference competed. The only obstacle the Killer Whales faced this past weekend was their neighborhood rival possibly upsetting another undefeated season.
Both Newport Hills and Harbor View swimmers put in great efforts, but the depth and strength of Newport Hills was too much for the Dolphins. The Killer Whales were led by their under-6 girls, 9-10 girls, 11-12 girls and 11-12 boys — as all groups took first place in each of their individual swimming events as well as the two relays.
Five swimmers for Newport Hills were three-time winners in individual events — Speedy Laster in the 7-8 boys (25-yard freestyle, 25 backstroke and 50 freestyle), Chloe Harbilas in the 9-10 girls (50 free, 50 breaststroke and 100 individual medley), Madeline Musselman in the 11-12 girls (50 free, 50 butterfly and 100 IM), Henry Wilde in the 11-12 boys (50 free, 50 fly and 100 IM), and Ian Givant in the 15-18 boys (50 free, 50 fly and 100 IM).
The Killer Whales also had five two-time winners in individual events — Olivia Krotts in the under-6 girls (25 breaststroke and 25 back), Bianca Bays (25 free and 25 fly) in the 7-8 girls, Auggie Laster in the under-6 boys (25 breaststroke and 25 back), Lauren Openshaw in the 11-12 girls (50 breaststroke and 50 back) and Taylor Cortens in the 13-14 boys (50 breaststroke and 50 back).
Individual event winners for Newport Hills included Alexa Raack (25 free) and Alessandra O'Brien (25 fly) in the under-6 girls, Jack Morris (25 fly) in the under-6 boys, Lauren Hughes (25 back) in the 7-8 girls, Sophie Wallace (50 breaststroke) and Hana Cloherty (25 fly) in the 9-10 girls, Kaveh Moaddeli (50 free) and Connor McManigal (100 IM) in the 9-10 boys, Rourke Funke (50 breaststroke) and JT Russell (50 back) in the 11-12 boys, Brooke Olson (50 breaststroke) and Natalie Wilde (50 back) in the 13-14 girls, and Brett Greenlee (50 free) and Danny Robertson (100IM) in the 13-14 boys.
For the Dolphins, Jules Pouch was a three-time winner in individual events (50 free, 50 breaststroke and 50 back) in the 15-18 girls and Alexander Taxman was a two-time winner (25 fly and 50 back) in the 9-10 boys.
Harbor View individual event winners were Blake Stern (25 free) in the under-6 boys, Megan Chelf (25 breaststroke) and Abby Nutt (50 free) in the 7-8 girls, Kyle Jolas (25 breaststroke) and Connor Cohen (25 fly) in the 7-8 boys, Luke Chelf (50 breaststroke) in the 9-10 boys, Eliza Britt (50 freestyle), Ellie Reid (50 fly) and Madalyn Ruiz (100 IM) in the 13-14 girls, Connor Mickelson (50 fly) in the 13-14 boys, Margot Money (50 fly) and Tori Gabert (100 IM) in the 15-18 girls and Nick Balden (50 breaststroke) and Jake Bandaruk (50 back) in the 15-18 boys.
For 18-year old Killer Whale swimmer Devon Greenlee and Harbor View swimmers Margot Money and Tori Gabert, it was their last South Coast Swim Conference Newport Hills-Harbor View rivalry.
— Reader submission