Lubowe is CIF champ

RIVERSIDE — Sage Hill School junior Harry Lubowe said he didn't expect to win the CIF Southern Section Division 3 diving title Thursday night at Riverside City College.

"I was expecting to get second and go home happy," said Lubowe, who came into CIF finals in second place behind defending champion Nykola Bodnar of St. Anthony.

Lubowe exceeded his own expectations. He is now a CIF champion.

Lubowe won the Division 3 diving title, surpassing Bodnar in the three-dive finals. Costa Mesa High also had a strong showing at the swimming championships, led by Kellie Thorsness' close second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle.

Lubowe, the three-time Academy League champion, said his title was sweet. He finished third last year.

He said he used two strong dives at the start, an inward one-and-a-half and a front double pike, to seize control. He finished with 472.95 points, ahead of Bodnar with 421.25.

"It feels great," said Lubowe, who also captured the Santa Margarita Invitational last month. "It hasn't really sunk in yet."

Thorsness was second by a fingernail in the girls' 50 free to Kiersten Shew of La Serna. Shew touched in 24.76 seconds, Thorsness in 24.77. Thorsness' time also was just a fraction off her own school record time of 24.72.

Thorsness was that close to becoming the first CIF swimming champion in an individual event in Costa Mesa High history. The Mustangs' lone event win at CIF finals came in 2005, when Mesa won the 400 free relay. That relay included James Fowler, Evan Spencer, Adam Douglas and Kellie's older brother, Kyle Thorsness.

Kellie Thorsness said she injured her left elbow during preliminaries on Wednesday. She popped it back into place but then she ended Thursday's 50 free championship heat with a left-hand touch, which may have cost her.

"It was kind of a weak touch," said Thorsness, who was still happy overall. "[The 50 free] was a good race. I feel like I did the best I could. I'm just really excited to make top three. My goal was to get top eight … I'm satisfied."

Thorsness, who was sixth in the 100 free after preliminaries, came back to finish a strong third place in the event finals with a 55.07.

Other Costa Mesa swimmers also did well. Senior James Lewis finished fifth in the boys' 200 freestyle in 1:50.29. Lewis was consistent in CIF; he was seeded fifth headed into preliminaries, finished fifth at prelims and was then fifth in the finals.

He then finished ninth in the 500 free in 5:03.35.

"I met my goal times that I wanted to meet this year at league," said Lewis, the Orange Coast League champion in both events. "I was happy about that, and CIF was kind of a bonus. It's really tough, super-tough to hold your taper for that long."

Costa Mesa sophomore Tyler Connors was seventh in the boys' 100 back, in 57.03. He also was ninth in the 200 individual medley in a season-best 2:05.64.

The Costa Mesa boys' 400 free relay team (Lewis, Victor Gonzalez, Quinn Stone and Mason Cooper) placed ninth in 3:27.17.

Cooper, a sophomore, won the consolation final of the 100 free, finishing in 50.17. He finished 13th in the 50 free, in 22.79. Gonzalez was 19th in the 200 IM, in 2:09.40.

Costa Mesa's quartet of Aubry Hill, Kaitlyn Hill, Lauren Smith and Thorsness was 14th in the girls' 200 free relay in 1:48.34. Aubry Hill was 18th in the butterfly (1:07.01).

Overall it was a strong showing for the Mustangs. Costa Mesa finished 12th in the boys' team standings, and 19th on the girls' side.

Lewis said he wasn't surprised.

"The future is going to be really good at Mesa, both in swimming and in water polo," Lewis said. "Ever since we got our new pool, everything's just been going up."

Twitter: @mjszabo

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