There were unseasonably misty skies on Saturday in Corona del Mar, but nothing was going to dampen the excitement surrounding the Newport Hills pool. It was the Battle of the Greenbelt — the big Newport Hills Killer Whales versus Harbor View Dolphins swim meet.
It was a day where every race was important, and fans cheered for a third-place finish almost as hard as they did for a first, as every point was crucial. In the end, however, it was the depth of the Newport Hills Killer Whales that prevailed, and they won by a score of 749-589.
Swimmers were leaving in the middle of soccer and water polo tournaments to assure that they could make it to the meet — and upon arriving at the pool, immediately changing from soccer uniforms or water polo suits to racing swimsuits. Rowers were hustling over after exhausting workouts, just to be sure that they too could come swim for their team. However, it was not just current swimmers, as the pool deck was covered with fans, many of whom had at one time or another been a swimmer for one of the two clubs.
Newport Hills was led by its 13- and 14-yer-old girls and 15-18 boys, as both groups won each of their five individual stroke events as well as their medley and freestyle relays.
Four Killer Whales were three-time winners in individual stroke events. Bianca Bays (7-8 girls) took first place in the 25-yard breaststroke, the 25 butterfly and the 50 freestyle. Maddie Musselman, in the 13-14 girls, grabbed the blue ribbon in the 50 freestyle, the 50 fly and the 100 individual medley. Taylor Cortens (13-14 boys) was victorious in the 50 fly, the 50 back and the 100 IM. Hollace Barden, in the 15-18 girls, was a winner in the 50 freestyle, the 50 fly and the 100 IM.
In addition, there were five Newport Hills swimmers that were gold-medal winners in two individual stroke events. Sophie Wallace (50 frees and 100 IM) and Anna Wilde (50 breast and 50 back) won twice in the 9-10 girls, as did Jake Bays (50 free and 25 fly) in the 9-10 Boys, Henry Wilde (50 fly and 50 back) in the 11-12 boys and Christian Garkani (50 free and 50 fly) in the 15-18 boys.
Individual stroke winners for the Killer Whales were Hadley Harbilas (25 breast) and Alexandra Boserup (25 backs) in the Under-6 girls; John Laster (25 free) and Miles Pluma (25 fly) in the Under-6 boys; Riley Hult (25 back) in the 7-8 girls; Speedy Laster (50 back) in the 9-10 boys; Chloe Harbilas (50 free), Lauren Openshaw (50 breast) and Hana Cloherty (50 fly) in the 11-12 girls; Joe Rosensitto (50 free) and Connor McManigal (100 IM) in the 11-12 boys; Jaleh Moaddeli (50 breast) and Natalie Wilde (50 back) in the 13-14 girls; Jonathan Polos (50 free) in the 13-14 boys; and Danny Robertson (50 breast), Blake Motal (50 back) and Ian Givant (100 IM) in the 15-18 boys.
Harbor View was led by its 7-8 boys, as they won all of their five individual stroke events as well as their two relays.
Dolphin Colton Quick was a three-time winner in individual stroke events, swimming to victory in the 25 breast, the 25 back and the 50 free. Two Harbor View swimmers were two-time winners in individual stroke events----Megan Schafer (in the Under-6 girls) won the 25 free and 25 fly, while Isabella Mesiwala Jung (11-12 girls) took first-place honors in the 50 back and 100 IM.
Other individual stroke winners for the Dolphins were Trenton Quick (25 free) and Zach Jensen (25 back) in the Under-6 Boys; Kate Watson (25 free) in the 7-8 girls; Cooper Esnard (25 free) and Tucker Jackson (25 fly) in the 7-8 boys; Jen Alvarado (25 fly) in the 9-10 girls; Mark Redman (50 back) and Carter Duss (100 IM) in the 9-10 boys; Luke Chelf (50 breast) in the 11-12 boys; Robert Naruse (50 breast) in the 13-14 boys, and Ellen Naruse (50 breast) and Jules Pouch (50 back) in the 15-18 girls.
It was the last Battle of the Greenbelt for just-graduated high school Killer Whale swimmers Hollace Barden and Katie Bethel. Hollace is off to UC Santa Barbara and Katie will be going to Texas Christian University.
To top off the day, the Newport Hills foursome of Kaveh Moaddeli, Connor McManigal, Joe Rosensitto and Henry Wilde set a pool record in the 11-12 boys' freestyle relay with a time of 1:54.19. The old pool record of 1:54.69 had been set in 1998.
The Killer Whales finish their South Coast Swim Conference league meets this Saturday, with a home meet against the Green Valley Dolphins of Fountain Valley.
— Reader submission