High School Swimming: CdM second at finals

IRVINE — The Corona del Mar High boys' swim team won seven of 11 events at Friday's Pacific Coast League finals.

The CdM girls won six of 11 events, also setting three school records.

But the reason why it was University hopping into the water at the end of the meet could be summed up pretty easily.

"It just comes down to Uni's depth," CdM girls' coach Doug Volding said.

The Trojans defended their girls' and boys' league titles at Woollett Aquatics Center. CdM finished in second place in both genders.

But it was easy to see why the Sea Kings also go into next week's CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals with their collective heads held high.

CdM senior Brynne Wong was the girls' swimmer of the meet. She joined her club teammate with Aquazots, University's Corey Okubo, who was the boys' swimmer of the meet.

Wong certainly had a busy day. She broke her own school record in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing it in a lifetime-best and automatic All-American time of 23.34 seconds. She also broke the meet record of 23.37 from 2010.

Wong also won the 100 butterfly in another All-American time of 54.64, breaking her own meet record. It was her fourth straight year winning league in the event.

Okubo broke the Orange County record in the 200 individual medley in 1:48.02.

CdM also obliterated school records in both freestyle relays, besting the old mark by more than a second both times. Stephania Haralabidis, Ioanna Haralabidis, Stephanie Samudro and Wong won the 200 free relay in a meet-record 1:35.96, besting the 1:37.73 mark from last year. Ioanna Haralabidis, McCormick, Wong and Stephania Haralabidis won the 400 free relay in 3:29.99, easily topping the previous school record of 3:31.42 also set last year.

"Wow, this is just a good day for me," Wong said after she was announced as girls' swimmer of the meet. "I got first in all four of my events, with three new meet records, and my times were good too. [We'll] give some teams a run for their money, hopefully [at CIF]. The three who just joined the team this year, the Greeks and Stephanie, I wish they had come to our school sooner. But I'm happy to have them this season."

Samudro dropped four seconds from her preliminaries time to win the 200 individual medley in 2:06.64. She also won the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.64, and both times were personal-bests for the junior.

A funny moment occurred in the breaststroke, when the CdM coaching staff noticed that CdM assistant coach Stephanie Gabert holds the meet record of 1:03.07 from 2004. They gave Gabert a hard time, but that meet record stands for another year, though it could be broken next year by another Stephanie from Newport Beach.

"I didn't even know that was the record," Samudro said, smiling. "Hopefully next year I can try again."

It was the end of a good day for the CdM aquatics girls, as the water polo team received its CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship rings earlier Friday. One of the key members of that team, Stephania Haralabidis, finished a strong second in the 100 free (51.21) and third in the 100 back (58.23). Both were automatic Division 1 times. Third-place girls' finishers included McCormick in the 200 free (1:53.11, also a CIF automatic time), Ioanna Haralabidis in the 50 free (another automatic time of 24.28) and freshman Maddie Sanders in the 500 free (5:14.64).

Senior Christian Garkani led the CdM boys, winning the 200 free (1:41.37) and 100 free (45.95). And he also swam the anchor leg of the 400 free relay. Liam Karas, Tyler Lin, Richie Barden and Garkani touched in a meet-record 3:06.75.

Garkani, Lin, Justin Hanson and Blake Motal also won the 200 medley relay in 1:34.36.

Though the CdM boys finished second at league, they appear to have their eyes on the CIF finals, where they finished second last year.

"We're not too worried about it," Garkani said. "[Coach Barry O'Dea and I] have talked a lot about the CIF stuff. We're both on the same page that if [University] wins league, we're not that worried, because we'll step up at CIF with all of the other teams. Last year, he was really bummed when we lost league. He's still bummed this year, but he knows that we're where we need to be going into CIF."

Motal won the 50 free in 21.19, and Lin captured the 100 breast in 57.13. CdM also won the 200 free relay, where Motal, Jack Harryman, Barden and Karas touched in 1:26.20.

Karas was second in the individual medley (1:51.24) and third in the breast (57.47).

O'Dea was also pleased about the swims of some of his water polo players. Senior Kyle Trush won the consolation final in the butterfly (52.60), and Harryman finished fifth in the 50 free in 21.88. And Barden, who always seems to drop a lot of time at the end of the season, won the consolation final in both the 200 free and 100 free. He dropped more than three seconds from prelims in the 200 free, finishing in 1:44.54.

"We're going to lose the big meet," O'Dea said late in the meet, "but there's a lot of smaller victories for us."

The Division 1 preliminaries are Thursday at Riverside City College, with finals on May 11.

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