BURBANK — In Pacific League swimming, history has tended to repeat itself, and this season that trend continued.
At the league finals on Thursday, both the girls’ and boys’ teams from Crescenta Valley High were able to hold off strong Arcadia squads to successfully defend their league titles at Burbank High.
On the girls’ side, Crescenta Valley won the crown with 502 points, as Arcadia was second with 469.50. It is the Falcons’ 12th straight league title.
“Coming in, we expected a very close meet against Arcadia. They have some big-time young swimmers coming up,” Falcons girls’ coach Peter Kim said. “We said from the get-go, ‘No mistakes. We’re going to swim hard and see how we end up,’ and it worked out for us.”
On the boys’ side, the Falcons came out on top with 685.50 points. Arcadia took second place with 614. With the win, Crescenta Valley has now won 26 of the last 27 league titles.
“We knew it was going to be tough. Arcadia is such a talented team,” Falcons boys’ coach Jan Sakonju said. “Competition is not as meaningful unless you have a great opponent.”
In total, the combined girls’ and boys’ efforts from Crescenta Valley netted 16 of the 22 contested titles. Arcadia earned five wins. Burroughs broke up the two-school stranglehold with one win thanks to two-time defending All-Area Girls’ Swimmer of the Year Maya Wilson, who won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.58 seconds.
“The fly was just laying loose and going as fast as I can. It was a fun race,“ Wilson said.
Four league championship records were also lowered, three of them by the Falcons and one from the Arcadia girls’ 200 freestyle relay.
The Falcons girls had four swimmers win multiple events. Leading the way was Jungmin Yoon. The freshman won all four races she entered. She won as part of the 200 medley relay team and the 400 freestyle relay team. She took home individual honors in the 200 freestyle (1:52.13) and was victorious in the 100 backstroke (time not available).
Gabriela Icheva and Kimmy Park captured three titles apiece. Both were members of the winning entry in the relay races Individually, Icheva outdualed Wilson to win the 500 freestyle (4:57.31).
“I had been hoping for a drop [in time]. I really wanted to break five minutes,” Icheva said. “It’s been a goal of mine for a really long time.”
Park won the 100 freestyle (53.07), leading the entire race.
Falcons senior Miya Higuchi took home two first-place medals as part of both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
In the boys’ portion of the meet, Crescenta Valley also had four swimmers win multiple events. Both William Blake and Andre Yarcan were perfect, taking first in all four events they swam. Both were members of the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
Blake, a senior, added victories in the 200 freestyle (1:44.26) and set a new record in the 100 freestyle (46.82), breaking James Jenkins’ meet mark that had stood since 1999.
“It felt really good,” Blake said said of his record-setting performance. “I took it out pretty long and my stroke felt pretty connected and really strong when I stroked.”
Yarcan first won the 100 (50.47) and the 100 breaststroke, as the senior set a new Pacific League record in 57.17.
“Going into [the 100 breaststroke] I was a little scared that I wasn’t going to break the record, but I just put my head down and didn’t worry about the time,” Yarcan said. “It actually really happened and I’m really happy with it.”
In an event that saw the Falcons take the top two spots, Falcons Joshua Jeong won the 200 individual medley (1:58.69).
Both Harrison Blake and Karl Puttler won three events as members of the 400 individual medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams. Blake won the 500 freestyle (4:39.05) and Puttler won the 100 breaststroke (55.73).
The 200 freestyle relay also went the way of Crescenta Valley in 1:31.30. The group consisted of Joshua Huang, Joshua Mar, Christian Lowe and Brandon Cheung.
The Falcons started with a bang by winning the first four races of the meet. It began with Crescenta Valley setting a new league record on the way to a win in the girls’ 200 medley relay. The team of Yoon, Icheva, Higuchi and Park set a new mark of 1:48.09.
The Falcons boys followed with another win, taking the 200 medley relay with a winning time of 1:37.71.
The Falcons also finished strong, taking the final two events of the meet. The girls took the 400 freestyle relay by a length of the pool in a time of 3:34.59. The boys won their 400 freestyle relay in 3:15.13.
Burroughs finished third on the girls’ side with 272 points and fifth in the boys with 254. Burbank was third on the boys’ side with 309 points and fourth on the girls with 173.50. Hoover placed fourth in boys with 290 points and sixth in the girls with 148.50 points. Glendale was fifth in the girls with 165 points and seventh on the boys’ side with 137 points.
“In a meet like this, it is a team win,” Sakonju said.
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