CV turns in 'disappointing' third place

LONG BEACH — One of their relays set a record in CIF Southern Section Division II.

One of their sophomores — Young Tae Seo — took home two individual titles and set a new benchmark in each event.

And one of their juniors — Louis Wojciechowski — captured a championship, and finished second in another race.

For a few members of the Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming team, Saturday's swimming and diving championships at the Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach were unforgettable.

For some other members, it was forgettable.

Despite winning four races and finishing second in two others, the Falcons still couldn't capture the team title. El Segundo improved on its times and positions in five events from Friday's preliminaries to win the division title with 236 points. Murrieta Valley took second with 218 points and CV was third with 217 points.

"We're all really sad," said Andrew De Jong, a member of the Falcon 200-yard medley relay team — including Harrison Thai, Seo and Wojciechowski — that won the second event of the championships in a record-breaking time of 1 minute 33.79 seconds.

"This was the best chance we had. It's really disappointing. We're sad we lost, but at least it was to a really good team. They had nowhere to go but up."

Falcon Coach Jan Sakonju was part mentor and part mathematician Saturday.

With each event, Sakonju received updates about where his team stood, compared to El Segundo.

He was pleased early with his relay's performance.

"Everybody on that team is so super competitive," Sakonju said. "They are all motivated individuals. They all have that competitiveness where they want to be faster than anybody. They need to be left alone and do what they do. I needed to stay away from them. They didn't need me to be micro-manager."

Sakonju was an amazed spectator when he watched Seo.

Seo won the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke in record-breaking times of 1:48.38 and 55.81, respectively.

"That's phenomenal," Sakonju said. "That's a legacy."

When asked what he attributed to the wins, Seo said, "my mentality, training and motivation."

Wojciechowski's goals included winning titles in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. He came away with one crown.

The top-seeded Wojciechowski finished second in the 200 freestyle in 1:39.14, losing to Ryan Makuta of El Segundo. A motivated Wojciechowski was not denied in the butterfly.

Despite trailing for a majority of the race, Wojciechowski beat out El Segundo's Jeffrey Allison 49.72 to 49.85.

"I tried to forget about [the 200 freestyle]," Wojciechowski said. "I was still upset about it, though. I just didn't want to lose two races."

The Falcons were driven to better last year's second-place finish in the division. But they quickly realized a determined El Segundo squad had improved when Makuta — whose time was the fourth-fastest mark at the prelims — bested Wojciechowski in the 200 freestyle. Makuta also won the 100 freestyle in 45.05.

Makuta's teammate, Jeffrey Allison, moved from fourth to second – and Thai dropped from first to third – in the 100 backstroke. Thai, the top seed entering the event, came in at 50.71.

"El Segundo swam much better," Sakonju said. "They took the championship. We didn't really lose it.

"The difficult thing is we were seeded first in so many events. That gave El Segundo the advantage because they could only move up."

Elsewhere in the boys' championship, Josh Chi of Crescenta Valley was sixth in the 100 freestyle in 47.20. Chi joined Jacob Ksendov, Rusty Blakey and De Jong in the consolation heat of the 200 freestyle relay, winning the race in 1:28.59.

CV's Josh Lo was seventh in the consolation of the 200 individual medley for the Falcons in 1:59.15.

Glendale High's Mickey Mowry was fourth in the 100 butterfly (50.24) and fifth in the 100 backstroke (52.08).

"I've been training for this the whole season," Mowry, a junior, said. "I'm very pleased with my performance. It motivates me to train harder for next year."

Alex Lambert of Burbank won the consolation heat of the 100 backstroke in 53.33. Lambert was third in the consolation race of the 200 freestyle in 1:42.85.

Chad Wilson of Burroughs was fifth in the consolation heat of the 100 backstroke in 54.45. Wilson was also fifth in the consolation event of the 100 butterfly in 52.95.

On the girls' side, Crescenta Valley freshman Iva Icheva finished third in the 100 backstroke in 59.13 and won the consolation heat of the 50 freestyle in 24.75.

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