Falcons swim to three Masters titles

IRVINE — It was no secret.

Some swimmers in Tuesday's CIF Southern Section Swimming and Diving Masters Meet had already peaked last week in their respective division finals.

Other top performers — with nothing left to prove — decided not to participate or to only focus on relay events to swim with their teammates one last time.

For the Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming contingent, winning was all that mattered, especially for the ambitious Young Tae Seo.

Seo capped his record-breaking sophomore campaign with three titles, adding to his long list of Pacific League and CIF Southern Section II crowns.

Seo took the 200-yard individual medley in 1 minute 50.35 seconds and was part of the 200-medley relay and 400-freestyle relay teams that won their races in 1:35.58 and 3:10.51, respectively, at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.

"My mindset is to always win," said Seo, who joined Harrison Thai, Andrew De Jong and Louis Wojciechowski in the 200-medley relay, in addition to finishing second in the 100 backstroke (56.93). "I hate to lose."

It didn't matter to Seo or his teammates that their times were slower than the marks they posted Saturday, when the Falcons placed third in the Division III final at Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach. They just wanted to earn their medals at Tuesday's meet.

"They are always going to push themselves," Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said.

The Falcons pushed themselves when everyone else wanted to be home and out of the cold in the final event of the evening. Despite being seeded second, the Falcons' quartet of Wojciechowski, Thai, Seo and Josh Chi bested El Segundo and ended their season with a first-place finish in the 400-freestyle relay.

"They are battling the cold, they showed up at school at 7 a.m. and were all working on 13-hour days," Sakonju said. "They have homework to do, too.

"To have the championship [in the 400 freestyle relay] is impressive."

The Falcons had other impressive finishes. Thai was second in the 200-individual medley (1:52.82) and third in the 100 backstroke (53.10 seconds). Falcons freshman Josh Lo was 18th in the 200 individual medley (2:05.47).

Wojciechowski was second in the 200 freestyle (1:40.45) and Chi was 13th in the 100 freestyle (48.38).

Crescenta Valley's 200-freestyle relay team of Chi, De Jong, Rusty Blakey and Jacob Ksendov won its heat, placing fifth overall, in 1:28.09.

The Falcons looked back on a memorable season.

"We were undefeated in our dual meets and undefeated in league," De Jong said. "It could have been better of we won CIF, but you can't have everything.

"Overall, it was a good season."

Added Sakonju: "We broke seven league records and we had several school records. We did a lot this season. This was one of the best swimming seasons."

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