LA CAÑADA — Flintridge Prep boys’ swimming captain Bruce Park admitted his team wasn’t expecting a victory Thursday when it hosted South Pasadena High, a CIF Southern Section Division I opponent.
Six races into the dual, the Rebels, who dropped to Division III this year, not only had hope for an upset, but an 18-point lead. The Tigers pulled as close as eight and 10 with one race to go, but were held off as Prep picked up a signature 93-77 win.
“It was really unexpected, we just all tried our best, tried to put everyone in their best events to get as many points as we could and I guess it worked out in the end,” Park said. “It was all down to the last [400-yard freestyle] relay, it could have gone either way.”
It was in the 400 free that the Rebels (3-0) not only took first — thanks to the relay team of Park, Marco Flores, Carlo Sivilotti and Gary Lee — but third to secure the win.
“We were reluctant to see how we would perform against a D-I team, but I am really proud of how the guys worked,” Flintridge Prep Coach Ryan Goto said. “I think today really showed what we’re capable of, and I think we’re capable of more.”
South Pasadena proved far too dominant on the girls’ side in a 119-32 victory. The Tigers (2-0) took three of the top-four spots in all eight of the individual events and swept first to third on five occasions.
The Rebels’ (0-3) lone victory and top-two individual finishes came in the 200 individual medley from Jennifer Langen, who finished in 2:20.3.
Flintridge Prep’s boys came out strong, as Park and Flores teamed with David Shin and Ethan Vandeventer for an opening victory in the 200-medley relay in 1:47.9. Park (1:53) and Gabriel Fernandez (1:58.14) then went first and third, respectively, in the 200 freestyle.
Prep went on to take two of the top three spots in the next three races to build a 56-38 lead.
Sivilotti (22.8) and Lee (23.7) took first and second, respectively, in the 50 free; Park (56.7) and William Newman (1:05) were then No. 1 and 3 to wall in the 100 butterfly before Sivilotti (52.4) and Kevin Chang (54.0) took the top two spots in the 100 free.
“This was a good chance to gauge where we’re at because we went down a division and today we were up against a big school,” Sivilotti said.
South Pasadena (1-1) then charged back into contention. It took second to fourth in the 500 free, which Fernandez won in 5:28.50; second and third in the 200-freestyle relay; first and second in the 100 back and first and third in the 100 breaststroke.
It was good enough to bring the Tigers, who trailed 76-64 after the backstroke, within 10, 83-73, going into the 400 relay.
“I don’t think people knew it would be this close, I don’t think people felt we were going to win, so it put a little pressure on us but I think it was the little push that the guys needed,” Goto said of the Tigers’ comeback attempt.
The Rebels also won the 200-freestyle relay in 1:35.80, thanks to Sivilotti, Lee, Chang and Vandeventer. Flores also took second in the 100 breast (1:03.80) and Fernandez took third in the 100 back (1:07).