Crescenta Valley swimming takes down rival, picks up title

ARCADIA — Each year the Crescenta Valley High swim teams look forward to their dual meet with Pacific League rival Arcadia.

While the Falcons can usually count on the Apaches giving them their stiffest competition in league, it's not to say it's dramatic. Crescenta Valley dominated on both sides in its league dual meet finale Tuesday at Arcadia, as the Falcons boys and girls posted 114-56 and 119-51 victories, respectively.

“There's that ongoing rivalry, Arcadia is still a quality team,” Crescenta Valley boys' Coach Jan Sakonju said. “They pushed our [junior varsity teams] today and they pushed us, too. We had to swim hard to do what we need to do. That rivalry match brings a little extra incentive.”

The wins ensure both Falcons squads will be at least co-champions in the Pacific League coming into the league finals May 2 at Burbank High, as each finish the regular season with identical league records of 6-1-1, 5-0 in league.

Crescenta Valley's boys, who won a share of their 21st straight league title, used Tuesday as a chance to prepare for the league and CIF Southern Section Division II meets.

The Falcons intentionally spread things out Tuesday, as no one won more than one individual event. CV's star seniors, Young Tae Seo and Harrison Thai, did win an individual event each and at least one relay, while Eddie Gallehugh had his hand in two relay victories and the 100-yard freestyle (50.43 seconds).

With automatic CIF Southern Section Division II times already in place for Thai and Seo, Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju used them to push their teammates to getting CIF times and stepping into a bigger role.

“They know how fast they need to go so well that they were pacing some of their teammates to try and pull them in,” Sakonju said of Thai and Seo. “That's the other nice thing, our guys are encouraging the guys who are not always in the spotlight to try and get them to go to that next level.”

The meet started with Seo and Thai just edging their teammates.

Seo (1:53.86) picked up a narrow win over Gallehugh (1:54.40) in the 200 freestyle.

Thai then just edged teammate Eric Park (2:02.88) in the 200 individual medley (2:02.82). Thai (23.05) was then knocked off in the 50 freestyle by Jacob Ksendov, who took first in 23.03.

Edward Yi won the 100 butterfly in 54.53 with Hyunsung Kim (57.36) and Parker Griffin (59.10) taking second and fourth for CV. Gallehugh rebounded from his runner-up finish with a victory in the 100 freestyle (50.43). The Falcons took the top-three spots in that race with Park taking second in 50.88 and Stephen Woo taking third (51.90). Andrew Lockwood took the 500 freestyle in 5:01.34 for Crescenta Valley, which had Griffin win the 100 backstroke (1:02.93).

“We're definitely going to go in hard in league and we're very confident we might win. … It feels good, it really does set it up,” said Griffin of going undefeated in duals. “We know it's another road block out of the way and it goes more confidence to go forward.”

The Falcons also swept all three relays. Thai, Seo, Yi and Antonio Camarillo won the 200-medley relay in 1:42.70, Park, Gallehugh, Seo and Ksendov took the 200-freestyle relay (1:33.43) and Yi, Camarillo, Gallehugh and Park won the 400-freestyle relay in 3:28.87.

The CV girls, who have now won seven straight league titles, won nine of 11 events took three of the top-four spots in seven of eight individual races Tuesday.

“We've stormed through all the meets, even against D-I schools,” CV junior Iva Icheva said. “It's been challenging, but we really used it to push ourselves. It feels great to come out on top, it feels like all that training, all those hours, all those mornings have been paid off.”

Icheva won two individual races for Crescenta Valley, taking the 50- and 100-yard freestyles in 25.54 and 55.90, respectively. Icheva also teamed with Cameron Campbell, Katie Benson and Tiare Coker for a win in the 200-freestyle relay (1:47.83) and Jesse Gabor, Sam Kohn and Alyssa Nguyen for another victory in the 400-freestyle relay (3:55.25).

It's the Falcons freshmen duo of Coker and Heather MacDougall, who combined for four individual wins, that have them poised to stretch their league title streak out over the next few years.

“Hopefully this continues the next four yeas,” said MacDougall, who won the 200 individual medley (2:16.83) and 100 backstroke (1:01.63). “The girls should definitely be good for the next four years or so because we have a whole bunch of swimmers from Rose Bowl [Aquatics} and we even have a couple of eighth graders coming in who are on club, too.”

Coker took the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle with times of 1:00.23 and 2:02.18, respectively. The Falcons’ other wins came from Elissa Arnold in the 500 freestyle (5:53.92) and their 200- and 400-freestyle relay teams.

“The team may be stronger in terms of the individuals we're taking to CIF, but I think it has the same depth and spirit as last year. We've stayed the same, on good terms,” Icheva said. “I think next year is going to be our strongest year in a really long time.”

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