Crescenta Valley High swimming rewrites Pacific League record books

BURBANK — Young Tae Seo couldn't have left the Pacific League any better.

The dominant force on the Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming team the last four years wanted to leave a lasting impact on the league and he did just that, having a hand in setting three new league records — two individual and one relay — at league finals Thursday at Burbank High.

PHOTOS: Pacific League Swim finals

In his curtain call to the league, Seo left his name in the record books seven of the 11 league events when he swam the leadoff leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final race of the tournament. The senior swam the leadoff leg in 46.78 seconds, which beat a 1999 league record in the 100 freestyle.

“Part of his goal today was to achieve that and leave his mark,” Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said of Seo’s record-setting day.

The Falcons also went on to win the 400-free relay, which included senior Harrison Thai, Eric Park and Edward Yi, in 3:12.61.

“This race they really cap off a phenomenal career for both Young Tae and Harrison,” Sakonju said. “It’s bittersweet to see the last one, but we still have CIF to get ready for and look forward to.”

Seo also started the day on a dominant note when he teamed with Thai, Yi and Jacob Ksendov for a new standard in the 200-medley relay (1:35.98). It bested a mark Thai and Seo had helped set three years ago (1:37.80) by nearly two seconds.

“We’ve had great success at CIF and league is always a good gauge,” said Thai, who helped the Falcons take first in CIF Southern Section Division II last year, “and to beat the previous record by so much is a pretty good indicator we’re ready for CIF.”

Thai and Seo also each set an individual record, with Seo setting a new mark in the 100 butterfly (49.90) and Thai updating a record he’d set in 200 individual medley (1:51.29).

“It was an old one so we wanted to make a new record,” Seo said of the medley relay. “Every year, we always want to make new records and break old ones.”

Not far off from Seo’s seven league records is Thai with five. Seo had previously set the 500 freestyle (4:30.61 in 2011), 100 breaststroke (58.19 in 2011), 200-freestyle relay (1:26.19 in 2011 with Thai) and 400-freestyle relay records (3:10.06 in 2012 with Thai and Yi). Thai holds the 100 backstroke record (51.16 in 2012).

Crescenta Valley was equally as dominant as a team on both sides. The Falcons’ boys (623) distanced themselves from second-place Arcadia (402) by 221 points to capture the league championship outright, their 21st in a row.

“This streak is built on the shoulders of others,” Sakonju said. “Generation after generation has come here and performed like this consistently for over two decades now and carried on that tradition.”

CV’s girls has also won six in a row, wrapping up an outright title by a wide margin over runner-up Pasadena, 594-286.

“It’s been a pretty dominating run,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Brent Danna, who received two individual wins each from Iva Icheva and Heather MacDougall.

While the Falcons’ boys took home the most new league records, MacDougall was responsible for taking down two of the three longest-standing league records for the Crescenta Valley girls’ squad.

In her first taste of the league finals, the freshman shattered the oldest league record set back in 1982 in the 200 freestyle (1:54.74), as she just edged Pasadena High's Victoria Lepesant (1:51.87) with a personal-best time of 1:51.76. MacDougall than bested a record in the 100 breaststroke, which was tied for the second-oldest league record set in 1992, with a time of 1:05.23.

“What’s crazier is one could argue those are her off-events,” Danna said. “Talk about an impressive way to start out your high school career and we haven’t even gotten to CIF yet.”

The record-setting performances didn’t exactly come as a surprise for MacDougall.

“In the 100 breast, I just wanted to have fun with it,” said MacDougall, who racked up four wins on the day including relays. “I kind of knew me and Victoria would both be under the record [in the 200 free], I just didn’t know who would get it. It was really scary, but it was fun.”

When they weren’t making history, Thai and Seo were just winning. Thai and Seo added wins in the 100 backstroke (51.75) and 200 freestyle (1:40.33), respectively.

Ksendov added a pair for victories in the 50 freestyle (22.63) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.27). The Falcons swept the top three spots in the 50 free — with Stephen Woo (22.84) and Brian Dertli (23.03) taking second and third.

Park won the 100 freestyle in 49.83 for CV, which locked up the top four spots in the event with Eddie Gallehugh (49.89), Dertli (50.22) and Antonio Camarillo (50.54). Park, Camarillo, Woo and Ksendov also teamed up for another victory in the 200-freestyle relay in 1:30.98.

On the girls’ side, Icheva won both her individual races with automatic CIF qualifying times in the 50 freestyle (24.93) and 100 backstroke (51.75).

Tiare Coker also won the 100 butterfly (57.24) and was runner-up in the 500 freestyle (5:10.15) for the Falcons, who swept the relays.

Icheva, Coker, Caitlin Connell and MacDougall just missed a record by .36 of a second in the 200-freestyle relay (1:42.80). Icheva, Katie Benson, Gabby Granados and Jesse Gabor won the 200-medley relay in 1:55.92, just missing a Division II automatic time (1:55.50), and Coker, Samantha Kohn, Alyssa Nguyen and MacDougall also won the 400-freestyle relay in 3:42.82.

Maddie Corpuz was fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:29.10) and 100 butterfly (1:06.68) for Glendale High, which took sixth on the girls’ and boys’ sides.

Both Hoover teams took seventh with top individual finishes coming from Jason Barbar, who took seventh and eighth in the 500 (5:17.86) and 200 freestyle (1:55.12), respectively.

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