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Syrkin siblings power La Cañada swim teams to league titles

Syrkin siblings power La Cañada swim teams to league titles
La Cañada High's Danny Syrkin won the boys' 200-yard freestyle event during Friday's Rio Hondo League finals. (James Carbone)

PASADENA — The Syrkin siblings set shining standards at the Rio Hondo League Swimming Championships on Friday at Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.

Together, Danny Syrkin and Alexandra Syrkin earned a pair of individual league titles each and helped the La Cañada boys’ and girls’ teams earn their second consecutive league title.

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The La Cañada boys’ team entered the finals in first place in league with an undefeated dual-meet league record. The Spartans scored 486 points to win the championship for the second consecutive season over second-place San Marino (439) and third-place South Pasadena (355.50).

Despite sitting in second in league behind an undefeated San Marino girls’ team coming into Friday, La Cañada earned a share of the league title with San Marino by winning the meet. The Spartans tallied 459 points, while the Titans had 442 and South Pasadena’s had 323.

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It was yet another record-breaking championship meet for Danny Syrkin, a junior.

Syrkin broke a seven-year-old record with a 49.31-second finish in the 100-yard backstroke and added a 200 freestyle title with a CIF Southern Section Division II automatic qualifying time of 1:40.95.

“It was sort of about testing where I’m at right now in terms of rest and where my body is at heading into next week for CIF,” Syrkin said. “Quite honestly, the times were not exactly where I wanted to be, but it shows me that I’ve got a little more rest that I need to do for next week.

“My body right now is adjusting and rebuilding from all the intense training I’ve been doing throughout the season.”

He teamed up with Eddie Cosic, Thomas Hoffman and Chris O’Grady to break their own record in the 200 medley relay and retain the title in 1:33.18. The same quartet later broke the league record in the 200 freestyle relay with a 1:25.15 automatic mark.

“It’s a testament to the team atmosphere here,” Syrkin said. “Everybody kind of feeds off of everybody else. Once the energy gets going, it’s a lot easier to step up and race for your team.”

The Spartans boys (5-0 in league) won two other individual titles behind junior Joshua Kim with a CIF-automatic time in the 200 individual medley and senior Juan Grases in the 500 freestyle for an automatic mark of 4:44.54.

Kim added a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.18; consideration), Grases placed third in the 200 freestyle (1:46.22; consideration), O’Grady finished second in the 100 breaststroke (58.88; automatic) and 200 freestyle (1:45.20; consideration), Hoffman was second in the 100 butterfly (51.11; automatic), sophomore Stephen Badescu finished second in the 500 freestyle (4:51.48; consideration) and freshman Braden Beagle grabbed third in the 200 individual medley (1:57.42; automatic) and the 100 backstroke (52.48; automatic).

The La Cañada 400 freestyle relay team of Beagle, Kim, Hoffman and freshman Ryan Silva placed second behind San Marino in an automatic time of 3:13.14.

In the boys’ diving competition, La Cañada junior Tasuya Machida placed second with a CIF -automatic score of 495 and Spartans sophomore Ray Wipfli tallied an automatic score of 490.56 for third.

“It’s really exciting,” La Cañada boys’ swimming coach David Hill said. “It’s always really heartwarming to see all of the hard work over the whole year kind of paying off all at once, especially with all these kids who are in their last meet of the season.”

With a 3-2 record in the Rio Hondo League dual meets, the La Cañada girls’ team finished with a share of the league title with San Marino, which ended the regular season with a 5-0 mark.

“San Marino is phenomenally fast,” La Cañada girls’ swim coach Ernie Lee said. “We just need to do a better job to make sure we can score all the points we can during the dual meets. A lot of that has to do with our second, third and fourth-place finishers.”

Nevertheless, La Cañada sophomore Alexandra Syrkin won individual titles in the 200 freestyle (1:53.59; automatic) and the 100 butterfly (57.18; automatic) and teamed with Angeli Paull, Shannon Ring and Maddie Odell to capture the 400 freestyle relay title with a 3:39.20 automatic time.

“I just wanted to make sure I had fun, support my team and just do my best,” said Alexandra Syrkin said, who also combined with Odell, Ring and sophomore Isabella Caramaschi to finish second in the 200 medley relay for a consideration finish of 1:52.10.

Odell finished third in the 200 individual medley (2:17.35; consideration) and posted a consideration time 1:02.09 in the 100 backstroke, Ring took second in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.59; consideration), Caramaschi placed third in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.52; consideration) and freshman Mae O’Grady came in third for the 500 freestyle in 5:36.49.

The Spartans 200 freestyle relay team of Ring, Paull, Hailey Hemphil and Elise Trocker placed second with a consideration time 1:42.21.

Spartans sophomore Grace Lee scored 511.60 for first place and a CIF-automatic mark in the girls’ league diving competition.

“We had a lot of kids make consideration cuts for CIF,” Lee said. “We had some auto qualifiers in the relays, too, so it’s going to be a really competitive CIF.”

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