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Foothill swim: The standard setters

Hwang matches a local legend and the Hart swim teams add to their legends at the league finals

Posted: May 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Valencia senior Bob Hwang swims the 100-yard butterfly on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center. Valencia senior Bob Hwang swims the 100-yard butterfly on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.
Valencia senior Bob Hwang swims the 100-yard butterfly on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.
Hart’s Nicole Antoniuk swims the 200-yard IM race. Hart’s Nicole Antoniuk swims the 200-yard IM race.
Hart’s Nicole Antoniuk swims the 200-yard IM race.

One team recorded a first.

Another saw its star do something only an Olympic gold medalist had done.

And at the end of the day, one program brought home Nos. 24 and 29.

Led by dual-champions Alex Ngan and Nicole Antoniuk, the deep Hart boys and girls swim teams clinched their 24th and 29th league titles, respectively, on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center to cap off a record-setting Foothill League finals.

The Indians bested second-place Valencia 527-468 in boys and 497-434 in girls, overcoming such Viking standouts as Bob Hwang.

Hwang was named the boys swimmer of the meet after winning his seventh and eighth individual league titles, making him a perfect 8-for-8 in his high school career. The only other boys swimmer to accomplish the feat was Hart's Anthony Ervin, who won gold in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Hwang never lost a race in Foothill League dual-meet competition, and Thursday he won the 200-yard individual medley in a league-record time of 1 minute, 53.71 seconds and the 100 butterfly in 49.59, also a new Foothill League record.

"It's an honor to be with an Olympian," Hwang said. "League is without a doubt the most exciting meet ever. Not even CIF can beat it."

Record-setting performances added credence to the sentiments and, combined with a deep roster with high point-scoring capability, they gave Hart the edge.

"The depth has been a key, but we have been fortunate enough to build it around a couple stars," said Hart head coach Steve Neale.

Ngan was one such swimmer. The senior won individual championships in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.09 and the 100 freestyle in 46.25. He was also a member the winning 200-medley relay team and record-setting 400-freestyle relay team (3:13.60) with Mitch and Matt Johnson and Griffin Scott.

"I knew the pressure was going to be on me because I was a team captain," Ngan said. "We just had to hold off Valencia for one more year, and we did it."

Vikings Stephen Haw and Dakota Miller each won league titles, claiming the 100 backstroke (53.71) and 100 breaststroke (1:01.32), respectively.

Both swimmers teamed with Hwang and Jack Kerchner to win the 200-freestyle relay (1:28.96)

West Ranch senior Riley Mita won his sixth and seventh individual titles, taking home the 200 freestyle (1:43.19) and 500 freestyle (4:36.02) after holding off the Johnson brothers.

Canyon's Matt Howard broke a 30-year-old record in the 200 IM (1:59.75) and set a new team mark in the 500 freestyle (4:49.25).

"Very happy," said Cowboys head coach Steve Himes. "The hard work we did throughout the season paid off."

On the girls' side, Antoniuk took home swimmer of the meet honors after winning the 200 IM (2:07.44) and breaking a 25-year-old record in the 500 freestyle (4:54.93). She also helped her team win the 200-medly and 200-freestyle relays.

"We just came here excited and ready to kick butt," Antoniuk said.

Teammate Hayley Good won the 100 freestyle (52.16), Megan Schultz took the 100 backstroke (58.26) and Asia Antoniuk won the 100 butterfly (57.27).

Good, Nicolette Barreiro, Bryana Waage and Sam Asencio combined to set a new league mark in the 200-freestyle relay, winning the event in 1:38.05.

Valencia's Micaela Velasquez defended her title in the 200 freestyle with a league-record 1:52.94.

West Ranch sophomore Taylor Poliseno was her team's first-ever individual champion, winning the 50 freestyle (24.12).

"A lot of people go to other schools because they are obviously faster than we are," Poliseno said. "Hopefully, the win will show that our program is as fast as they are."

Saugus' Caitlin Baker won the 100 breaststroke (1:07.97), followed by teammate Tara Olson less than a second later.

"Everyone really rallied around each other, and that's what I was looking for," said Centurions head coach Vicky Donnelly. "They swam to the potential I knew they had. It was a great end to the season, and now I'm looking forward to CIF next week."

Saugus took third in girls (320), followed by Canyon (283), West Ranch (191) and Golden Valley (85), while West Ranch placed third in boys (282), Canyon was fourth (253), Saugus finished fifth (173), and Golden Valley took sixth (107).

Grizzlies sophomore Drake Nelson won the boys diving title, beating defending champion Connor Ferris 443.75-395.50. Both divers automatically qualified for the CIF-Southern Section Division I meet.

West Ranch freshman Emma Simmonds won the girls championship with a score of 376.75, edging out Hart's Nadia Tseng (373.45) and Saugus' Katie Waschak (365.75).

Valencia won the girls JV swimming title, while Hart won in boys.



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