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Metro swimmers, divers make a splash at league finals Phillip Brents | Fri, May 14 2010 02:01 PM

Hilltop High swim coach John Salts pretty much had last Friday's Metro Conference diving championship meet at the Parkway pool scoped out. He knew his divers would place high in the meet. The only uncertainty was in which order they would finish.

Ashley Relph led a trio of Lancers at the top of the Mesa League girls finals while senior Leo Diaz de Leon out-pointed teammate Shane Garvin for the Mesa League boys title.

Both Relph and Diaz de Leon earned honors as the league's female and male divers of the year. The award was the third consecutive for Diaz de Leon and the first for Relph, who admitted having butterflies before the competition.

"I was really nervous ... I didn't know if I would do well," she said. "I calmed down once the competition started and broke though it. I was shocked and excited, especially about getting the diver of the year award. I want to get down my double for CIF and good DDs (degree of difficulties) for CIF."

Relph totaled a league-best 153.60 points - nearly 10 points better than the CIF consideration mark. Teammates Briana Reef (128.4 points) and Marissa Ringwald (127.8 points) followed in second and third place, respectively, ahead of Otay Ranch's Zully Maldonado (fourth, 119 points) and Bonita Vista's Carlin Riley (fifth, 117.8 points).
Ringwald was last year's league champion.

The Mesa League girls field included eight divers. Otay Ranch's Vanessa Joeckel was sixth, followed by Hilltop's Ashley Johnson in seventh place and Bonita Vista's Jessica Osuna in eighth place.

Johnson was considered one of the favorites to win the league title but lost valuable points when she was judged with a failed dive. Without the failed dive, she would likely have finished in second place.

Salts said the degree of difficulty on more intricate dives likely worked to the advantage of his divers in the boys competition. Hilltop placed three of the top four divers in the meet. Diaz de Leon won the 12-deep league field with 159.2 pints, followed by Garvin with 147.2 points. Chula Vista's Johnny Hewuse was just 0.15 points behind in third place with 147.05 points while Lancer sophomore Aaron Siaumau was fourth with 140.1 points.

Six of the 12 Mesa League divers scored more than 100 points. Otay Ranch's Carlo Fiorillo recorded 137.1 points while Chula Vista's Spencer Lavy finished with 108.5 despite being charged with a failed dive.

Fiorillo's return to the diving board was an inspirational story in itself after he had to drop out of competition for a year while recovering from delicate brain surgery.

Rounding out the boys field were Bonita Vista's Isaac Metta (seventh, 98.85 points), Hilltop's Jason Jasmund (eighth, 95.45 points), Otay Ranch's Jon Mercado (ninth, 83.9 points) and Abrahan Mercado (10th, 66.95 points) and Bonita Vista's Zev Bimstein (11th, 53.8 points) and Alex Salomon (12th, 52.3 points).

The Hilltop divers were clearly the ones to beat.

"Leo and Shane added a couple of dives with higher degree of difficulties - I think that was probably the biggest difference that got them to finish at the top," Salts said. "Johnny Hewuse of Chula Vista was right there if either of them faltered."

Hilltop has qualified seven divers (four girls, three boys) for the upcoming section finals May 21 at Mesa College.

"We really focus on CIF as the meet we want to peak at because it's the end of the season," Salts said. "We consider the Metro finals another stepping stone to CIF."

Mar Vista junior Michelle McDonald won the South Bay League title with a conference-best 173 points while Southwest's Marlo Villanueva won the South Bay League boys dive title with 94.9 points.

Both were also named South Bay League divers of the year for their season-long performance.

McDonald finished ahead of Olympian's Kelly Clemmons (128 points) and MV teammates Amy Musick (122.2 points) and Maxine Hanson (110.5 points).
The league title is the third consecutive for McDonald, who credited hard work for her success.

"I focus on the dives and try to forget about the other competitors," she said. "It's one dive at a time."

McDonald set school records this season for six dives (197.5 points) and 11 dives (311.95 points).

MV dive coach Dan Kovar lauded her effort.

"She was a swimmer first before she was a diver," he said. "Considering that, she's done very well for herself."

The diving competition proved to be just a springboard for McDonald, who went on to win three gold medals at the league swim finals the following day at the Loma Verde pool. McDonald won the 500 freestyle event as well as anchoring Mar Vista's victorious 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

In fact, McDonald was one of four Mariners to win four gold medals at last weekend's girls finals.

South Bay League
Joining McDonald with heavy hardware were teammates Harlene Lopez (first in the 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke and 200 and 400 freestyle relays), Natasha MacAskill (100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 200 and 400 freestyle relays) and Cassandra Myers (50 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 and 400 freestyle relays).

Lopez was named South Bay League female Swimmer of the Year while Olympian's Daniel Zamora was named the league's male swimmer of the year.

Zamora captured individual first-place finishes in the 200 and 500 freestyle events.
Mariner coach Sue Czerwiec said it was the first time in her long coaching career at MVHS that she had four girls win four gold medals in the league finals.

Mar Vista out-pointed runner-up Olympian, 647.5-365, for first-place bragging rights at Saturday's meet. Southwest finished third with 235 points.

In the boys meet, the Mariners out-pointed Southwest, 559-292.5, as Justin Patacsil took individual firsts in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke. MVHS also won all three relay events while Thomas Castillo won the 100 freestyle.

The Mariners won 10 of the 11 girls swimming events (11 of 12 overall, including diving) and six boys swim events.

Other SBL champions included Olympian's Kimberly Parra (girls 200 freestyle), Mike Kunzweiler (boys 100 backstroke), San Ysidro's Armondo Inzunza (boys 200 IM) and Montgomery's Raphael Escobar (boys 50 freestyle).

Mesa League
Eastlake senior Andrea Voigt and Otay Ranch junior Mike Kowalski received awards as the Mesa League's swimmers of the year.

Voigt repeated as league champion in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events while Kowalski repeated as league champion in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Voigt won four gold medals by also anchoring the Titans' victorious 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Kowalski won a gold medal as a member of the Mustangs' 200 freestyle relay.

Both are expected to do very well at the section swim finals May 22 at Coronado High School.

Voigt finished second at last year's Division I finals in the 100 freestyle and third in the 200 freestyle while swimming legs on the team's CIF record-setting 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

"It was amazing to be a part of those records," she said. "It's been great my four years at Eastlake. Bryan Monzon has been a great coach and everyone on the team has been so supportive. What's also made it fun is that we have a large team."

Kowalski finished third at last year's Division I finals in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 50 freestyle. Entering this week's CIF prelims, he remains undefeated in this season, including at the countywide level. "I want to train hard and get some good yardage in and feel good (for CIF)," he said.

EHS's Justine Maher matched Voigt with four gold medals in the girls meet while Titan senior Jason DeMoss won four gold medals in the boys meet.

Maher won the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly individual events while also swimming legs on the Titans' winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

DeMoss repeated as league champion in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke while swimming legs on Eastlake's 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. "I really started working hard after my freshman year," said DeMoss, a four-year varsity swimmer. "I wanted to see what I was capable of."

The Titans were dominant in the girls meet while winning seven of the 11 swimming events to out-point runner-up Otay Ranch 533-441. The teams finished in that order in the dual meet season.

Other Mesa League girls swim champions included Chula Vista's Lidia Espinoza (200 IM), Otay Ranch's Sarah Medina (500 freestyle), Mater Dei Catholic's Giselle Suarez (100 backstroke) and Bonita Vista's Monique Beltran (100 breaststroke).

Eastlake's boys also won seven of the 11 swimming events at Saturday's finals to out-point runner-up Otay Ranch 520-389. The Mustangs were missing four swimmers from their league championship dual meet squad.

EHS individual boys champions included Nick Garduno (200 IM) and Eric Hum (100 backstroke).

Bonita Vista's Anthony Ribal won individual double gold medals in the boys 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.

Eastlake's champion boys 200 medley relay unit included Hum, Garduno, DeMoss and Ian Muhlbach. Roberto Villafana joined Hum, DeMoss and Muhlbach on the Titans'  winning 400 freestyle relay.

The EHS girls have finished among the top four teams at the Division I finals the last four years. "It's going to be hard to compare to last year's team (paced by graduated superstars Jacquie Kimmel and Taylor Stoddard) but, from the start of the season, we've made huge improvement," Monzon said.


Mesa League Parade of Champions
Boys winners

200 medley relay: Eastlake (Nick Garduno, Eric Hum, Jason DeMoss, Ian Muhlbach) 1:59.86
200 freestyle: Jason DeMoss (Eastlake) 1:51.48
200 individual medley: Nick Garduno (Eastlake) 2:09.15
50 freestyle: Mike Kowalski (Otay Ranch) 21.95
Diving: Leo Diaz de Leon 159.2 points
100 butterfly: Mike Kowalski (Otay Ranch) 55.15
100 freestyle: Anthony Ribal (Bonita Vista) 50.17
500 freestyle: Jason DeMoss (Eastlake) 4:58.98
200 freestyle relay: Otay Ranch (Nestor Noyola, Christian Valadez, Matthew Switzer, Mike Kowalski) 1:36.98
100 backstroke: Eric Hum (Eastlake) 1:02.07
100 breaststroke: Anthony Ribal (Bonita Vista) 1:04.13
400 freestyle relay: Eastlake (Jason DeMoss, Eric Hum, Roberto Villafana, Ian Muhlbach) 3:31.31
Team points: 1. Eastlake 520, 2 . Otay Ranch 389, 3. Hilltop 353, 4. Bonita Vista 295, 5. Mater Dei Catholic 270, 6. Chula Vista 64

Girls Winners
200 medley relay: Eastlake (Aabra Ahmed, Simone Banks, Jessica Moreno, Kelsey Schauer) 1:59.86
200 freestyle: Andrea Voigt (Eastlake) 1:55.18
200 individual medley: Lidia Espinoza (Chula Vista) 2:18.82
50 freestyle: Justine Maher (Eastlake) 25.32
Diving: Ashley Relph (Hilltop) 153.6 points
100 butterfly: Justine Maher (Eastlake) 1:01.71
100 freestyle: Andrea Voigt (Eastlake) 53.40
500 freestyle: Sarah Medina (Otay Ranch) 5:26.65
200 freestyle relay: Eastlake (Josselyn Molina, Simone Banks, Andrea Voigt, Justine Maher) 1:42.94
100 backstroke: Giselle Suarez (Mater Dei) 1:03.37
100 breaststroke: Monique Beltran (Bonita Vista) 1:11.08
400 freestyle relay: Eastlake (Aabra Ahmed, Josselyn Molina, Justine Maher, Andrea Voigt) 3:45.40
Team points: 1. Eastlake 533, 2. Otay Ranch 441, 3. Hilltop 389, 4. Bonita Vista 161, 5. Chula Vista 150, 6. Mater Dei Catholic 129

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