The Metro Conference finals on May 14 proved to be an appropriate launching pad for the South County’s elite swimmers at last Saturday’s (May 21) San Diego Section swimming championships at Del Norte High School.
In the Division I boys finals, Eastlake junior Luca Casimiro earned a second-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley (1:55.13) while Otay Ranch senior Mike Kowalski finished second in the 50 freestyle (21.58). Casimiro (50.63)and Kowalski (53.00) went on to finish third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 butterfly.
Bonita Vista's Anthony Ribal finished third in the boys 100 butterfly in 1:00.43. Ribal has won the last two Mesa League titles in the event.
Eastlake senior Justine Maher, the 2011 girls Mesa League Swimmer of the Year, finished fifth in the 50 freestyle (24.57) and sixth in the 100 freestyle (53.89).
Eastlake finished fifth in the boys 200 medley relay (1:41.32) while Eastlake senior Ian Muhlbach (100 freestyle, 49.03) and Otay Ranch’s Juan Robles (100 backstroke, 56.34) both finished sixth in their individual events.
Casimiro, the 2011 boys Mesa League Swimmer of the Year, got his start in competitive swimming after watching American star Michael Phelps on television in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
“I had been swimming in a YMCA program and when I told my parents I wanted to go to the Olympics, they put me in a club program,” he said. “I love competing. The adrenaline rush on the blocks is what gets me.”
Torrey Pines won the Division I boys and girls team titles.
In the boys meet, the Falcons finished ahead of La Costa Canyon, Granite Hills, Rancho Bernardo, Vista and Scripps Ranch. In the girls finals, Torrey Pines finished ahead of Carlsbad, Rancho Bernardo, La Costa Canyon, Granite Hills and Poway.