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Razzle-dazzle CIF swim champions: Randazzo, Parsons out-touch foes Phillip Brents | Fri, May 30 2014 04:33 PM

The Otay Ranch High School wim team has its first San Diego Section champion in the guise of freshman Julie Parsons, who swam to a personal best — and school record — time of 58.43 seconds to win the girls 100-yard backstroke event at last Saturday’s Division I championship meet at Granite Hills High School.

She was the only individual female medalist from the Mesa League in Saturday’s CIF finals, but shared the spotlight with Eastlake senior John Randazzo, who secured the rights to his second consecutive Division I title in the boys 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.62.

Parsons, a multi-event standout at both the high school and club levels (she swims for South Bay Aquatics during the prep off-season), posted CIF-qualifying times this season in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 500 freestyle, and the 100 backstroke. She went undefeated all season, winning the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke events at the league finals on May 19.

Otay Ranch coach Ernie Medina noted only three boys and two other girls have medaled in an individual finals event at the annual CIF championship meet since the start of the program in 2004. 

Mike Kowalski and Victor Robles both earned second-place medals while Sarah Medina, the coach’s daughter, earned a pair of sixth-place medals.

“So this is a big record for Julie,” the Mustang coach emphasized.

Medina further noted that by the time Parsons graduates from the east side Chula Vista school that she may very well break seven of the eight individual event school records.

“After her swim I asked her, ‘Do you know how big this is?’” Medina said. “Julie smiled and said, ‘I could have swam faster and wait until water polo season!’”
 
Above the rest
Randazzo shocked the field by winning last year’s CIF breaststroke finals while swimming in the outside lane; he entered Saturday’s division finals with the third-seeded prelim time but out-touched Carlsbad’s Thomas Linker by nearly 1.5 seconds for the win.

Randazzo’s winning time of 57.62 bettered his prelim time (1:00.00) as well as his winning time from last year (58.54).

At the onset of the season, the EHS senior standout said he had “set a goal of defending my title” as well as setting a section record in the process.

“That would be so cool,” he said.

Randazzo came close. The section record remains at 56.38, set in 1999 by Rancho Buena Vista’s Quentin Byma.
Randazzo won three gold medals at this year’s league finals, including the 100 backstroke, to go along with medals in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.

He failed to defend his league championship in the 200 IM, losing to Otay Ranch sophomore Ryan Gagarin, and apologized for not doing so.

However, Randazzo more than made up for that runner-up finish after winning his second consecutive CIF gold medal.
“CIF is the greatest swim meet you can participate in (in high school),” said Randazzo, who will continue his career at the collegiate level at UC Santa Barbara. “It’s a new level of intensity. All the swimmers are experienced.”

Making a splash
Metro Conference qualifiers for this year’s Division I finals may have been few, but they were strong on the talent side.
Eastlake’s Jimmy Jeffery, a four-event gold medalist at the league finals, finished fourth in the boys 50 freestyle (22.06).

The Titans also qualified for the finals in the boys 200 medley relay, placing a meteoric third with a season best time of 1:40.43; Eastlake placed fifth in the girls 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:44.90.

Jeffery recorded first-place finishes in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events at the Mesa finals and also swam legs on Eastlake’s victorious 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Jeffery called it a “great honor” to finish out his league career as a four-time gold medalist.

The Mustangs had several CIF consolation finals qualifiers.

The girls 200 medley relay team finished ninth while the boys 200 medley relay team finished 11th. Also, Otay Ranch’s girls 200 freestyle relay team finished 11th.

Among individuals, Gagarin finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke and 11th in the 200 IM while Isabel Park placed ninth in the 50 freestyle.

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