When the Mesa League swimmers of the year were announced at the conclusion of Monday’s league championship meet at the Loma Verde pool, Eastlake’s Kyle De Alva was likely the most surprised — actually, make that shocked — of all the swimmers on deck.
“I wasn’t expecting it — I’m only a junior!” he gushed after his name was called out as the Mesa League’s Male Swimmer of the Year.
Eastlake teammate Angelika Yngson, a freshman, earned honors as the league’s female swimmer of the year.
EHS head coach Steve Wiggs definitely got his share of congratulatory hugs from both Titan aquanauts.
De Alva finished the meet with three gold medals, including memorable victories in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events in which he posted personal records. He also swam a leg on the Titans’ victorious 200 freestyle relay team.
De Alva dropped nearly six seconds from his prelim time of 1:57.89 to win the 200 free in 1:52.18 — a scant 0.01 second in front of teammate Norbert Madero (1:52.19). De Alva dropped a whopping 13.31 seconds off his previous best to win the 500 free in 5:09.74 in front of teammate Alex Lopez (5:28.39).
Wiggs called De Alva’s performance a “pleasant surprise.”
“You never expect that big of a drop in times in a swim meet,” offered a giddy Wiggs, whose teams plowed past the competition to capture both the boys and girls team titles at Monday’s league finals.
The 200 free win obviously provided the best rush of the day for the junior EHS swimmer.
“I caught up to him the last 25 yards,” De Alva said. “He (Madero) was ahead of me the whole race but I caught up at the end — one-hundredth of a second to win.”
De Alva celebrated with both arms raised in the air after hitting the touch-pad to score his first individual league championship and then gave his teammate a hug, raising Madero’s hand in victory as well.
De Alva entered the 500 free seeded second to teammate Lopez by three seconds but won the event by a commanding margin of 18.5 seconds. Wiggs was hollering at the top of his lungs from the deck, pointing for De Alova to look at the scoreboard after touching the pad.
De Alva looked over and opened his mouth wide to add another exclamation point to his victory.
“I wanted to go out and swim really fast,” De Alva noted. “I started pacing myself ahead of Alex. I felt good and broke it out at the end. I was motivated by everyone cheering for me. I fed off that energy.”
Amazingly, right after getting out of the water from the marathon 500 freestyle event, De Alva was back in the water swimming a leg on the Titans’ victorious 4x50 freestyle relay team.
Eastlake’s foursome of De Alva, John Randazzo, Johnny Velazquez and Madero combined to clock 1:35.39 ahead of the 1:36.87 posted by runner-up Otay Ranch (1:36.87).
Yngson’s performance underscored that underclassmen indeed ruled the waves at this year’s league finals. She won the 200 individual medley in 2:15.64 and also captured first place in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.40) while swimming a leg on the Titans’ championship 4x100 freestyle relay team (3:57.49).
Two more frosh sensations — Otay Ranch’s Julie Parsons and Michelle Park — also notched impressive wins in Monday’s league finals. Parsons recorded an individual double in the 200 freestyle (2:02.07) and 100 backstroke (1:00.59) while Park grabbed top honors in the 500 freestyle (5:32.20).
For good measure, Park’s older sister Isabel, a sophomore, doubled in winning the 50 freestyle (26.13) and 100 butterfly (1:02.83).
If consolation awards were handed out, EHS senior Jimmy Jeffery might have been a leading candidate to receive one after securing four gold medals in Monday’s meet. Jeffery won the 50 freestyle (22.61) and 100 freestyle (50.91) and also swam legs on victorious Titan teams in the 200 medley (1:45.28) and 4x100 freestyle (3:32.44) relays.
Otay Ranch’s Gagarin, a sophomore, upset defending league champion Randazzo of Eastlake in the boys 200 IM with a time of 2:02.27 while finishing second to Randazzo in the 100 breaststroke.
Randazzo, the defending Division I champion in the 100 breaststroke, came back to win his specialty event in 1:02.39 to avenge the earlier loss to Gagarin. Randazzo also won gold medals as a member of the Titans’ 200 medley (1:45.28) and 200 freestyle relay squads.
Jana Miclat (girls 100 freestyle, 56.23) and Tristan Yam (boys 100 backstroke, 58.35) rounded out this year’s list of Eastlake’s Mesa League individual champions.
Yam was also a member of two winning relay teams — Eastlake’s gold medalist 200 medley and 400 freestyle squads — while Miclat also notched two relay wins for the Titans (200 medley and 400 freestyle).
Eastlake’s victorious girls 400 freestyle relay unit included Paola Rivas and Valerie Chin.
Nate Niehaus joined Yam, Jeffery and Madero on Eastlake’s boys championship 400 freestyle team while Alex Lopez joined Jeffery, Randazzo and Yam on the Titans’ championship 200 medley unit.
Making a splash
Monday’s league finals drew swimmers from Eastlake, Otay Ranch, Hilltop, Bonita Vista, Mater Dei Catholic and Olympian high schools. However, only swimmers from either Eastlake or Otay Ranch recorded first-place finishes in the meet to showcase the strength of those programs.
Sportsmanship awards went to Bonita Vista’s Bridgette Bordenauve (girls) and Otay Ranch’s Irbin Torrez (boys). Torrez captured the league title in the 100 butterfly (56.72) on Monday while Bordenauve finished third in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
Boys: 1. Eastlake 539 points; 2. Otay Ranch 407; 3. Hilltop 333; 4. Olympian 221; 5. Mater Dei Catholic 215; 6. Bonita Vista 100
Girls: 1. Eastlake 568 points; 2. Otay Ranch 531; 3. Bonita Vista 250.5; 4. Hilltop 240.5; 5. Mater Dei Catholic 78; 6. Olympian 75
Boys: 1. Darius Marguet (Hilltop) 127.6; 2. Josh Fischer (Hilltop) 124.3; 3. Ozkar Alvarez (Otay Ranch) 108.7; 4. Greg Giller (Otay Ranch) 100.6; 5. Matt Olimski (Otay Ranch) 76.8; 6. Jesus Martin (Otay Ranch) 73.45
Girls: 1. Kennedy Miranda (Hilltop) 186.6; 2. Jaqueline Zatarain (Hilltop) 114.7; 3. Kohler White (Hilltop) 110.1; 4. Mia Ballesteros (Hilltop) 106.75; 5. Brisa Garcia (Otay Ranch) 87.6; 6. Angelica Sandoval (Otay Ranch) 77.35; 7. Kimi Walker (Otay Ranch) 62.75
South Bay League
Boys: 1. Efren Rivera (San Ysidro) 147.3; 2. Cecilio Mendoza (Montgomery) 99.1; 3. Angel Rodriguez (San Ysidro) 94.55; 4. Isael Arciaga (San Ysidro) 76.15
Girls: 1. Dakotah Strother (Mar Vista) 116.33; 2. Lizbeth Crisanto (San Ysidro) 112.6; 3. Tatyana Garcia (Mar Vista) 99.15; 4. Chelsea Esquivel (San Ysidro) 78.75; 5. Lucero Torres (San Ysidro) 69.55
Divers of the Year
Boys: Josh Fischer (Hilltop)
Girls: Kennedy Miranda (Hilltop)
South Bay League
Boys: Efren Rivera (San Ysidro)
Girls: Dakotah Strother (Mar Vista)
Otay Ranch freshman Julie Parsons earned the No. 1 seed for Saturday’s Division I swim finals after notching the fastest time in the girls 100 backstroke (59.43) in Wednesday’s CIF prelims.