Steve Wiggs returns as head coach of the Eastlake High School swim team after a two-year absence. The Titans have not lost much momentum during that time.
Eastlake captured the girls team title while the boys finished runner-up at the Ben Hedberg Granite Hills Invitational on March 16.
It was a suitable welcome back present for Wiggs.
“It was the first time this season they realized their training is coming together,” Wiggs said proudly. “Team chemistry is a huge thing for this team.”
This year’s junior varsity and varsity squad currently numbers about 80 swimmers. There’s quite a bit of talent assembled on the deck.
Freshman Emily Lundgren earned the most valuable swimmer award at the Granite Hills meet after winning the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.97) and 200 individual medley events (2:09.71). She also swam legs on the Titans’ two victorious relay teams — 1:55.25 in the 200 medley and 3:45.11 in the 400 freestyle.
She set one school record and one meet record on the day.
“It was really unreal,” explained Lundgren, the younger sister of recent EHS grad Elisabeth Lundgren. “I didn’t expect I’d get it. I was full of excitement; I was in shock.”
The younger Lundgren has been swimming competitively since age seven with the South Bay Aquatics club team that recently won the team title at the San Diego-Imperial Swimming Short Course Junior Olympic championship meet.
Her goal is to qualify for May’s high school state championship meet as a freshman.
She labeled talent and hard work as her defining attributes. “I try my best every single day,” she said.
Eastlake has won both gender titles at the last five Mesa League championship meets.
Wiggs said the team’s ongoing success shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“There’s a lot of solid swimmers in this area,” Wiggs underscored. “Our goal is to get back to Eastlake swim and dive being able to compete for championship titles and continue the tradition.”
Eastlake swept both ends of its Mesa League dual meet against Hilltop March 21 at the Southwestern College pool. The Titan boys won 123-57 while the EHS girls recorded a wider 140-43 victory.
On the girls side, Eastlake recorded first-place finishes in all 12 events.
Emily Lundgren won the 50 freestyle (24.91) and 500 freestyle (5:18.09) events while Cecilia Hagewood won the 200 freestyle (2:08.57) and 100 butterfly (1:05.09) events.
Hagewood is the defending Mesa League champion in the 100 breaststroke and the runner-up in the 100 freestyle. She won the 50 freestyle in 25.30 at the Granite Hills meet while placing second (to Lundgren) in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.38).
Mirsha Lora won the 100 freestyle (56.87) and 100 backstroke (1:06.75) events. Aranza Martha (1:18.40) won the 100 breaststroke while Pia Davila emerged victorious in the 200 IM event.
Davila finished second in 1:02.83 in the backstroke event at the Granite Hills meet.
Davila won last year’s league title in the 200 IM and was second in the 100 butterfly.
The Titans won all three relay events, sweeping the 200 medley (1:58.72), 200 freestyle (1:46.63) and 400 freestyle (4:10.97).
Jessie Roland won the girls dive competition with 148.85 points. She finished in fifth place at last Saturday’s Mt. Carmel Invitational with 151.0 points.
On the boys side, the Titans recorded first-place finishes in 10 of the 12 events.
Emilio Camarillo and Aaron Medina each won two individual events.
Camarillo timed 1:54 to win the 200 freestyle and 1:03 to win the 100 backstroke, while Medina timed 23.38 in the 50 freestyle and 50.41 in the 100 freestyle.
Nate Bjornstad, the defending Mesa League 100 breaststroke champion, won the 200 IM in 2:09 while Colby Hughes won the 100 butterfly in 58.75.
Sebastian Lanswick (1:11) and Jeremy Redden (1:12) finished first and second in the 100 breaststroke.
Redden was second to Camarillo in the 200 freestyle in 2:02 while Hughes finished second to Bjornstad in the 200 IM in 2:11.
Skylar Kinney (51.91) finished second in the 100 freestyle while Diego Scheitt (1:07.63) was second in the 100 butterfly.
The Titans swept all three relay events, winning the 200 medley in 1:48, the 200 freestyle in 1:41.28 and the 400 freestyle in 3:28.66.
Camarillo, Bjornstad, Kinney and Medina swam legs on the medley relay.
Camarillo finished with gold medals on two relays at last year’s league finals after placing second in the 100 IM and fourth in the 100 freestyle.
His expectations are higher this season.
“I’m trying to clean sweep it this year,” he said.
Hilltop’s Nic Garces won the 500 freestyle in 5:53.23 (a personal record) while Sam Bermudez won the diving event with a score of 125.8 points to add another win for the visiting Lancers.
Also for Hilltop, Evan Rodriguez finished second in the 500 freestyle (6:37) while Evan Giffin finished second in the boys 100 backstroke (1:24).
The diving competition featured four boys and three girls between the two teams.
Eastlake’s Josiah Schenk finished second in the boys dive card with 117.35 points, while Hilltop’s Dominic Gurule-Metzig finished third with 110.45 points and Eastlake’s Carl Grosselfinger finished fourth with 105.6 points.
Grosselfinger scored 132.90 points in taking 10th place at last Saturday’s Mt. Carmel Invitational.
Hilltop’s Bella Metzig and Mireya Ramirez finished second and third in the girls dive competition with 97.5 and 82.65 points, respectively.
Bermudez, recruited from basketball, is a first-year diver.
“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s exciting. I wanted to try something new.”
Hilltop coach Ernie Medina said the next step in Bermudez’s development is to increase the degree of difficulty on his dive card.
Gurule-Metzig joins the swim team from wrestling.
Eastlake opened the season with a non-league dual meet against Steele Canyon on March 7 before engaging Olympian in a Metro Conference meet on March 14.
The Titans won both ends of the dual meet against Olympian: 139-42 on the girls side and 134-62 on the boys side.
With the win over Hiltop, Eastlake’s girls team improved to 3-0 on the season while the boys team improved to 2-1.
Hilltop opened the season with dual meets against San Ysidro on Feb. 26, Chula Vista on March 1, Olympian on March 7 and Otay Ranch on March 14.
Hilltop senior captain and four-year letter-winner Yzatis Silva was a finalist in the CIF 50 freestyle last year after placing runner-up in the 100 backstroke at the Mesa League finals.
She finished second in the 50 freestyle in 25.0 at the Eastlake meet and has qualified in the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle this year.
Eastlake will host an alumni gathering Friday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at the Southwestern College pool. It’s an opportunity to reflect on old times as well as reconnect.
Wiggs said he reached out to 70 alumni on Facebook and 24 responded.
Confirmed to attend Friday’s gathering are former coaches and CIF champions Luca Casimiro and Jacquie (Kimmel) Cheek as well as John Randazzo, the 2013 CIF champion in the 100 breaststroke (58.54).
Kimmel, who went on to swim at the University of San Diego, set section records in the 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay while at Eastlake.
Casmiro won the Division I championship in the 100 butterfly.
Also confirmed are Jimmy Jeffery (class of 2014), Elisabeth Lundgren (UC Santa Cruz), Angelika Yngson (San Jose State University), Benny Garduno (class of 2008), Daphnee Dion (class of 2008, SDSU) and Felix Dion (class of 2010).
Former South Bay Aquatics Junior Olympic qualifiers Paola Rivas and Natalie Bautista are also confirmed along with Elisa Levine (2015 Eastlake CIF Division III girls water polo champion), Michael Stone and Stephanie Clifton (2017 EHS Mesa League team champion).
Others include Jacob Norton (class of 2017), Valerie Chin (class of 2017), Maria Paula Davila (Cal-Berkeley), Michelle Faketty/David Faketty (class of 2015), Zack Randall (class of 2016), Meghan Argo (Cal-Berkeley rowing), Jian Miclat (class of 2013), Oliver Michael German (Academy of Art University, 2017), Kerry Lindsay (class of 2012) and Jazmin Glaman (Southwestern College women’s water polo).
Mesa League Preview
A pair of freshmen may be the showstoppers for the girls team: Paola Castillo (200 and 500 freestyle) and Sylvanna Olivas (50 and 100 freestyle).
They join junior Megan Slovatizki, a 100 freestyle and utility swimmer, who comes in from the just completed girls water polo season.
Top boys on the Barons include Emiliano Castro (500 and 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly) and Ezra Aguimatang (backstroke and fly).
Aguimatang is the defending league backstroke champion while placing second in the league butterfly finals.
Castillo and Castro have already posted automatic qualifying times for the upcoming section prelims. Aguimatang also has already posted CIF qualifying times for his specialty events.
The Lady Mustangs off off to a 4-1 start while the boys team is 0-5.
Top girls swimmers this season include Kristine Tapia, Alejandra Lopez, Itzel Villa-Jimenez and Sarah Salcedo.
The boys team is small, with just four participants so far. However, the standout is Samuel Gomez, who is the defending league 100 freestyle champion.
Villa-Jimenez won last year’s league championship in the 100 butterfly while Tapia was second in the 100 freestyle.
Tapia captured first-place individual finishes in the 200 freestyle (2:09.23) and 50 freestyle (26.03) in the Lady Mustangs’ 89-83 Mesa League dual meet win over Mar Vista March 21 at the Southwestern College pool.
Villa-Jimenez took first in the 100 butterfly (1:08.19) while Lopez finished first in the 200 IM (2:24.68) and 100 breaststroke (1:15.00).
Otay Ranch dropped a 119-32 decision on the boys side, though Gomez came up victorious in the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle events.
“I’m very pleased with the team so far,” Otay Ranch head coach Barbie Wheeler said. “I’m impressed with their work ethic; they’re coming out to practice even during spring break. The dedication I am seeing from these students is awesome.”
Junior Zach O’Hara is trying his hand at diving after competing three years on the school’s wrestling team. His highest score so far is 122.95 points (at last Saturday’s Mt. Carmel Invitational) as a first-year diver.
He said he’s enjoying the experience so far.
“No one was doing it on the team, so I thought I could help out the team by scoring points,” O’Hara explained. “Wrestling has helped me learn quicker. There’s something about getting up there and jumping off. It brings fulfillment that you can do something other people can’t do. You have to control the motions of your body.”
The Eagles are off to a 2-1 start in league dual meets while the girls team is 0-3. The Olympian boys team has recorded wins over Hilltop and Mater Dei Catholic.
Annika Ongteco has been the standout so far on the girls team with a 1:04.32 time in the 100 backstroke.
Erik Duarte has been the diving standout with a top score of 187.25 points.
Alehtse Cinco and Diego Murguia are also having successful dive campaigns this spring. Cinco finished third at last year’s league finals with 179.7 points.
Duarte finished runner-up at last year’s league finals with 162.2 points.
Duarte placed seventh at last Saturday’s Mt. Carmel Invitational with 152.20 points while Muerguia finished ninth with 134.90 points.
Montse Sanchez finished ninth in the girls field with 119.85 points.
Ongteco, Cinco, Sara Gracia and Grace Hill have all recorded first-place finishes on the girls team in dual meet competition so far this season. Event winners on the boys team include A.J. Asuncion, Shane Sebree, Kevin Schwartz, Duarte, Gavin Baldo, Hans Hartwig and Jordan Laxa.
Sebree finished second in the 100 breaststroke at last year’s league finals.
Sebree (5:23.45 in the 500 freestyle and 1:10.34 in the 100 breaststroke) and Asuncsion (2:15.62 in the 200 IM and 1:05.13 in the 100 backstroke) each finished with 12 points to highlight Olympian’s 121-50 dual meet win over Hilltop while Gracia (2:31.18 in the 200 IM and 1:01.23 in the 100 freestyle) and Ongteco (2:11.32 in the 200 freestyle and 1:06.25 in the 100 backstroke) each scored 12 points in the Eagles’ 91-90 loss to the Lancers.
In their most recent meet, March 21 at Mater Dei Catholic, Olympian’s boys won 104-70 while the girls team came up short by a score of 88-84.
Asuncion (23.88 in the 50 freestyle and 5:27.91 in the 500 freestyle) was the top scorer on the boys team with 12 points while Hill (2:16.70 in the 200 freestyle and 1:02.28 in the 100 freestyle) led the girls team with 10 points.
Sebree won the 200IM at the March 21 dual meet by timing 2:17.96 while Ongteco won the 500 freestyle event in 5:52.71.
Olympian will duel Bonita Vista in a league meet on Thursday, March 28, starting at 6 p.m. at Southwestern College. The diving competition is expected to start about 5:30 p.m.
The Mariners boys team captured first-place finishes in nine of 12 events en route to their 119-32 win over Otay Ranch.
T.C. Spaulding emerged victorious in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle events while Jack Hinzo touched first in the 100 breaststroke event.
The Mariners also won the 200 IM, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke individual events while winning all three relay events.
Jake Osthimer won the boys diving with a point total of 127.85 over Otay Ranch’s Zachary O’Hara (93.6 points)
Melanie Clamp captured first place in the 100 freestyle (1:00.04)and second place in the 100 backstroke (1:20.85) in Mar Vista’s 89-83 dual meet loss to Otay Ranch. Also for the Mariners, Christine Sigle placed first in the 500 freestyle (6:09.15) while finishing second in the 100 butterfly (1:19.45) .
Annie Dickson placed runner-up in the 100 freestyle (1:04.72) to Clamp and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:25.60).
Diving Photo Gallery
By Phillip Brents
Eastlake diver: Josiah Schenk
Eastlake diver: Carl Grosselfinger
Otay Ranch diver: Zach O’Hara
Artistry in motion