Dolphin Girls Sweep Relays at City Section Swim Championships
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
There were no team champions declared last Friday at the City Section Swim Championships in Santa Clarita, but the Palisades High girls made it clear they are still the ones to chase.
Having won 13 of the last 14 City girls titles (the finals were canceled last spring because of COVID-19), the Dolphins put forth another strong performance, sweeping the three relays and getting individual wins by Nathalia Wyss, Roselin Gallegos and Claire Kim.
The boys, winners of seven straight team titles, placed third in the medley relay, second in the 200-yard freestyle relay and third in the 400 freestyle relay, but no Dolphins won any individual events.
For head coach Maggie Nance just being in the pool competing was a win for everybody.
“A week ago I didn’t know if we’d even have this meet, but I’m so glad we did… it brings back some normalcy,” said Nance, herself a Pali High swim alum. “I feel bad for the kids who were robbed of two years of competition. At least the seniors got to experience this one last time.”
The City finals have traditionally been held at John C. Argue Swim Stadium next to the L.A.Coliseum, but with that venue unavailable this year’s meet was moved north on the 405 Freeway to Santa Clarita Aquatic Center in Canyon Country. No matter, Palisades’ girls were ready to go from the first event.
Kim (backstroke), Amrita Sekhon (breaststroke), Gallegos (butterfly) and Maxine Eschger took first place in the 200 medley relay by nearly four seconds in 1:56.70. Palisades set the City record (1:47.44) in 2017.
After Leelee Marucci was third in the 200 freestyle and Kim was second in the 200 individual medley, Wyss became Palisades’ first individual winner by clocking 25.10 in the 50 freestyle sprint. In the very next event, Gallegos won the 100 butterfly by almost two seconds in 1:03.43.
Wyss took second in the 100 freestyle and Marucci took third in the 500 freestyle endurance test, then Wyss, Marucci, Gallegos and Maxine Eschger combined to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:44.59 as Eschger held off San Pedro’s Cate Russo on the final lap to secure the victory.
Kim (1:04.05) and teammate Ellie Sim (1:05.21) finished 1-2 in the 100 backstroke and Sekhon was third in the 100 breaststroke. The last event of the afternoon was the 400 freestyle relay and the Dolphins edged Cleveland by half a second thanks to Wyss, Addie Saab, Kinsey O’Sullivan and a gutsy anchor leg by Marucci.
Sophomore Igor Gloginic was a standout for the boys, taking second in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events and starting off the Dolphins’ 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Palisades’ finals records in all three relays were never challenged. Cleveland won the medley relay in 1:43.46 and San Pedro won the 200 (1:31.24) and 400 freestyle (3:17.85) relays.
Sebastian Stokes swam the backsroke in the medley relay, then anchored the 400 freestyle relay. Grant Owen, only a freshman, swam the freestyle leg in the medley relay and anchored the 200 freestyle relay.
Connor O’Sullivan was fifth in the 50 freestyle, fourth in the 100 freestyle and swam second on the Dolphins’ 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Ninth-grader Charlie Shortt, who swam butterfly in the 200 medley relay, was Palisades’ sole participant in the championship heat of the individual medley.
“With the pandemic it’s been hard getting kids in the pool and having normal set workouts like usual and that’s reflected in the times,” Nance added. “We have a lot of young swimmers with enormous potential, the boys in particular. The question is how much better can they get?”
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