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Cif Southern Section Swimming Finals:

Second for Spartans

Swimming: Boys are runners-up and girls place fourth for La Cañada.

May 20, 2010|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan

LONG BEACH — Their streak had to end sometime, and it did on Saturday night.

The La Cañada High boys’ swimming team entered the CIF Southern Section Division II Swimming and Diving Championships at the Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach as the winners of the past four team titles.

The Spartans also knew that winning a fifth straight would be difficult to achieve, especially because they graduated seven swimmers last year.

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Alex Lopez, the Spartans’ coach for the past five years, expected a top-three finish, and that’s exactly what La Cañada delivered.

Oaks Christian — which was runner-up to the Spartans last year — dominated the meet, taking home four individual or relay championships en route to scoring 278 points to dethrone the Spartans. Crescenta Valley was second with 191 points and the Spartans were tied with Thousand Oaks for third with 180 points.

“Every program has peaks and valleys,” Lopez said. “We were looking to be in the top three because we knew we didn’t have the depth we had last year.

“They did what we asked them to do. We graduated seven seniors. We [have to] rebuild sometime. [We] can’t keep the machine going.”

The Spartans’ girls’ team — which consisted of four swimmers — tallied 127 points to finish in fourth place, two points behind Troy for third. Walnut won the girls’ event with 158 points.

La Cañada sophomore Kathryn Campbell highlighted her team’s day with a pair of Division II titles, as she won the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes 47.69 seconds) and the 200 freestyle (1:49.71) in personal-best times.

“I would like [our result] to be better, but you have four girls taking fourth place [in CIF],” La Cañada girls’ assistant coach Steven Silversparre said. “That’s unbelievable.”

Campbell’s older brother, Alex, anchored the boys’ team. The senior won the 100-yard freestyle in a personal-best time of 46.34.

Chase Bloch and Oaks Christian upstaged Alex Campbell and everyone else on Saturday. Bloch, a senior who is headed to USC, was a part of all four of the Lions’ wins, and set division records in the 100 backstroke (48.80) and 100 butterfly (47.55).

But Alex Campbell and company did their part to stay close to the Lions, who had won four consecutive Division III and Division IV championships prior to 2009.

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