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Reese Ellestad ‘Digs Deep,’ Leads SBCC to WSC Swim Championship

Reese Ellestad won the 100 freestyle and swam an amazing anchor leg on the victorious 400 free relay on Saturday night as SBCC claimed its third straight WSC women’s swimming & diving title at Paul Nelson Pool in Santa Maria.

The Vaqueros completed a 40-0 regular season and went 22-0 in WSC meets. They’re 63-1 in conference over the last three years with a 63-meet winning streak.

SBCC finished the three-day meet with 635 points. Ventura was second, 98 points back at 537, followed by Hancock (474), Cuesta (459) and Citrus (315).

Ellestad, a sophomore from San Diego, captured the 100 free in a personal-best 53.92, the No. 2 time in school history. She led a dominating Vaquero contingent as they finished 1-3-6-9 to rack up 58 points. Alex Humann was third in 54.53, Mackenzie Richards took sixth (56.43) and Halie Johnson was ninth (56.58).

The Vaqueros rallied to win the closing event, the 400 free relay, in 3:38.12. That’s also the second-best time in SBCC history. They beat Cuesta by .86 seconds in a photo finish. Humann led off, Richards was the second leg, Addison Seale swam third and Ellestad reeled in her Cuesta opponent on the anchor leg in a blazing 52.53.

“We had another great day and I’m super proud of this group,” said coach Chuckie Roth. “Our motto has been to dig deep. All season, each person has found ways to score valuable points for the team. I did not know if we would be able to win conference at the beginning of the year but each athlete put in the dedication and the work.

“There were tons of amazing swims and it came down to the 4x100 relay. Reese dives in two body lengths behind Cuesta and narrows the gap to one body length at the 50. It came down to a photo finish and she dug in and split 52.5.

“It was a truly remarkable way to end a memorable meet.”

Roth was named co-Coach of the Year along with Cuesta’s John Marsh. SBCC’s Gina Jacobson was the Diver of the Meet after winning the 1- and 3-meter springboard and setting WSC records in both.

Seale took third in the 200 breast (2:30.15), Serafina Chavez was third in the 200 fly (2:25.60) and Anna Manfreda and Charissa Dorn went 5-7 in the 200 back.

“For many of our athletes, this is the end of an era,” Roth concluded. “They will move on to 4-year universities and I could not be prouder of this group. They’re amazing young women who will make big impacts in the world.”

The Vaqueros will try to improve on their No. 4 state finish from last year in the CCCAA State Championships on May 4-6 at the East L.A. Swim Stadium. Santa Barbara has finished 12th, 8th and 4th in the state in its first three seasons. The Vaqueros added diving this year and Jacobson and Ashley Dettmann have dominated the competition.

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