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San Marcos Boys Win Swimming Title; Dos Pueblos Tops Channel League Girls Finals

Maija Ninness of San Marcos took second in the 100 yard backstroke. Click to view larger
Maija Ninness of San Marcos took second in the 100 yard backstroke. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Matt Mills and Hunter May captured two individual races and the 400 free relay on Thursday in the Channel League Swimming Championships at Elings Aquatics Center, sparking San Marcos to its first outright boys title in 41 years. Last year, the Royals shared the title with Dos Pueblos.

The Royals, who went 4-0 in the conference regular season, totaled 370 points. Dos Pueblos was second with 286, four better than Ventura (282). Santa Barbara took fourth (186) and Buena was fifth (54).

The girls meet was extremely tight and Dos Pueblos held off San Marcos to win its first title in at least seven years. The Chargers edged the Royals by 33 points (359.5 to 326.5). Ventura finished third with 191. Santa Barbara was fourth (157) and Buena was fifth (71).

The Charger girls are co-champs with the Royals, who went unbeaten in the regular season and claimed their fifth straight championship.

San Marcos might have won the title outright, if  not for a disqualification in the 200 free relay for leaving early.

The Royals won the race by nearly four seconds and missed out on 32 points.

"There was a decision that we left early and it is what it is," said Royals coach Chuckie Roth.

"My girls swam phenomenal, above and beyond expectations and you can't take anything away from us. We were over 95 percent in personal bests today."

Matt Mills, a junior, won the 50 free (21.30) and 100 free (46.26). He anchored the winning 400 free relay in the last event of the day, overtaking a Ventura swimmer with a rapid closing time of 45.60. He also helped the 200 medley relay garner second place in the opening event.

"We set a bunch of school records today," said Mills. "My best race was probably the 100 free. I dropped .6 off my best time and I was pretty happy with that. And I swam a 20.69 leg in the 200 medley relay.

"It feels great to be the champions. Everyone came together as a team and it was awesome."

Hunter May, a sophomore, took first in the 200 IM (1:53.37) and the 500 free (4:41.01). He swam third on the 400 relay unit of Tristan Depew, Jayden Francis, May and Mills that set a school record in 3:10.88. Depew won the 100 butterfly by nearly two seconds in 50.95.

"It's pretty cool to win this meet by ourselves," said Royals coach Jeff Ashton, who is stepping down after 13 seasons as water polo and swim coach.

"We swam really well across the board and we're fortunate to have a lot of guys who train at the Santa Barbara Swim Club – Matt Mills, Hunter May, Tristan Depew and Jayden Francis. They swam great and so did the water polo guys – Trevor Ricci, Lorenzo Bertocco and Kellen Radtkey got second in the 500 free and he's not a year-round swimmer.

"It was a real team effort. Matt Treadway got 2nd in the 100 breaststroke (59.62), also a school record. We broke quite a few school records today and some guy's broke their own records."

San Marcos won five girls events and the 400 free relay. Dos Pueblos won one of the eight individual events and two relays.

Ryann Neushul got the Chargers' victory, taking the 100 breast in 1:09.14 despite losing her goggles early in the race.

She was second to Tea Laughlin of Ventura in the 200 IM with a 2:10.47. Both her times were CIF qualifiers. "It's an amazing feeling to win the title," said Neushul, who's following her sisters to play water polo at Stanford.

"We weren't expected to win. Finishing second in the 4x100 free relay in our best time was probably the greatest thing that happened in this meet.

"My goggles came off at the start of the 100 breast and they were around my neck the rest of the way. I was definitely struggling and was hoping to go below 1:09. But that's OK, I still got my PR today."

Fiona Kuesis was a double winner for San Marcos (200 free, 500 free).

Maija Ninness set a meet record of 56.55 to win the 100 butterfly and also swam on two victorious relays. Piper Smith captured the 50 free in 23.88 (winning by a healthy 1.16 seconds) and the 100 free in 52.85.

"My freshmen and seniors really came through today," said DP coach Kendall Kuga.

"Some of the seniors, like Ryann Neushul, stepped up big this year and I have nine or 10 club freshmen girls who really made an impact today. It wasn't just about first place, it was about the seconds, thirds and fourths also.

"Sabina Shackelford had a strong meet, anchoring our two free relays. We had some solid swims in the 100 butterfly with four girls in the final."

DP's Elizabeth Pritchett, Caitlyn Robinson and Daniela Castleberg finished 2-3-4 in the 100 fly.

The CIF qualifiers will advance to the CIF Div. 1 Championships on Thursday and Saturday at Riverside. 

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