Carpinteria swimmers
Carpinteria swimmers, from left, Justin Main, Matt Lamberti and Erin Otsuki will compete at the CIF-SS Division 3 meet. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Carpinteria High’s Matt Lamberti was about as raw as they come when he joined the swim team during his sophomore year.

He was tall and had a swimmer’s V-cut physique when coach Jon Otsuki first met him two years ago.

“I just saw an amazing amount of potential,” Otsuki said at Monday’s final Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon for the 2021-22 school year. “He couldn’t do a flip turn, he couldn’t dive in with his goggles, which are an essential part of swimming fast.”

But the 6-foot-5 Lamberti could move through the water. 

In a 100 freestyle race, Otzuki remembers Lamberti’s goggles sliding down to his mouth after diving into the pool. He threw them on the pool deck and continued to race. Instead of flip turns, he did three open turns and he still finished in first place.

“At the time, everyone’s jaw just dropped,” Otsuki recalled.

Lamberti continued to impress. At last year’s CIF Division 4 finals, he placed third in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 100 free in a school-record time of 49.64. His performances helped the Warriors win their first CIF swim title in school history.

Lamberti and the Warriors are headed to Mission Viejo this week to compete in the Division 3 Prelims and Finals.

“He’s refined all those techniques, so he’s got the start, he’s got the turn and he’s stronger than heck,” said Otsuki. “He’s one of the elite sprinters in his area, and that’s after basically three years of swimming. That’s quite an accomplishment for Matthew.”

At last week’s Citrus Coast League Championships, Lamberti won the 50 and 100 freestyle races, lowering his school mark in the 100 (49.14). He also swam on the winning 200 medley and 400 free relay teams that also set school records.

Justin Main is another key member of the boys swim team at Carpinteria. He was a standout on the Warriors’ CIF-champion boys water polo team in the fall.

“He’s an instrumental part of the boys program,” said Otsuki, who also coaches water polo. “He played two-meter defense. Justin is a water polo-first athlete, but I think he’s realized he does have a special talent for swimming.”

At the CCL meet, he dropped his time in the 200 freestyle from 1:57 to 1:54 in the prelims and 1:54 to 1:50 in the finals, where he finished as runner-up. He also was second to Lamberti in the 100 free.

Erin Otsuki, the coach’s daughter, is another newcomer to competitive swimming.

“She’s like raw bones,” said her father. “She’s been swimming less than two years competitively, and this season she went undefeated in all her individual events, and she made either consideration or automatic time standards for Division 3.”

Jon Otsuki added that Erin met the qualifying for all eight swim contested at CIF.

“I’m just very proud of her,” said Jon. “Even if it was someone I didn’t know, being able to accomplish this in a short amount of time, I’d say I’m very proud of you.

“And, Erin, ‘You are something very special.’”

Ken Newendorp Era Comes to an End

Ken Newendorp ended a three-year run as president of the all-volunteer Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table.

Normally a two-year stint, Newendorp agreed to do an extra year after the second half of the 2020 season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

SBART board member Alison Bernal, who’s worked as a co-chair on the Women & Girls in Sports event, will take over as the new president.

Newendorp, a multi-sport athlete at San Marcos High and a soccer standout at SBCC, Westmont and UCSB, did a terrific job in leading the SBART through the pandemic. He came up with creative ways to keep local sports active and in the conversation.

The group pivoted in-person activities like the Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Women and Girls in Sports event and Evening with the Athletes to virtual formats; utilized social media platforms to show and promote events; switched the press luncheons to an outdoor setting at The Creekside Restaurant in the spring of 2021 and then brought them back to Harry’s. 

Last week, the Round Table inducted its 2020 Hall of Fame Class in an in-person ceremony at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion. The organization plans to honor the 2021 class in the fall.

San Marcos boys volleyball coach Roger Kuntz, who coached Newendorp in football and baseball at San Marcos, praised him for his work with the Round Table.

“He’s worked so hard for this organization. And I know we appreciate that very much,” said Kuntz.

Said Dos Pueblos baseball coach George Hedricks: “Thank you for your leadership as president through everything the last couple of years. I should still see you around the ballpark.”

Newendorp has a son who plays baseball at DP.


From Santa Barbara High baseball assistant Joe Holguin on senior catcher Vince Gamberdella: “There’s just nothing ‘Gambo’ will not do on the field for us. … He holds up the Dons’ pride, and I’m really happy his mom and dad decided to actually bring him to Santa Barbara High.”

Holguin on the CIF playoffs: “I want to say good luck to DP and San Marcos. Now that we’re not in Channel League anymore, we will be rooting for you guys.”

San Marcos boys volleyball coach Roger Kuntz on senior outside hitter Zach Willbanks: “He’s a big reason why we’ve got a go-to guy on the outside that we can depend on. He’s closed out at least a dozen to 15 of our matches this year with a swing on the outside.”

Kuntz on hosting Long Beach Wilson, the defending Division 3 champions, in the Division 2 quarterfinals: “They’re kind of like our team on steroids a little bit. They really bring a lot of offense. The roof is gonna come off the Thunderdome, so you’re gonna want to be there.”

Dos Pueblos baseball coach George Hedricks on opening the CIF playoffs at home: “We haven’t had a home game in the playoffs, I think, since 2018…”

San Marcos baseball coach Wes Ghan Gibson on senior Joaquin Sandoval’s home run against Lompoc at Joe Mueller Field: “I’m gonna thank him, now that we got the monkey off our back. We haven’t been able to hit a home run at our yard in two years.”

Ghan Gibson on senior Nicky Fell: “He’s a culture changer. Being able to change the culture at San Marcos, he’s a huge part of it because he’s such a fiery competitor.”

Dos Pueblos boys volleyball coach Ehren Hug on junior Grant Hughes: “If you’ve watched us play, you’ve probably seen his armpits because he’s roofing people all the time and his hands are all the way up.”

Dos Pueblos girls lacrosse coach Sam Limkeman on seniors Nenna Tynes and Pilar Carbajal: “So, our loudest player and maybe one of our quietest are just absolute rockstars, and we’re really going to miss them next year.”

To hear all the coaches’ comments on the student athletes they brought to the luncheon, watch the video above.

Here is the list of coaches and student athletes from Monday’s press luncheon:


Dos Pueblos: Coach Ehren Hug, Grant Hughes, Ewan Richards

San Marcos: Coach Roger Kuntz, Zach Willbanks, Aiden Paizer, Colin Earls


Santa Barbara High: Coach John Keogh, Gabriel Guinn, Galen Weinstein


Dos Pueblos: Coach Sam Limkeman, Pilar Carbajal, Nenna Tynes


San Marcos: Coach Wes Ghan Gibson, Keegan Stewart, Nicky Fell, Joaquin Sandoval

Dos Pueblos: Coach George Hedricks, Dylan Gesswein, Carson Mercier


Carpinteria: Coach Jon Otsuki, Erin Otsuki, Matt Lamberti, Justin Main


Santa Barbara High: Coach Kristin Hempy, Remy Rosales, Caroline Koceman

Avatar photo

Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.