2015 CIF-SS Division I Finals – Déjà Vu All Over Again at One of Fastest HS Meets in the US

2015 California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Swimming & Diving Championships – Division I

Division I – Finals

When you walk onto the pool deck at the CIF-Southern Section Division I championships, you expect to see national high school records being broken. That may seem unreasonable, but given the enormous talent residing in the region, it isn’t irrational. And even in the off-year that you don’t get to watch a national record going down, you are still going to see section records falling.

This year was no different. Already in prelims, Sonia Wang of JSerra and Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus had given us a preview of what was to come. Wang broke the Division I record in the girls’ 200 IM, going 1:58.28, while Weitzeil broke a pair of national high school records: the 50 free with 21.83, and the 100 free first with 47.53, then later leading off the Saugus 400 free relay in 47.42.

But that was just prelims. The fireworks really exploded in finals, when a much larger cast of characters got in on the act.

Girls’ Meet

Division I Girls Finals +/-Psych +/- Prelims
Santa Margarita 290 9 1
JSerra 257 15 0.5
Tesoro 201 4 7.5
Corona del Mar 166 -21 -8
Hart 155 18 7
Woodbridge 153 -37 -62.5
Valencia/Valencia 149 -7 6.5
Flintridge Sacred Heart 114.5 0.5 -2.5
Edison 110.5 -27.5 17


Before the swimming even began, several schools were already on the scoreboard thanks to diving. Capo Valley sophomore Camryn Hidaldo successfully defended her 2014 title by winning the 1-meter event with 588.80 points, an improvement of more than 50 points over last year. Carly Sherwood-Souza of West Ranch (564.55) was runner-up, while San Clemente’s Haley Farnsworth (527.15) repeated with another third-place finish.

JSerra began the swimming portion of the meet with a new D1 record in the 200 medley relay. Katie Glavinovich (26.75), Catherine Lowengrub (29.14), Sonia Wang (23.92), and Kaitlyn Albertoli (22.48) combined for 1:42.29, edging Santa Margarita by .09. Andrea Laliena (27.10), Amy Qin (29.41), Katie McLaughlin (23.44), and Samantha Shelton (22.43) went 1:42.38 for second place, also dipping under the previous D1 meet record.

What a fitting start to a championship meet.

Santa Margarita senior McLaughlin then destroyed her own D1 meet record in the 200 free (1:44.66, set last year) with a 1:43.01, exactly 20/100 off Dagny Knutson’s national high school record set in 2008. Her teammate Shelton went 1:46.39 to capture second place, while Daniela Georges of Woodbridge took third in 1:46.92.

Flintridge Sacred Heart senior Kirsten Vose broke the 200 IM meet record set in prelims by JSerra senior Wang, going 1:56.07, her best time by more than 3 seconds. Vose, who had never officially been under 2 minutes before 2015 CIF prelims, dropped an entire second off each leg of the race, from her second-place finish at last year’s meet. She not only had the fastest breaststroke split in the field, but came home in an astonishing 28.0, not something she is normally known for. 2014 champion Nikol Popov finished second with 1:58.78; Wang was third in 1:58.85.

Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus at CIFSS D1. Photo: Anne Lepesant

Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus at CIFSS D1. Photo: Anne Lepesant

And then came one of the most anticipated moments in the meet: Abbey Weitzeil’s 50 free. The Saugus senior, who had set the national public school record last year with her first sub-22, 21.98, had lowered the record to 21.83 in prelims. In finals she cracked a 21.64, finishing a full 1.5 seconds ahead of JSerra’s Kaitlyn Albertoli (23.11) and Katherine Wagner of Alemany (23.33).

After the diving break, in which pulses all around the Riverside Aquatics Complex returned to normal, out came Katie McLaughlin of Santa Margarita, ready to take up the gauntlet of the 51.98 Corona del Mar freshman Eva Merrell threw down to lead the qualifiers for finals in the 100 fly. McLaughlin had set the national high school record last year with 51.78, but Beata Nelson had lowered it to 51.78 at the Wisconsin high school meet in November. But that’s just the kind of thing McLaughlin enjoys, and she went after reclaiming her crown with gusto. Out in a 24.35, McLaughlin came home in 27.1 to touch the wall at 51.53 for a new national mark. Merrell was second with 52.14; Hart’s Mik Ranslem finished third in 53.86.

Then came the 100 free. Weitzeil turned on her jets and treated the crowd to yet another national high school record, clocking a 47.33 (22.92/24.41) to lower her own mark by.09. Santa Margarita’s Shelton (49.67) and JSerra’s Albertoli (50.42) were second and third, respectively. Weitzeil lowered her record even further leading off Saugus’ 400 free relay; the senior went 22.66/24.43 for 47.09.

Woodbridge senior Georges went 4:48.56 to defend her title in the 500 free. Just a tad off her 2014 winning time, Georges set the pace throughout the entire race, consistently holding 29-lows. Brittany Kampfer of Mater Dei had a nice back half to pull away from JSerra’s Karli Thuen; they finished second and third with 4:49.94 and 4:52.83, respectively.

Valencia’s 200 free relay of Julia Wolf (23.90), Popov (22.85), Kaila Wong (24.58), and Annalena Assaiante (24.08) went 1:35.41 to top the field. Tesoro (Dominique Gray, Jami Hwang, Victoria Epps, and Jessica Epps) beat Santa Margarita (Jeni Griffin, Allison Plamondon, Marriott Hoffmann, and Camryn Barry) by 1/100 for second place.

Corona del Mar’s Merrell earned the 100 back title with a rapid 53.07. JSerra’s Wang finished second in 53.96, while 2014 champion Courtney Mykkanen of Foothill was third with 55.10.

Defending champion Popov of Valencia won the 100 breast with the only sub-1:00 performance of the day. Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Vose took second, while Meagan Popp of Corona del Mar was third (1:02.32).

Santa Margarita sealed their team title with a win in the 400 free relay, as Shelton (49.85), Sydney Franzen (52.08), Barry (51.00), and McLaughlin (48.11) put up a D1-record-breaking 3:21.04. JSerra finished 5 seconds back in 3:26.00, a second ahead of Hart (3:27.02).

Boys’ Meet

Division I Boys Finals +/-Psych +/- Prelims
University 317 44 -23
Dana Hills 220 -49 1
Loyola 219 10 -47
San Clemente 189 -17 -1
Corona del Mar 168 23 -7
Santa Margarita 161 9 15
Dos Pueblos 159 -13 10
Valencia/Valencia 133 -20 -27
Hart 120.5 17.5 -43.5
Newport Harbor 120.5 -27.5 4.5


The boys’ side of the meet was just as exciting.

University got things cracking with a fantastic come-from-behind victory in the 200 medley relay with a strong effort from Daniel Tran (23.01), Judd Howard (25.18), Andrew Knoell (22.27), and William Hofstadter (19.91). Dos Pueblos (Walker Bell, Blake Parrish, Alex Valente, and Theo Velikov) had the lead at the 150 thanks in part to a 20.76 50 fly by Valente, but ended up second with 1:30.65. Loyola (1:32.82) took third.

In a terrific show of depth, the top six in the 200 free all finished under 1:39.Santa Margarita junior Grant Shoults led the way with a lifetime-best 1:34.54 (his first sub-1:35); Capo Valley’s Nick Norman (1:37.34) and Servite’s Stephen Marcin (1:38.39) placed second and third, also at their personal bests. Shoults and Norman, training partners at Mission Viejo in club swimming, traded stroke for stroke in the 500 free. Shoults kept a slight lead on Norman throughout, and with just a bit more firepower over the last 50, ended up winning by 1.5 seconds, 4:15.56 to 4:17.00. They both finished well under the D1 mark established by Ian Prichard in 2000, and Shoults broke the national independent school record with his swim. Marcin of Servite was third in 4:23.95.

The 200 IM was unusually deep. University senior Tran dominated with a winning time of 1:47.16, but it was anyone’s game for second. Sean Lee of Loyola came back from fourth at the 150 to finish second in 1:48.37. Ken Takahashi of University edged Tyler Lin of Corona del Mar for third, 1:48.50 to 1:48.58.

Hart senior Cole Cogswell was the undisputed sprint king, winning the 50 free in 20.14 and the 100 in 44.32. University’s William Hofstadter was second in both races (20.82/45.18). Aidan Pastel of San Clemente (20.84) and Justin Nguyen of Fountain Valley (45.53) rounded out the respective podia.

In the 100 fly, defending champion Alex Valente of Dos Pueblos lowered his own D1 record by another .69, clocking a lifetime-best 46.00. Loyola’s Lee (48.96) and Josh Swart of San Clemente (49.31) were second and third.

Hart, who had led prelims in the 200 free relay, and Loyola both drew disqualifications in finals. The 200 free relay title ended up with Valencia’s Kevin Dai (21.25), Johnny Ellery (20.91), Brian Buxton (21.42), and Tyler Tran (20.68) with a combined 1:24.26. Newport Harbor (1:24.71) and Beckman (1:24.78) kept it exciting until the end, but finished in second and third, respectively.

University senior Tran took the 100 back in 48.20. Edison’s Thomas Smith kept a fast-charging Swart of San Clemente at bay, touching second in 48.45. Swart ended up third in 49.51, just ahead of Dos Pueblos’ Valente (48.72).

Corona del Mar senior Lin won the 100 breast in 54.30, ahead of University’s Howard (54.98) and Harvard-Westlake’s Alexander Hsing (55.37).

The Hart quartet of Austin Barreiro (46.71), Adam Osowski (45.87), Ryan Brimer (46.65), and Cogswell (43.37) combined for a winning 3:02.60 just edging  Dos Pueblos (3:02.74) and Loyola (3:03.56).

Second-place Dana Hills had three divers in the top six, including event winner, freshman Jake Greenberg (602.60 points) and bronze medalist Christopher Labella (525.50). Caleb Dixon of San Clemente (544.30) was second.

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7 years ago

Just like to mention that University boy’s won back to back titles in fairly convincing fashion. Harkens back to the MV teams from a few years ago. They were able to overcome the departure of Okubo this year but next year with Hofstadter, Howard, Takahashi and Tran leaving….

7 years ago

According to SwimPhone and the Meet Announcer, Ventura High School girls took 8th place at this meet and they did it with 6 girls.

7 years ago

Cole Cogswell had stellar performances in the 50 and 100, coming close to Joey Hale’s 50 free record and Dera Buyucuncu’s 100 free record. Tom Shield’s 200 free record will stick around until at least next year when Grant has a shot at that.

bobo gigi
7 years ago

Best individual performances of that meet.

Grant Shoult’s impressive 200 free/500 free double. 1.34.54/4.15.56 with each time a monster last 50. Seems to be a tradition for Mission Viejo swimmers. Katie McLaughlin also has a killer finish. 🙂

Alex Valente’s 100 fly in 46.00. Now 6th fastest ever US 17/18 100 fly performer. Just behind Ian Crocker. Can he attack Schooling’s high school record this week at CIF State championships?

Abbey Weitzeil’s 50 free in 21.64 and 100 free (lead-off leg of the relay) in 47.09. Interesting to note that once again, she swam her best 100 free time in the relay and not in the individual race. Last December it was the same at… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

Bobo, Great point about Weitzel constantly breaking her own records on relays! I hadn’t realized until I read your comment what an amazing relay swimmer she is, and how valuable that will be for Team USA!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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