Merrell and Garcia Lead Crean Lutheran Girls to CIF-SS D2 Title

CIF SOUTHERN SECTION DIVISION 2 CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Prelims- Friday, May 12th
  • Finals- Saturday, May 13th
  • Riverside Aquatic Complex (Riverside, California)
  • Meet Info
  • Results

Prelims were fast, but some of the CIF-SS Division II stars really shone bright today in finals. Among those were big names Eva Merrell and Elise Garcia of Crean LutheranTrenton Julian of Glendale, and Taylor Ault of Sonora. The Crean Lutheran girls reigned supreme in the team race, while on the boys’ side, Foothill, Redlands, and Damien were locked in a tight team battle throughout the entire meet.

Kicking off the finals session were the Crean Lutheran girls with an absolute blowout win in the 200 medley relay. After taking over a second off of the old 200 medley D2 record (which Ella Eastin was a part of), they took another 1.5 seconds off to end at 1:40.77, getting incredible bookend speed from Merrell on backstroke (24.55) and Garcia on freestyle (22.08). Jimena Martinez (breast) and Mandy Brenner (fly) were the other half of the relay, but their splits were incorrect on the live results. Meanwhile, the Redlands boys combined for a 1:34.61 to win the boys’ medley relay, getting them off to a great start for the team race.

Merrell and Garcia were huge in helping Crean Lutheran take the girls’ D2 title. Merrell went 52.51 to break her day-old D2 100 fly record and win that title, then later took the 100 back. Meanwhile, Garcia broke her own D2 record with a 22.66 50 free, though she was denied the 100 free double win by Mira Costa sophomore Alexandra Crisera. Crisera, who recently turned 16, went 48.87 to Garcia’s 49.52, making Crisera the 18th-best 15-16 performer in U.S. age group history. That also marked a new D2 record.

Crisera returned to duel with Merrell in the 100 back. Though Crisera broke the D2 record with a 53.65 in prelims, Merrell was a touch ahead in finals with a 53.19 to Crisera’s 53.54. Both girls were under the day-old record. In the 200 free relay, Merrell was once-again Crean Lutheran‘s lead-off (23.41) as Garcia anchored (22.60) to a time of 1:34.60, just under their day-old D2 record. Meanwhile, the Foothill boys put themselves ahead in the team race with a win in the 200 free relay.

Florida Gator commit Taylor Ault shaved nearly three seconds off of her prelims time to take the 200 free at 1:46.83, a good margin ahead of 2nd place Liberty Gilbert of Chaparral (1:48.59). Gilbert was followed closely by Samantha Pearson (1:48.64) of Foothill. Both Gilbert and Pearson are just freshmen. Ault followed that up with a dominant win in the 500 free, going 4:43.09 for the title.

Trenton Julian, who has committed to Cal Berkeley, cruised to a four-second win in the 200 IM, touching in 1:47.35. Coming back in the 100 fly, however, he was denied a second individual title by South Pasadena senior Jacob Mullin (47.79), as Julian settled for 2nd (48.13).

Mullin, a Cornell commit, put up another big swim to take the 100 back title with a 48.47. According to USA Swimming’s database, Mullin’s best times before this meet were 48.79 in the 100 fly and 49.42 in the 100 back, meaning he’s become a significantly more valuable recruit for Cornell with his swims this weekend.

The boys’ team race actually came down to the final relay. After the 100 breast, Redlands had returned to first position with 172.5 points, followed closely by Damien (171) and Foothill (169), while Diamond Bar lurked in 4th with 160. The 400 free relay, however, shook things up. Foothill, anchored by Zane Scott‘s 44.54, was 3:04.25 for the win, with Damien taking 2nd and Redlands touching back at 8th. That gave Foothill the boys’ team race, leaving Damien 2nd and Redlands 3rd.

Other winners

  • Mikki Thompson of Ayala took the girls’ 200 IM in 1:59.63, the only swimmer under two minutes.
  • In the boys’ 200 free, Andrew Koustik dropped a 1:38.02 for the title.
  • Arcadia’s Tenny Chong completed the sprint double, taking both the 50 free (20.22) and the 100 free (44.67).
  • Diamond Bar’s David Wang was 4:27.60 to win the boys’ 500 free.
  • Kelsey Lloyd of Diamond Bar posted a 1:02.21 for the 100 breast title on the girls’ side.
  • Villa Park’s Dash Farr had a dominating win in the boys 100 breast, going 55.24 to finish first by nearly two seconds.
  • The Chaparral girls won the 400 free relay, thanks in part to a 49.97 split from Liberty Gilbert, the 200 free runner-up. Crisera led off in 48.93 to help push Mira Costa to 2nd in the race.

FINAL SCORES

Girls

  1. Crean Lutheran 247
  2. Redlands East Valley 233
  3. Glendora 221
  4. Sonora 192
  5. Los Osos 168.5

Boys

  1. Foothill 213
  2. Damien 209
  3. Redlands 198.5
  4. Diamond Bar 190
  5. Murrieta Valley 153

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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