Walnut Freshman Justina Kozan Drops 1:56.31 200 IM at CIF-SS D3 Champs

CIF SOUTHERN SECTION SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS – DIVISION 3

Crescenta Valley took team titles on the girls’ and boys’ sides, with the boys’ meet coming down to the wire. Going into the 400 free relay, the Crescenta Valley boys led Ventura, 195 to 194. In that final race, William Blake of Crescenta Valley was 44.92 to lead his team to a 2nd place finish behind Cerritos, enough to get past Ventura’s 4th place relay and claim the team title.

Blake was the team’s star throughout the meet, and he took huge wins in both of his individual events. In the 200 free, he was 1:38.11, the only finisher under 1:40, to rattle the meet record of 1:37.80 set in 1992 by Chad Carvin. The senior was well ahead of the pack in the 100 free, winning it in 45.08, with no other competitor within 1.5 seconds of him at the touch. Blake also swam back on the 200 medley relay, with his 23.60 the third-quickest of the field. Blake’s teammate Andre Yarcan added another win for Crescenta Valley in the 100 fly (49.52).

Justina Kozan of Walnut, just a freshman, took both of her individual events. Her big swim was the 200 IM, where she blasted a 1:56.31 to take the race by almost four seconds over Ventura’s Tea Laughlin (2:00.23). For Kozan, who turned 15 earlier this year, that’s a huge drop from her old best of 1:58.27. Her splits were impressive — known as a flyer and freestyler, she was 25.17 going out, 29.36 on back, 34.87 on breast, and an eye-popping 26.91 coming home on free.

For some context, looking at the 2019 NCAA Women’s A final in the 200 IM, only champion Beata Nelson, 3rd place Sydney Pickrem, and 4th place Louise Hansson (all upperclassmen) were faster than Kozan coming home, and only by a couple tenths at most. Her time would’ve also made the B final at NCAAs. Kozan moves up to #11 all-time in the 15-16 age group. She also won the 100 fly in 52.88, four tenths off of her best, but still taking over a second off of Ella Eastin‘s 2012 meet record (53.93).

On relays, Kozan was 22.70 anchoring Walnut’s meet record-setting 200 free relay (1:37.05) and 48.97 on the end of their 400 free relay (3:27.39). Laughlin, for her part, returned to win the 100 back in 52.63 to erase her meet record from prelims.

Sage Hill’s Jason Schreiber took down the meet record in his first individual event, the 200 IM. Schreiber won the race in 1:49.33, winning by nearly two full seconds and downing Alwin Firmansyah’s 2010 record of 1:49.71. He returned to add another win in the 100 breast, clocking a 55.48 to win by over a second.

OTHER WINNERS

  • After coming in 2nd in both the 50 and 100 free behind Crossroads sophomore Katrina Mortenson in prelims, Crean Lutheran junior Mandy Brenner took control in finals. Brenner was 23.12 to take the 50 and 49.82 to win the 100, with Mortenson not far back at 23.30 and 50.16, respectively.
  • In the girls’ 1m diving event, Poly/Pasadena sophomore Sophie McAfee had an outstanding performance, scoring 600.95. That set a new CIF-SS D3 record, toppling the old mark of 585.30 done in 2014 by Olivia Rosendahl, who went on to dive for Northwestern University and became a two-time NCAA champion on the platform.
  • El Segundo’s Nicholas Allison cracked 50 seconds to take the boys’ 100 back in 49.81.
  • Webb senior Riley Brick was 1:04.38 to take the girls’ 100 breast.
  • The boys’ 1m diving event went to Alhambra’s Jason Thai. The Alhambra freshman scored 590.40, taking out Colten Young’s 2014 record of 584.75.

GIRLS FINAL SCORES (TOP 5)

  1. Crescenta Valley 271.5
  2. Sunny Hills 254
  3. Walnut 220.5
  4. Ventura 158
  5. Santa Monica 148

BOYS FINAL SCORES (TOP 5)

  1. Crescenta Valley 233
  2. Ventura 228
  3. Walnut 207
  4. El Segundo 205
  5. Troy 187

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anonymous
2 years ago

I wondered why the Brea team was mainly LA County swimmers, well I found out it was a merger between Gemini and Brea.

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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