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Pacific Coast League turning thin

May 05, 2005

Chris Yemma

A slim .43 seconds separated sophomore Stephanie Gabert from breaking

her own Pacific Coast League record Wednesday, and the league finals

could slim down to an equally narrow margin.

Gabert, the defending 100-yard breaststroke league champion,

easily qualified in the event Wednesday at the league preliminaries

at Northwood High and was just shy of catching her record set last

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year.

Just one of the many Corona del Mar girls swim team's potent

liquid assets, Gabert led the prelims push with two first-place

finishes -- the 100 breaststroke (1:04.80) and 200 individual medley

(2:06.56).

Corona del Mar, the two-time defending league champion and

reigning CIF Southern Section Division II champ, had 17

qualifications in the prelims Wednesday. But a thin win over

previously undefeated University April 27 has coach Doug Volding a

little uneasy.

"It's going to be a toughie for us," Volding said. "Uni's looking

awfully strong. We've got our work cut out for us if we're going to

pull it out."

University enters the finals with the one loss, but a meet win

would equate to a Uni league title, as the finals provide more weight

in the standings.

The Trojans, who lost to CdM, 88-82, last week, posted 18

qualifications at the prelims and are looking to avenge the loss.

In Gabert and Lexie Shue, though, the Sea Kings have two weapons

that could prove troublesome for University. Gabert is looking for a

clean sweep in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM while Shue is looking

for a third straight 500 free title and first 200 free crown.

Shue, who holds back-to-back league titles in the 200 IM, is not

competing in the race this year, leaving it up to the young

sophomore.

But Gabert said she is confident she will take home the 200 IM

title, as well as the 100 breaststroke.

"I'm pretty sure it will happen, hopefully," Gabert said. "I think

I can win both. This was a pretty good meet overall for me."

The current league record-holder in the 500 free, Shue cruised to

first in 5:04.28 in the event Wednesday, while notching a

fourth-place finish in the 200 free in 1:55.94.

"[Gabert and Shue] are always there," Volding said. "They're just

two of those people that you know are going to be there."

Junior Ashley Chandler is another one of those people. Chandler,

the defending league one-lap champion, paced her way to third in the

50 free in 25.24, although University's Katelyn Schumacher, the

league runner-up in the event last year, has dropped nearly a

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