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Newport Hills rules

SWIMMING: Killer Whales edge rival Harbor View in neighborhood meet that is close from start to finish Saturday.

July 19, 2008|By Matt Szabo

NEWPORT BEACH — Luke Chelf and Jett Bonner came up to the announcer’s table nearly out of breath.

“It’s tied, 418 to 418!” the two Harbor View Swim Team 7-8 age group swimmers managed to blurt out.

The announcement was met with surprise at the Harbor View pool, but nobody was truly surprised midway through the South Coast Swim Conference meet between the Dolphins and neighborhood rival Newport Hills. The meet was so close, flipping a coin might have saved everyone some time Saturday at the teams’ last regular-season meet.

In the end, however, it was the Newport Hills Killer Whales who came out on top, 675-654.

“They’re just very close, our two teams,” Newport Hills Coach Michelle Sperling said after the meet. At the time, coaches from both teams actually thought Harbor View had won, as they came out eight points ahead in the unofficial results. However, a couple of Dolphins swimmers had swam in more than the four allowed races. After the disqualifications were factored in, it was Newport Hills that came out ahead.

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Still, both Sperling and Harbor View Coach Ted Bandaruk came out smiling.

“It’s very fun,” Sperling said. “Without the good competition, we don’t rise to that level. You can always rely on that [Newport Hills swimmers] will perform at a Harbor View meet. They did very well today, so I was very proud of that.”

The Killer Whales also beat Harbor View in an earlier meet this year, and are unbeaten in dual meets this year. Yet, it was the Dolphins who won the conference relays on June 28.

Last year, Newport Hills swept through the regular season before Harbor View won at the league finals.

This year’s league finals are Saturday at Corona del Mar High, and they already promise to be high drama.

“It’s a lot of fun for the kids,” Bandaruk said. “If one team’s up by way too many points, then people get discouraged. I wish we could say that the coaches planned it this close, but we don’t. They have a competitive group over there, and we have a competitive group over here.”

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