Capistrano Valley set a meet record in the meet-ending 400 free relay, an exclamation point as it defended its championship with 253 points. Loyola was second with 247, and CdM took third with 233 points.
Newport Harbor, boosted by first-place finishes by the 200 free relay team and senior Jack Yeager in the 50 free, took fourth with 138 points.
"We made a run at it," CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said, unable to be too upset after he noted Capo Valley swam "lights out" the entire meet. "[My swimmers] are pretty stoked, because we're not graduating near as many people as everybody else is. We're only graduating two guys off this CIF team [Liao and Blake Terry]. Everyone else is coming back."
The Sea Kings, who had finished fifth at CIF in 2008 and '09, certainly started Friday night's meet off right. They captured the meet-opening 200-yard medley relay, as sophomore Jared Namba (backstroke), Liao (breast), junior John Kim (butterfly) and junior Matt Berry (free) touched in 1 minute, 33.26 seconds. That was just 0.05 seconds off the meet record set by San Marino in 1991.
Capo Valley got second, staying just six points behind early.
Kim (1:50.75) and Garrett Larson (1:50.78) got second and third, respectively, in the 200 individual medley. But they had qualified for finals first and second. Capo Valley's Brock Redondo, who qualified fourth, won the event.
By the time the 50 free was done (1/3 through the meet), CdM was already in third.
"They did amazing," Liao said of Capo Valley. "Every single one of them dropped a ton of time, and they all just moved up in their places. They really deserved to win. That's a phenomenal group of swimmers right there; they put together the perfect meet."
Liao willed his way to the win in that 100 breast, which featured Kim in second (57.18) and Larson in third (57.78).