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Sea Kings settle on third

CdM completes standout performances, but not enough for title, as Capo Valley defends crown.

May 15, 2010|By Matt Szabo

LONG BEACH — His legs cramping up, Corona del Mar High senior swimmer Michael Liao had enough push to get to the finish line first Friday night at Belmont Plaza in the 100-yard breaststroke.

It was the first time Liao had won the event at the CIF Southern Section Division I finals after finishing third and second the last two years. The time was 56.20 seconds, not as fast as he wanted, but first place is first place.

Liao would trade that race, though, for a team CIF title that the Sea Kings couldn't bring home. They got the three-team race they knew they would, but they missed out on finishing in the winner's circle.

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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).

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