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'Killer' finish for NHST

The Newport Hills Swim Team Killer Whales edge rival Harbor View by 28.5 points to earn second straight conference title.

August 03, 2010|By Steve Virgen, steve.virgen@latimes.com

About a half mile separates the pools for the Newport Hills and Harbor View youth swim teams. So maybe it only makes sense that the Killer Whales and Dolphins would battle in a close finish at the South Coast Swim Conference Championships Saturday.

In the end, the Newport Hills Killer Whales were celebrating in the Corona del Mar High pool with a remarkable and momentous victory. Newport Hills won the overall team title in the six-team SCSC after scoring 1,668 points, 28.5 more than second-place Harbor View.

For the first time in its history, Newport Hills won its second straight SCSC championship.

"It was a very close meet," said Newport Hills Coach Michelle Sperling, who's been with the program for seven years. "I wasn't sure if we were able to pull it out. I was very happy.

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"Everybody was very thrilled. It's always nice when you have good competition. We are two teams that live in the same neighborhood basically, just a green belt away. We are all friends. The kids were really excited that they won. This is the team that has always been competitive with us. It's because of them we were able to rise to the occasion and swim better than expected."

Harbor View held the lead in the team overall score early on. The Dolphins won four age-group titles (6-and-under boys, 7-8 boys, 9-10 boys, 11-12 boys).

The Killer Whales also won four age-group titles (6-and-under girls, 7-8 girls, 9-10 girls, 13-14 boys).

"My swimmers swam great," said Harbor View Coach Ted Bandaruk, who completed his 44th year as a youth swim coach. "We were leading the first half. It was very exciting. Newport Hills had beaten us the past few years. To be up front was very exciting for us. We didn't have enough swimmers to fill at the end. So many kids had personal bests. It was good. I couldn't be prouder."

Sperling and her coaching staff were also proud of their swimmers after the season-ending meet. She said she feels honored to be a part of the program that's had four straight undefeated regular seasons and the unprecedented two consecutive titles.

"Next year we are looking for a three-peat, hopefully," Sperling said. "[The Killer Whales] deserved the win because they worked so hard. They definitely earned it."

Sperling also took pride in the total team effort. She said about 90% of her swimmers completed personal-best times in at least one event. Every Newport Hills swimmer contributed points.

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