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Girls shine in rival meet

High School Swimming

Newport Harbor girls win 400 freestyle relay to tie Sea Kings in Battle of the Bay. CdM boys cruise.

April 21, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Down the whole meet, the Newport Harbor High girls' swim team came into the final event of the day still controlling its own destiny.

Zoe Robles, Carly Christian, Catherine Carpenter and Casey Duckworth had all their ducks in a row in the Battle of the Bay. They needed to win the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay to forge at least a tie with rival Corona del Mar.

Newport girls' Coach Brian Melstrom made sure they knew the importance.

"Right before we got in, [Melstrom] was like, 'In order to win the meet you've got to win the race.'" Christian said. "We were like, 'Oh God.' We just got pumped up and knew what we had to do."

The Newport quartet touched first, allowing Newport Harbor to rally for an 85-85 tie Thursday.

Corona del Mar was dominant on the boys' side, winning the Battle of the Bay for the third straight year by posting a 117-53 victory.

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The Newport girls were down, 79-77, headed into the final relay. Melstrom was actually hoping the Sailors would get first and third in that last relay, which would allow them to win the meet by four points. But CdM's "A" team (Ally McCormick, Tori Gabert, Pippa Saunders and Hollace Barden) and "B" team (Ellen Naruse, Victoria Pierotti, Natalie Wong and Devon Greenlee) finished second and third, respectively.

Melstrom was still happy after his top team touched in 3 minutes, 39.60 seconds, easily a season-best.

"It's a victory for us, for sure," he said. "For what we've had to work with all season, this was our best meet by far. We'll take the tie. It's not a loss. You can't tie in water polo, but in a swim meet a tie is better than a loss."

The Sailors were missing water polo standouts Maddy McLaren (back injury) and Sarah Wilkey (sickness). Duckworth helped pick up some slack, winning the 200 individual medley (2:11.11) and 500 free (5:10.70). Naruse was second in each race.

Freshman Marissa Robertson was another double-event winner for Newport Harbor. She won the 50 free in a personal-best 24.72 seconds, a CIF Southern Section Division I automatic time. Robertson grinned and gave a high-five to her mom at the scorer's table after finding out the time, and she later won the 100 breast (1:12.51) as well. Carpenter also came up large, as the Stanford-bound water polo player won the 100 back in 1:02.16.

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