About the time Casey Duckworth was on the block to anchor the 400-yard freestyle relay, her teammates gathered to watch. All eyes were on Duckworth, racing in the event that was the last one in the day for Newport Harbor High.
Duckworth knew what was at stake in the Battle of the Bay girls' swimming meet against Corona del Mar last week. She remembered how Coach Brian Melstrom drew it up before any competitor jumped in the pool.
In Melstrom's eyes, the final event was going to decide whether the Sailors won or lost. None of the two was going to happen.
On the third leg, Catherine Carpenter gave the Sailors a slight lead before Duckworth dove in. She was working with a half-a-second edge, enough to convince her of one thing.
"I just knew that there was no way we could let them beat us," Duckworth said.
The sophomore made sure of it. One of the youngest in the water held off the nearest challenger. The Sailors finished first in the 400 freestyle relay in 3 minutes, 39.60 seconds, capping a come-from-behind tie.