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Duckworth answers call

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Newport Harbor sophomore helps girls' swim team earn tie with Back Bay rival Corona del Mar.

April 29, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com

Melstrom said Duckworth plans to use these two meets to prepare for the CIF Southern Section Division I meet. Next week, Duckworth will face something she has not had much of this season.

"She hasn't had the competition all year," Melstrom said. "It's been a slow progression back down for her, and now in the league championship meet, she's going to have to perform in the league prelims to even get to the finals."

Both Duckworth and Melstrom attribute the slower times to Duckworth switching clubs.

She is dealing with a different coach and different training style. She is glad she is.

Duckworth is no longer with the Irvine AquaZot Swim Club. She is with the Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team.

"It was kind of taking the fun out of swimming," said Duckworth of her former club. "[My coach Brian Pajer] was very tough. He had a very forceful way of handling things. [He] was very verbally on top of you. I was used to dealing with it kind of, but last summer between not dropping [times] and him being like that, it kind of was all overwhelming.

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"High school is definitely relaxed compared to club swimming, but I like [high school] a lot because the team is so much more together. I mean, club, you practice with them every day, but high school, it's more motivating with team bonding and team fun. Club's year round and there's no really big part to it. In high school, you always have CIF."

At Newport Harbor, Duckworth always has the Battle of the Bay to look forward to against CdM. She contributed to last season's upset win at CdM and now a tie at home.

Duckworth can proudly say that she has never lost to the Sea Kings in the annual rivalry meet.

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Casey Duckworth

Hometown: Costa Mesa

Born: Dec. 1, 1994

Height: 5-foot-6

Weight: 130 pounds

Sport: Girls' swimming

Individual events: 200 individual medley, 500 freestyle

Coach: Brian Melstrom

Favorite food: Spaghetti

Favorite movie: "Due Date"

Favorite athletic moment: "Last year at the Edison dual meet, me and my best friend Sarah Moss [of Edison], we both wore our racing suits and we raced in the 200 IM and I [won in 2:05 and] beat my best time by three seconds.

Week in review: Duckworth anchored the Sailors' 400-yard freestyle relay team to a victory, ensuring that Newport Harbor tied Corona del Mar, 85-85, in the Battle of the Bay meet. Duckworth also placed first in the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 11.11 seconds and first in the 500 freestyle in 5:10.70. She helped the 200 freestyle relay to a first-place showing (1:41.77).

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