"It's about seniors sticking it out and doing what it takes for the team," O'Dea said. "Those are two guys who could have said, 'Hey, it's my senior year. I want to go and have a good time' … They're not year-round club swimmers. Those are water polo guys, and they're paying back to the program. It's huge. I was saying, 'Thank you.' "
Even without Northwestern-bound senior standout John Kim (sprained ankle), Corona del Mar prevailed again. O'Dea said Kim, who sprained the ankle falling on stairs earlier in the week, was originally set to be out two weeks. O'Dea said if he doesn't receive a different timetable from Kim's doctor by Saturday morning, he won't enter Kim into the CIF Southern Section Division I meet, which would strike a definite blow to the Sea Kings' CIF title hopes.
On Friday afternoon, though, it was all about the swimmers who were actually there on deck. The Sea Kings can thank Leach and Bearer. They swam the leadoff and anchor legs, respectively, on the "B" relay on the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay. Corona del Mar led by three-and-a-half points going into the relay, but the "B" team of Leach, Jake Wyatt, Liam Karas and Bearer won their consolation heat in 3 minutes, 15.64 seconds.
That stretched CdM's lead to 7 1/2 points, meaning all the Sea Kings had to do was finish a spot behind Uni on the "A" relay to win the meet. They did, as Garrett Larson, Blake Motal, Jared Namba and Matt Berry touched second in 3:11.40.
"It's depth, and at meets like this it's about depth," O'Dea said. "CIF's going to be about speed. League finals and league meets are about depth."