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CdM's fantastic four

High School Swimming

Namba, Larson, Garkani, Marks win boys' 200 medley relay and help Sea Kings finish third at CIF Division I finals Friday.

May 13, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

LONG BEACH — The medley relay requires strong swimmers in each of the four strokes.

That definitely was not a problem this year for the Corona del Mar High boys' swim team.

One of their main highlights Friday night at the CIF Southern Section Division I finals came in that meet-opening 200-yard medley relay, which they won for the second straight year at Belmont Plaza pool. Junior Jared Namba (backstroke), senior Garrett Larson (breaststroke), sophomore Christian Garkani (butterfly) and junior Ari Marks (freestyle) touched in 1 minute, 34.28 seconds.

"I'm a water polo player," said Marks, part of the Sea Kings' Division II boys' water polo title team in the fall. "I just swim because I have to. But you always just get really pumped up for big races. I was ready to go. I knew I had to go fast."

Marks passed his Loyola opponent in the adjacent lane on the freestyle leg, speeding to a quick 20.56 split. The Sea Kings as a team couldn't quite do the same, as Loyola won the Division I title going away with 287 points.

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CdM, racing without perhaps its top swimmer in senior John Kim (sprained ankle), finished third for the second straight year. The Sea Kings boys finished with 192.5 points, also behind Capistrano Valley (218 points).

CdM's girls, paced by sophomore Brynne Wong's second-place finish in the 100 butterfly, also finished the same as last year. The Sea Kings were 13th as a team, and University won its second straight girls' team title.

"John was probably our No. 1 swimmer," CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said. "You lose him going into CIF and you still finish third, I think that says a lot about what we have and what we're capable of. You can't be disappointed with third place on the boys' side. And on the girls' side, we made some huge strides this year."

That medley relay was definitely a highlight.

"Garkani stepped up at CIF in the butterfly role," O'Dea said. "He went a 22.9 today in the 50 fly in the medley relay. That's pretty dang fast. And it says a lot about Ari's heart that he was able to catch up and make the pass at the end."

Wong, the only local girl competing in an individual championship final, did not disappoint. Wong was second in the 100 fly in 56.32, just 21 hundredths of a second off her personal-best in the race won by Wong's club teammate, Irvine freshman Emily Jiang (55.36).

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