It was one of those typical Battle of the Greenbelt face-offs. The cluster of Corona del Mar High incoming ninth-graders that was laughing and joking prior to the meet was the perfect example of the normal tenor of these neighborhood showdowns.
All in this specific group have been attending early morning workouts for the first time as preparation for Corona del Mar High water polo. Such dedication and hard work among peers creates a strong bond, and it was obvious that this group shared a special closeness.
However, when the individual swimming events started, the group split, some with Newport Hills and the other with Harbor View, and all were competing as hard as they could to perform at their peak against and in front of their buddies. The beauty was that the closeness and brotherhood-like competitiveness brought out numerous personal-best performances, and yet when the race was finished, it was all high-fives and big smiles. All across the board, 18-year-olds or 4-year-olds, swimmers from both teams tried as hard as they could to excel, but when it was over, they were all still real friends — it is the personification of genuine sport.