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Barden provides speed for Sea Kings

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

CdM senior, who excels in the freestyle events, helped Sea Kings pull out win in Battle of the Bay.

April 13, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Courtesy of Jackie…)

Nobody could call Corona del Mar High senior Hollace Barden a latecomer to swimming.

She's been swimming since she was 4 years old, always having fun with it. In the summers, she has been a staple for the Newport Hills Killer Whales neighborhood swim team.

She made the varsity swim team at CdM as a freshman. But Barden was also playing water polo and volleyball, and soon she had to make a choice.

"It was way too much," Barden said Tuesday from Kusadasi, Turkey, where she and her family were in the midst of a 10-day European vacation. "I had to decide on one of them. I just chose swimming, because I thought it was the most fun."

She joined the Irvine-based Aquazot Swim Club, one of the most competitive club teams in the country, at the start of her junior year. Now a latecomer to club swimming, you could definitely call Barden that.


Brynne Wong and Jared Namba are other talented CdM swimmers who swim at Aquazot. Wong has been swimming there since she was 5 years old, and Namba for several years as well.

Barden was almost 18 years old when she joined the club. It was a big change, jumping up to swimming as many as 10,000 yards a day.

"Since I was the new kid, I wanted to impress everybody I guess," she said. "You try real hard the first couple of days, until you're wiped out. After the first week, you're so ready for Sunday so you can have a break. But I knew Brynne, and I was already meeting new friends that I liked a lot.

"The people kept me in there through the hard times, I guess," Barden added with a laugh.

She can definitely laugh about it now. Everything has worked out for Barden. She has committed to swim next year at UC Santa Barbara.

In high school, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week is one of the most reliable freestyle swimmers around. Barden showed it April 3 in the big Battle of the Bay meet against rival Newport Harbor.

She won the 50 and 100-yard freestyles, and also swam the anchor leg for the winning 200 and 400 free relay teams. In the latter event, CdM needed a first and third-place finish to win the meet. Pippa Saunders, Ally McCormick, Brynne Wong and Barden provided the first place, touching in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 automatic time of 3:34.70. Soon after, they watched Eliza Britt, Grace Morgan, Alex Namba and Natalie Wong finish third to clinch the victory.

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