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Boys lead CdM

Namba helps Sea Kings win key Pacific Coast League meet over University.

April 18, 2012|By Matt Szabo

IRVINE — One of the highlights at last weekend's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival occurred in the set by rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, when a hologram version of the late Tupac Shakur rose up onto the stage and began performing.

Corona del Mar High senior Jared Namba went to Coachella again this year. The CdM boys' swim team needed the real Namba, not a hologram, in its key Pacific Coast League meet Wednesday at University High.

Namba and the Sea Kings, fresh off spring break, responded with a big victory. They pulled away for a 91.5-78.5 win, improving to 4-1 in league.

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The two-time defending CIF Southern Section Division 1 champion University girls were too much for CdM. The Trojans won 10 of 11 events for a 125-45 victory, handing CdM (4-1 in league) its first league loss.

Coach Barry O'Dea said Wednesday was big for his boys, who have won five straight league titles. Last year went down to the wire, with CdM edging out second-place Uni, 484-482.5, at league finals.

CdM lost to Northwood in a league meet earlier this season, albeit one where several of the Sea Kings' top swimmers were in Florida for junior nationals. If CdM had lost again Wednesday, the best his team could have done was a tie for first in league by winning league finals.

"Even at Coachella, in the back of my mind I knew we had to win [Wednesday]," Namba said.

The Columbia-bound Namba won the 100-yard butterfly in 50.89 seconds, holding off his friend from University, Corey Okubo. He also won the 100 backstroke in 52.14 and led off the winning 200 medley relay team also featuring Tyler Lin, Christian Garkani and Ari Marks (1:36.57). Namba closed the meet by anchoring the winning 400 free relay team, which also had Blake Motal, Liam Karas and Justin Hanson and touched in 3:17.73.

Before the final relay, O'Dea tried to motivate Namba. He told him that CdM was only up by two points. In fact, the Sea Kings were ahead by seven points and had all but clinched victory.

"It was kind of shocking," Namba said. "From my point of view, we were winning by more than two points, so I was kind of confused. He seemed dead serious. But I know that our team can pull it together, because we have in the past."

Marks and Motal dominated in the sprint freestyle events. Marks won the 100 free in 48.41 and was second in the 50 free. Motal won the 50 in 21.93, tying for second in the 100 with University's Sam Lee. CdM's Garkani also won the 200 free, in 1:45.97.

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