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Uni takes crown from CdM

High School Swimming

Sea Kings see league title streak end, but boys and girls ready for fast swims next week at CIF.

May 04, 2012|By Matt Szabo

CORONA DEL MAR — Tom Norton graduated from Corona del Mar High in 1993, and he's even not afraid to give the correct year.

"You can put '2003' if you want," he joked.

Norton was in a good mood early Friday evening on the pool deck at his alma mater, and it was easy to see why. He and his University High boys' swim team came to CdM and took something that had been in the Sea Kings' possession the last five years — the league title.

The Trojans, helped by a strong showing in the preliminaries on Wednesday, had enough to dethrone the Sea Kings. University finished first with 493 points, followed by CdM with 457.

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Led by Brynne Wong, CdM's girls set four school records and finished third at league finals, behind Uni and Irvine. However, the Sea Kings officially finished tied for second in league due to beating Irvine in the teams' dual meet this year.

University's boys took a big lead early in the meet, taking four of the top five spots in the 200-yard individual medley.

"We had four solid guys in a lot of races," Norton said. "I'd say what helped us out was the guys went out and did what they had to do in the prelims, to set us up for the finals. Getting three guys in the top eight was key. A lot of times they say you win it in the prelims, and that's what our boys did. Our third and fourth boys' swimmers in each event stepped it up and did what they had to do. Everyone swam great.

"It's a great feeling, especially competing with [CdM Coach] Barry [O'Dea]. We sit next to each other the whole time and crack jokes, give each other a hard time. He was stoked. He shook my hand and said, 'Hey man, good job with the guys, you've really stepped up the last two years.' That meant a lot to me, coming from him."

Last year, CdM edged Uni at league finals by just 1.5 points. O'Dea said midway through Friday's meet that if his boys had swam at prelims like they did at finals, it would have been a different story. But the Sea Kings still did have several solid swims.

Columbia-bound senior Jared Namba set a meet record in the 100 backstroke, touching in a lifetime-best 49.40 seconds and lowering his own school record. The time is fourth in Orange County history.

"It was definitely a big shocker," Namba said. "I didn't expect to break 50 at all at this meet."

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