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Boys' Swimming: CdM bounces back

Garkani leads Sea Kings, who finish second at meet featuring Division 1 powers.

March 21, 2013|By Matt Szabo

CORONA DEL MAR — Christian Garkani is headed to the University of Louisville next year, and the Corona del Mar High senior is well aware that the Cardinals are the top overall seed in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament.

"It's pretty cool, and I like basketball a lot so it's good," Garkani said. "Of course [I'll be watching]. My friends were like, 'You've got to make a bracket and put Louisville first.'"

Garkani said he didn't plan to fill out a bracket until Thursday night, acknowledging he was late since the first day of games already was over. He has been plenty busy this week, with the CdM boys' swim team hosting big meets on back-to-back days.

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Louisville won its first tournament game Thursday afternoon, easily defeating North Carolina A&T. At about the same time, the Sea Kings were hosting their own swimming version of March Madness, a quad meet against Capistrano Valley, Los Angeles Loyola and Edison. The four teams were the top four finishers at last year's CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals.

Loyola finished first at the meet, which used CIF finals scoring, with 413.5 points. But CdM finished a strong second with 322 points, ahead of defending Division 1 champion Capo Valley (315). Edison was a distant fourth with 165.5 points.

Corona del Mar has had tri-meets with Loyola and Capo Valley in the past, but those meets were scored as dual meets rather than using CIF scoring. CdM, which finished second last year at Division 1 finals, felt it gained momentum from Thursday's meet.

"We haven't won [CIF] in my career at CdM, but I would like to do it this senior year," Garkani said. "I think we definitely can. Liam Karas is stepping up a lot, and he's only a junior. And Blake Motal is still going fast in the 50 [free]. I think we still have a good chance. Anything can happen at CIF, and I still think we're definitely top contenders."

Garkani contributed big. He won the 100-yard freestyle in 46.40 seconds, followed by Karas in second in 47.25. Garkani also took the 200 free in 1:40.88, an All-American consideration time. He said both times were season-bests and he also led off the 200 medley relay, which touched in another All-American consideration time of 1:34.89. Garkani, Tyler Lin, Justin Hanson and Motal were edged by Loyola (1:34.72).

CdM Coach Barry O'Dea did not give his team a fiery pep talk before Thursday's meet, like he did before Wednesday's 90-80 Pacific Coast League loss to University. But his words may have hit home.

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