LONG BEACH — Kristine Quance may have graduated, but there is still a dominant area swimmer in the City Section.
Birmingham High sophomore Gretchen Ballard hasn't approached the national records Granada Hills' Quance made routine in 1993, but Ballard added to her growing collection of marks in the City Section finals Wednesday at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.
As a freshman, Ballard broke City records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. This year, Ballard switched her emphasis to the longer races but the results were the same.
In the 200 freestyle, Ballard broke the City record held by her older sister, Heather, with a mark of 1:52.90, two-tenths of a second faster than Heather swam in 1992. Heather, who now swims at USC, attended the finals.
Gretchen Ballard faltered in the final 50 meters, but still finished nearly 10 seconds in front of Granada Hills' Erin Shaw.
Heather also owned the 500 freestyle record with a 4:56.46. Despite Gretchen's efforts, the mark stood, but her time of 6:11.59 was nearly 30 seconds faster than that of Samantha Sommatino of North Hollywood.
"I'm a little disappointed," Gretchen said. "I'm probably still a little tired from the 200."
Ballard was essentially a one-person team as the Braves finished in sixth in the team standings, 129 points behind defending champion Palisades.
Granada Hills was the top area team among the girls, finishing second for the second successive year.
In the boys' 200 freestyle, junior Aaron Robinson of El Camino Real won for the third year in a row in 1:50.41, only .09 ahead of Eric Cole of Taft.
"I think I got it on the last stroke," Robinson said. "I knew it would be close from the start. I looked over each time I took a breath and he stayed right with me."
In an emotion-tinged race, Cleveland came from behind in the final 50 yards to win the 200 freestyle relay. The Cavaliers didn't field a team the last two years.
El Camino Real's Rick Ullman became a double City champion with a 1:04.21 clocking in the 100 breaststroke. Ullman won the 152-pound title in wrestling in Febrary.
Venice held a six-point lead heading into the 400 freestyle relay, then held off defending boys' champion Birmingham to win the event and the team title.
Birmingham, helped by Christian Wilson's victory in the 100 butterfly (56.30), finished second in the final race to hold on to second. Palisades finished third and El Camino Real fourth.
Other area individual winners included Taft senior Ryan Nord in the 100 backstroke, in his final race.
"My time was slower than last year, but I still pulled it out," Nord said. "I'm going to concentrate on studying now at Berkeley. Maybe if I get a chance, I'll go back to swimming."
Spring Langford of North Hollywood won the girls' 100 breaststroke in 1:10.97.