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Falcons Give Loporchio His Going-Away Victory

Southern Section swimming: Crescenta Valley boys win third consecutive Division II title for retiring coach.


LONG BEACH — The Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming team gave retiring Coach Pete Loporchio the best going-away present possible by winning its third consecutive Southern Section Division II championship Saturday at Belmont Plaza Pool.

Crescenta Valley won just three events, but its depth was enough to accumulate 251 points and hold off second-place Loyola (219) and third-place Santa Margarita (187). Hart finished fifth with 133 points.

The Falcons' determination was evident down to the last event, when Crescenta Valley needed only to finish the 400-yard freestyle relay to wrap up the title, yet still tried to win. Senior Travis Taylor started the anchor leg half a length behind Loyola's top swimmer, George Gamboa, but used a late surge to out-touch his opponent.

"We knew all we had to do was finish the race to win. So we were really careful about not jumping too soon and not getting disqualified," Taylor said. "But that was my last [section] race and I wanted to go all out. I'm especially happy to go out on top and to send our coach out on top. This sort of completes the circle."

Loporchio, who watched the Falcon girls finish second, was delighted.

"I'm extremely proud of both teams," said Loporchio, who is retiring after eight seasons and four Division II titles to spend more time with his family. "This is the best the girls have done since I've been here and the boys had to work much harder to win this year. We really had to scratch and claw for this. All the kids responded so well."

Junior James Jenkins led the boys' team with first-place and automatic All-American qualifying times in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. Jenkins won the 50 in 20.71--nearly a full second faster than runner-up Eric Chung of Barstow (21.66). Half an hour later he won the 100 in 45.32--a whopping 1.83 seconds faster than his Friday qualifying time.

"I wasn't thinking about my time so much as just swimming the fastest I could," said Jenkins, who beat his previous-best time in the 50 by eight-hundredths of a second.

Taylor won the 500 freestyle (4:33.03) and swam second in the 200 freestyle (1:42.76). Senior teammate Sean Winchell was third in the 100 butterfly (52.54) and sixth in the 100 backstroke (53.33), and junior William Ban was fifth in both the 200 individual medley (1:57.26) and the 500 freestyle (4:41.57).

Halfway through the meet, the Falcon boys led Loyola, 150-143, while the Crescenta Valley girls trailed Santa Margarita by only 11 points, presenting the possibility that the Falcons could win both team titles for the first time in school history. But the girls fell just short, totaling 206 points to Santa Margarita's 217.5. Harvard-Westlake was sixth with 120 points.

Falcon Tawne Fishback was third in the girls 100 butterfly (58.15) and Alexis Sheridan was fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:01.65) and fifth in the 200freestyle (1:54.82). The 200and 400 freestyle teams placed second.

Junior Maureen Farrell of Alemany tied the Division II meet record of 55.56 seconds in the girls' 100 backstroke, equaling the time of Beverly Hills' Meredith Booker in 1992. Farrell also won the 50 freestyle in 23.61. She tied University's Jessica Hayes for first place overall in the girls individual rankings with 40 points. Junior Jennifer Schwalb of Burroughs was fifth with 35 points.

Division III finals--Villanova Prep junior Keiko Amano swam second in the girls 100 freestyle with a time of 52.46 seconds--one hundreth of second faster than her qualifying time. She also finished third in the girls 200 freestyle (1:53.28).

Meghan McAllen of Flintridge Prep put on a late surge to place seventh in the girls' 200 individual medley in 2:14.87, much faster than her qualifying mark of 2:16.04. Teammate Laura O'Connor placed fourth in the 100backstroke in 1:00.22 and finished eighth in the 100 freestyle (54.91).

Sophomore Kosuke Amano, Keiko's younger brother, finished fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:44.92) and fourth in the 500 freestyle (4:40.27).

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