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Granada Hills Adds Another City Title


LONG BEACH — Amy Jones of Cleveland High had the best individual performance, but Granada Hills had the best girls' team at the City Section swimming championships Wednesday at Belmont Plaza.

Jones set City Section records in two events, but Granada Hills came away with its sixth consecutive City championship.

The Highlanders had 255 points. El Camino Real was second with 217 and Palisades third with 204.

In the boys' meet, Venice won its fifth consecutive title with 220 points, followed by El Camino Real at 210 and Granada Hills with 194.

"High school's completely a team thing," said sophomore Nicole Shiflett of Granada Hills, defending 200-yard freestyle champion who finished second to Jones in that race and second to teammate Jennifer Ward in the 100 freestyle.

Ward, a junior transfer from Sylmar, claimed her first City titles with victories in the 50 freestyle (24.95) and the 100 freestyle (53.47).

Jones, The Times' Valley/Ventura County region girls' swimmer of the year last season, clocked a record-setting time of 1:49.95 in the 200 freestyle, shattering the mark of 1:51:23 she set in preliminaries last week.

That title, along with another record-breaking victory in the 100 butterfly in 58.28 seconds, can be added to the City titles the versatile Jones won in the 50 and 100 freestyles last season and in 1998.

Jones' butterfly record lowered the mark of 58.34 she set in last week's preliminaries.

"I've been in kind of a slump lately and I wanted to mix it up a little bit," Jones said. "This was definitely something I was shooting for."

In the boys' meet, William Chae of Granada Hills won the 100 freestyle in 49.14 seconds.

Top-seeded Ilya Novichenok of Granada Hills was edged by Chris Aihara of Venice in the 200 freestyle. Aihara swam a career best 1:51.32 and Novichenok finished in 1:51.65.

The Conquistadores finished second to Venice in the boys' competition for the fourth consecutive season, and were runners-up in the girls' meet for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in five years.

Not every streak was left intact.

Senior Brian Brown of El Camino Real, three-time defending champion in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke, captured only the backstroke title. But he did it with a City-record time of 52.93, nearly seven seconds faster than runner-up Jose De La Torre of Venice (59.88) and was named the boys' swimmer of the meet.

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