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PREP EXTRA / A weekly look at the high school sports
scene in the Southland

Venice Boys Again Take City Title

Swimming: Granada Hills wins girls' championship. El Camino Real's Brown, Cleveland's Jones are best of meet.


Venice High's boys and Granada Hills' girls continued their domination of the City Section swimming championships Wednesday at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.

Venice won its fifth consecutive boys' title with 220 points, and Granada Hills claimed its sixth consecutive girls' title with 255 points.

El Camino Real was second in the boys' competition with 210 points and second in the girls' event with 217. Granada Hills' boys were third with 194. Palisades' girls were third with 204.

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

Chris Aihara sparked Venice's boys by defending his City title in the 200-yard freestyle and taking second in the 100 free.

Aihara, a senior, timed a personal-record 1:51.32 in the 200 to edge out top-seeded Ilya Novichenok of Granada Hills (1:51.65) for the title.

Aihara clocked 51.03 seconds in the 100, trailing only Granada Hills' William Chae, who won in 49.14.

"I'm just really happy right now," said Aihara, who also was part of Venice's winning 200 free relay team. "I swam all my lifetime bests today."

The Gondoliers needed them after losing much of last year's championship team to graduation and competing with only nine swimmers. "We had to work really hard to get where we are right now," Aihara said. "It was a lot harder to win this year."

Granada Hills' girls' felt the same.

"We wanted to win this," said the Highlanders' Jennifer Ward, a junior transfer from Sylmar who claimed her first City titles with victories in the 50-yard freestyle (24.95) and the 100 free (53.47).

Reseda Cleveland's Amy Jones was selected girls' swimmer of the meet, breaking her own records in the 200 freestyle with a 1:49.95 and in the 100 butterfly with a 58.28.

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