Damien/St. Lucy’s relay teams sink CHS swimming
The stage was set for an all-important Sierra League encounter against the good-at-all-sports Damien/St. Lucy’s schools. Wolfpack swimmers took to Damien’s pool Wednesday afternoon and squared off against two well-conditioned squads. The girls team fell at the last couple of hurdles, dropping the meet to the Regents 93-77. Claremont boys were unable to keep it close, and lost to the Spartans 97-73.
Damien came into the meet on the back of only 2 losses in their last 100 swim meets. The Spartans’ consistency has been remarkable considering the competition, with the streak dating back to a decade ago. St Lucy’s is also strong this year, but slightly less so than their male counterparts. Still, the Regents will challenge for the title for 2 more seasons before they and the Spartans switch divisions.
Claremont head coach Courtney Eads expressed confidence in her boys and girls squads after the meet, even with the loss. “We beat South Hills in our first league meet. I thought we had a great chance to win the meet, especially with our girls team. Damien has an extremely tough group of athletes. I believe we can still challenge for CIF spots.”
The Lady Wolfpack looked impressive during the first half of the meet. Samantha Duran excelled in the 200-yard freestyle race, posting an important early win for Claremont. Mary Hanna, Fernanda Suarez, and Melissa Oei all placed high in their respective events, as Claremont went into the final third of the meet’s events tied on 55 points.
For the boys, Luke Miller won the 50-yard freestyle. Ben Jardine followed up by placing first in the 200-yard individual medley, beating his competitors by a wide margin. Dylan Tarazona showed his speed off the starting blocks by smoking Damien swimmers in the 50-yard freestyle. Miller also won the 500-yard free, and Duran won the same long-distance race for the Lady Pack.
However, the relay teams could not pick up points. Eads noted that she would need to make a number of changes before the next meet. “The boys lost steam after the break, as did the girls. We knew the meet was well within reach, but we did not have as many good 2nd-half performances as we had hoped. My team hopes to try different things. For this Friday, I have a lot of work to do in putting people where they are strongest, but I will let my swimmers have a lot more say in who swims which races.”
Claremont gears up for Friday afternoon’s meet against Chino Hills. The meet will be at home at 3:15 p.m. The Pack expect to bounce back with aplomb, and hope that the tactical reshuffle pays dividends in the water.