BELMONT SHORES, CA., May 12. WINNING must be habit-forming for the La Serna girls and Paso Robles' boys' swimming and diving teams. For the second consecutive year, both schools splashed to their respective CIF Division III team titles at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.
La Serna won by a 279-207 margin over Camarillo with Yucapia (182)third. Paso Robles scored 250 to outdistance Palm Desert (198) and Padadena Poly (185).
La Serna was led by soph Morgan Hentzen's wins in the 200-500 frees (1:51.75-4:56.35) and her legs on the winning 200-400 free relays. She swam third on the 200 free quartet that clocked 1:40.12, just off the meet record of 1:39.68 and was anchored by older sister Courtney; and led off the 400 free in 52.64, by far the fastest split of the meet by any swimmer. This foursome won in 3:39.02, a second-plus faster than their winning time of 3:40.13 from last season.
Hentzen moved up a notch from her runner-up finish in the 200 free last season (then pr 1:53.20) and defended her 500 free crown – improving upon her 4:56.66 that won in 2000.
Another promising sophomore, Centennial's Ashley DePaul, defended her 200 IM title (2:06.11 vs. 2:05.60 last year) and also added the fly title (57.19) at the expense of '00 winner Alnissa Hilyard of La Serna, who clocked 57.67.
In the sprints, the winner was San Luis Obispo junior Katie Hicks, who won in 24.02-52.44. Hicks was third in '00 in the 50 (24.62) and jumped from seventh in the 100 (55.07 with a pr 54.90 in the prelims).
The DIII 50-100 free records are 22.69-49.76, and were set 16 years ago by a young lady who was then swimming for Westlake. She matriculated to the University of Florida, swam in a couple of Olympics at Seoul and Barcelona (although never winning an individual medal) and retired a decade ago. She then became a model and the "Tae Bo" lady but still had the itch to compete again. So she unretired, hied herself to Stanford to train under Richard Quick, and last summer became the oldest female American record-setter ever when she won the 50 free and 100 fly at the Olympic trials — then won a pair of bronzes at the Big O's in Sydney — at the "tender" age of 33.
And who might this "grizzled veteran" be? Would you believe Beverly Hills' own Dara Torres.
Poly's Kristin Olson was 1-meter diving champ (405.30 points) and thus defended her title from last year; freshman Erin Craft (Oxnard) was fastest in the 100 back (59.41); and Santa Monica's Molie Lewis ended her prep career by moving from seventh last season in the 100 breast to the top o' the heap in '01 with a close 1:07.74-1:07.98 win over Camarillo junaior Jessi Rodriguez.
Paso Robles parlayed its superior depth to victory, with its best individual finish a win in the 200 IM for the second-consecutive season by senior Justin Boyes (1:52.09). His winning time last year was a 1:52.70 and the meet record is 1:51.16.
Tustin junior Michael Cavic was the star of the meet, winning the 100 back-fly and leading off the 200 free relay in 20.21 — by far and away the fastest 50 free by any prepster in the '00-'01 season, be he from a public, parochial or independent school.
Cavic's time is a meet record and just off the state record of 20.17 by current University of Texas All-America Leffie Crawford, who set the standard three years ago. The national record is 19.91 by former Texas prep ace Anthony Robinson, who just completed his senior season at Stanford.
How good did Robinson become? Good enough to win NCAAs this season (pr and school-record 19.15). Just whom did Mr. Robinson defeat to win his first NCAA title?
How 'bout the defending co-Olympic 50 free champ, Mr. Anthony Ervin of Cal Berkeley, who did an uncharaceristically slow (for him) 19.23 — this after blasting the Pac-10-Cal standard (19.15) with his sizzling 19.07 to win Pac-10s not three weeks earlier at this same Belmont Plaza Pool.
In any event, Cavic won the 100 fly in a meet record 48.26, breaking the old DIII standard of 49.33 by future UCLA All-America Randy Hartley from a decade earlier. The state record belongs to Barcelona 100 fly gold medalist Pablo Morales (48.06) and the national record is 47.81 by Stanford's Dan Westcott when he was a Texas schoolboy several years ago.
Cavic's pr is 47.10 — a full second faster than the listed 15-16 Natiioanl Age Group record — done at the Speedo Challenge meet here in March. However, inasmuch as Cavic will represent Yugoslavia at this summer's World Championships in Fukuoka, his time cannot be accepted as a NAG record since such recordss may be set only by Americans.
Cavic won the 100 back in 49.85, slightly slower than his winning DII 49.40 from last season — which ranked him second nationally. He was also No. 2 nationally in the fly in '00. Cavic swims for Coach Dave Salo's powerhouse Irvine Novas USA Swimming team and is a swimmer to watch in the buildup to Athens.
The all-time fastest prep 100 fly time belongs to Bolles School alum Alex Lim (46.74) set at the Florida 4A state meet in November 1999. Lim swam for Cal last season and competes internationally for Malaysia.
The only other doubler was Poly senior Timothy Wang, who won the 100-200 frees in 46.49-1:41.89. Wang thus defends his 100 free title from last season (46.82) and moves up a notch in the double-century, where he did a 1:43.95 in '00.
Poly won the 200 medley (1:38.95) and 400 free (3:14.91) relays, with 500 free champ Van Der Touw leading off both. His backstroke split, 25.14, was the event's fastest, as was his free split (48.14).