Wrap-Up: Foothill swim dominates Frontier League Championships, 12 swimmers to compete in CIF Finals

Aniah McKenzie

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On Tuesday, May 5, six teams gathered at Fillmore High School to face off in the preliminary rounds of the Frontier League Championships. Swimmers who placed in the top six competed in the Championship Finals, while those who placed seventh to twelfth competed in the Consideration Finals, both held on Thursday, May 7.

The meet started off in Foothill’s favor when freshmen Lily Armstrong and Josie Thorp took first and second place respectively in the 200-meter freestyle, earning spots in the Championship Finals. Freshman Chloe Martinez, who swam an unfamiliar event, earned ninth place with a consolation finals time of 2:55.13.

The boys’ team also started off strong, with freshmen Alex Abele and Richie Brandi and sophomores Kevin Waechter and Niko Ford claiming first, second, third and fifth place in the 200-meter freestyle, respectively.

The girls 200-meter individual medley saw sophomore Meagan McKillican earn first place with a championship finals time of 2:26.65. Freshmen Jaina Malach, Abigail Massar and Ari Saunders took home third, fifth, and sixth place, guaranteeing them spots in the championship finals as well.

The girls 50-meter freestyle also saw great success when sophomore Lezly Plahn swam to first place in 25.79 seconds, and when senior Ariana Singer landed in second place with a time of 28.22 seconds. Freshman Serafina McClain finished in 31.40, also qualifying her for championship finals. Junior Vanessa Villalpando claimed ninth place, guaranteeing her a spot in the consolation finals.

Senior Ethan Tan finished in sixth place in the 50-meter freestyle with a championship finals time of 26.65. Coming in just behind him was sophomore Parker Harris, who placed seventh with a consolation finals time of 26.96.

There were multiple events where Foothill swimmers took home first and second place, including the 500-meter freestyle with Armstrong and Thorp; 500-meter freestyle with Brandi and Ford; and the 100-meter backstroke with Modglin and Waechter.

Senior and varsity girls’ swim captain Ariana Singer said that the meet went well, and looked forward to seeing how Foothill’s relay teams would do at the League Finals on Thursday, as they didn’t compete in the preliminaries.

Swim coach Jason York gave out a special thanks to Jeanne Thorp, Adam McKillican and Lan Malach for volunteering to time the Foothill lanes during the preliminaries.

“We couldn’t do it without our parents’ support,” he said.

The Frontier League Championship was on Thursday, where Foothill competed against six other teams. Foothill received gold medals for both girls and boys. The girls had a total of 369 points and the boys had 312 points. Both groups had over 100 points between them and second places.

York felt that the leading swimmers of the meet were freshmen Lily Armstrong, Josie Thorp, Alex Abele, Jaina Malach, Cameron Zimmer (JV), Richie Brandi, Abigal Masser and Chloe Martinez.

Leading sophomore swimmers were Lezly Plahn, Josh Modglin, Kevin Waechter, Niko Ford, Meagan McKillican and Nicole Bellmore (JV). Leading seniors were Ariana Singer and Ethan Tan.

Each swimmer is only allowed to do two events, and freshman Lily Armstrong and sophomores Lezly Plahn and Josh Modglin all won both their events.

Coach Jason York felt that the best race of the day was a boys’ 200-meter individual medley, which was supposed to be a close race.

“Josh Modglin improved over seven seconds, achieved a CIF Automatic Time Standard and won by over seven seconds,” York said.

Coach York believes the team has things they could still improve on, although they performed well.

“Everything can be improved because the best athletes know there is always room for improvement. Of course conditioning could be improved, but also certain skills like dives, turns, and breakouts [as one moves from underwater to the surface in a “fast and clean” motion] need to be improved,” York said.

York believed that the team had a very strong sense of camaraderie which positively affected the performance of the swimmers.

“What went well was the team spirit. I knew that if the swimmers were having fun and cheering for each other, the fast swimming would happen naturally because they had already put the hard work into their training and they were prepared,” York said.

York felt that the freshmen really stood out, although they either haven’t been swimming for very long, or haven’t ever swam for a high school team.

“All of our underclassmen stood out in a positive way because they are very young and have three to four years to improve even more than they did in one short season,” York said.

York also believes that the seniors stood out because they mentored the younger swimmers.

“The seniors stood out in a positive way because they provided leadership, depth, lots of points and stability,” York said.

For Foothill’s first year having a swim team, the Dragons performed very well throughout the season.

“Both the girls and boys teams were undefeated in league competitions this season. Overall, the girls won [six] meets and tied one [against Cate High School] and the boys won [five] meets and lost one [against Cate High School],” York said.

York also believes that sophomore swimmer Josh Modglin is very likely to place highly at CIF finals as well as the boys’ and girls’ relay teams.

“Josh Modglin went the entire season undefeated and has a chance to place very high at CIF Division 4 Finals. The relay teams including Josie Thorp, Lily Armstrong, Ariana Singer, Meagan McKillican and Lezly Plahn have a chance to place very high at CIF, as does the boys’ relay of Kevin Waechter, Josh Modglin, Simon Christie, Andres Coppa and Ethan Tan [as an alternate],” he said.

In this past season, the Dragons have won every single varsity relay offered for both boys and girls. The girls have won nine of eleven events, and the boys have won seven out of eleven events. Foothill also has a large number of swimmers who qualified for CIF finals.

Coach York believes that the team performed well this season and is looking forward to see how the team places at CIF Division 4 Prelims/Finals.

“[T]hese boys and girls are extremely talented and very special people. I look forward to reporting on CIF Prelims/Finals and wish everybody the best of luck on future endeavors,” York said. 

CIF Finals will be held tomorrow at Riverside Community College. Twelve Foothill swimmers have qualified: freshmen Andres Coppa, Abigail Massar, Josie Thorp, Lily Armstrong and Jaina Malach, sophomores Josh Modglin, Kevin Waechter, Meagan McKillican and Lezly Plahn, and seniors Simon Christie, Ethan Tan and Ariana Singer.

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