SWM: DP, San Marcos relays rewrite records at league finals

The Dos Pueblos seniors made sure they left a lasting impression in the final Channel League competition of their standout careers.

The trio of Alex Valente, Walker Bell and Blake Parrish went out with a bang at the league championship meet on Thursday at Santa Barbara High as they each won two individual events and combined on a 200 free relay team that broke meet and league records that held for 11 years. Bell and Valente also were part of a winning 200 medley relay team.

The performances by the DP senior aquastars carried the Chargers to a sweep of the dual meet title and the league championship meet. They scored 315 points in the meet to edge Ventura, which finished with 298. San Marcos was third with 233 points followed by Santa Barbara (212) and Buena (149).

The San Marcos girls also completed the league double. The dual meet champions racked up 403 points to easily capture the championship meet. Ventura was second with 281 points, Dos Pueblos took third (260), Santa Barbara placed fourth (183) and Buena was fifth (61).


Underclassmen led the way for the Royals. Junior Olivia Smith won the 200 free (1:53.13) and 100 butterfly (56.93); sophomore Paige Hauschild took first in the 50 free (24.26) and second in the 100 free, and freshman Maija Ninness touched second in the 100 back and third in the 100 free. Those three then teamed with freshman Piper Smith to win the 200 free and 400 free relays in meet-record times.

The Royals’ 200 free relay clocked 1:38.18, surpassing the previous mark of 1:39.10 set by Santa Barbara High in 2013.

“We thought we could do it in the 4-by-50 (200 relay); that’s what we were really going for,” said Hauschild, who recently returned from New Zealand, where she played in an international tournament and won a gold medal with the USA Water Polo Senior National Team. “Our main goal for our 4-by-100 relay was to beat Ventura, because we’re always really close with them and we lost to them in the dual meet. We weren’t really thinking about the meet record, so it’s really exciting.”

The Royals were in a tight battle with the Cougars after Piper Smith’s first leg. Ninness opened up a lead on the second leg and Olivia Smith and Hauschild maintained it the rest of the way.

“It was pretty intense,” said Ninness. “We were definitely going for that meet record, and our coach had pretty high expectations on us. I feel like we stepped up to that.”

The Royals clocked 3:32.49 in the 400 relay.

“I think we’re really happy how the relays turned out,” said Olivia Smith, who was able to stretch San Marcos’ lead over Ventura on the third leg of the 400 free relay. “We were just going for it. Everyone on the team was trying their best and really going after that meet record.”

Alex Valente won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke and was on two winning relay teams for Dos Pueblos.

Alex Valente won the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke and was on two winning relay teams for Dos Pueblos.

The Dos Pueblos boys came into the meet with their sights on breaking the records in the 200 free relay.

“Our goal was to win and set the record,” said Parrish.

The team of Parrish, Theo Velikov, Bell and Valente won in 1:25.34, breaking the meet and league records of 1:25.74 set by Dos Pueblos in 2004.

“We really wanted it,” said Bell, who swam an amazing third leg just three events after winning the 500 freestyle. “I knew I had to hop right out (after the 500) and hop right back in (the warm-down pool) and start warming down. I did a solid 350 (yards), so that was good, that was more than I thought I would get in. I really didn’t have to warm up (for the race). I just had to get as much (lactic) acid out of the legs and slow down the heartbeat.

“It’s only 50, so you got to go hard.”

Said Valente: “Everybody did what they needed to do and I touched the wall just under the record. It was great. It was a fun way to cap off my high school career.”

Valente, Walker and Parrish are headed to Pac-12 schools in the fall. Valente and Walker signed with USC for swimming while Parrish is Stanford bound for water polo.

Valente and Bell were busy from the start. They combined with Adam Dai and Ben Cable to open the meet with a victory in the 200 medley relay in 1:37.58. Bell was back in the water four events later, taking the 200 free in 1:41.25.

Valente easily won his specialty, the 100 fly, in 49.73. He is the defending CIF Division 1 champion and record holder in the event. He later won the 100 backstroke in 50.07.

Parrish won the 100 free title in 44.88 and the 100 breaststroke in 59.46.

Ventura’s Alicia Harrison set meet and league records in the girls 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.05. The old league mark was her own (1:04.79), set last year, and the previous meet record was 1:05.16, set by Michelle Dockendorf of Dos Pueblos in 2010.