When Malibu High swimmers lined up for their dips in competitive waters at last week’s Tri-Valley League Championships, their coaches sat back calmly and observed.
One coach, Mike Mulligan, said he and Tim Segesman, the boys and girls swim team coaches, did so because they have supreme confidence in the Sharks.
“They just all seemed so confident once they got into the water,” Mulligan said. “It was just fun to watch them swim.”
The Sharks swam off with top finishes at the league event. The boys’ squad won their division, while the girls’ team finished second in theirs.
Mulligan, also Malibu’s boys’ water polo coach, said the Sharks posted their fastest times of the season during the event that featured swimmers from five other schools.
“It was really rewarding,” he said. “They encouraged each other and pushed each other to a great swim meet. It was great teamwork.”
The coach said two swimmers who had very impressive times were 500-yard medley swimmers Jack Hughes, a junior, and Nathan Rucker-Jensen, a sophomore. The two finished in third and fifth places, respectively, in the event won by teammate Kennan Hotchkiss’ time of four minutes, 47.93 seconds
Hughes swam the event in 5:12.11, while Rucker-Jensen swam it in 5:19.96.
“Both had huge time drops,” Mulligan said. “In the longer distances, you are going to see bigger time drops, but for those two kids — that was huge for them.”
The boys swim team tallied 345 points to win the Tri-Valley League title, and the 500 medley wasn’t the only event the group swam all over.
Hotchkiss, a sophomore, also won the 200 freestyle in 1:48.19. Junior Marcel Hurtubise won the 100 butterfly in 55.33, and senior Ben Tran topped the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.64.
Second-place finishers included sophomore Julian Mora’s 48.97 in the 100 freestyle, senior Tobias Jensen’s 2:07.29 in the 200 IM and Rucker-Jensen’s 22.91 in the 50 freestyle. Tran’s 49.72 placed him one spot behind Mora in the 100 freestyle. Jensen finished the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.27 for third-place.
Jensen, Hotchkiss, Tran and Hurtubise won the 200 medley relay in 1:43.93. Hurtubise, Mora, Rucker-Jensen and Brady won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:31.71. Hotchkiss, Brady, Mora and Tran took first in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:19.10.
The girls tallied 222 points in the league championship, 88 points behind first-place Foothill Tech. Junior Amy Armitage won the 500 freestyle in 5:22.65 and finished second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.85. Her classmate, Gaia Hinds, finished the 100 backstroke in 1:05.43 for second place. Sophomore Alex Mora finished the 50 freestyle third in 25.85 and junior Kate Pietryk placed third in the 200 freestyle, clocking in at 2:04.06.
Armitage, Pietryk, Hinds and Mora won the 400 freestyle in 3:48.82. Sophomore Amy Perna, Armitage, Mora and Pietryk won the 200 freestyle in 1:45.53.
Mulligan said the boys and girls swimmers’ fast performances in the league championships came after a regular season in which they continuously swam at a fast pace for long distances in the pool during practice. The coach said due to that, Sharks were tired, so with a week left in the regular season, “we started to decrease the yardage with easier intervals.
“Their bodies are feeling strong, so they are able to race their best times,” Mulligan said.
The boys and girls are competing in the CIF Southern Section Swimming & Diving Ford Championships at the Riverside Aquatics Complex this Wednesday and Thursday.
Mulligan said CIF is icing on the cake for the Sharks, competing in Division III.
“We would love to see everyone improve their times again,” he said. “We are in a tough division, so it will be nice to see how the kids fare against the top swimmers in Southern California.”
The championships will be streamed and archived online at cifss.org/sport-news/watch-2017-cif-ss-ford-swimming-championships-live/.