ARROYO GRANDE — For the first time since 2014, the Templeton Eagles girls swim team brought home a league title. In 2014, it was a Los Padres League title and this year it is an Ocean League title as they barely beat out the ladies from Morro Bay, 587-575.
The Eagles swam strong all season but defeating Morro Bay took heroic effort at the finals due to the fact that Pirates have a dive team whose points also contribute to the overall team score.
“They really stepped it up this year, we didn’t have any divers so it was really close,” Templeton head swim coach Karen Neil said. At Prelims, on April 16, the Pirates scored 62 points via their diving team which gave the Eagles a bit of motivation for Thursday. Not having a dive team was only one of the hurdles Templeton faced as their spring break was also taking place during swim finals meaning a couple of their swimmers were out of town.
“One of them actually flew back and she ended up scoring a lot of points so that was awesome,” Neil added.
On top of all of that, the Eagles are also incredibly young with half of the girls they brought to finals being freshmen but as coach Neil sailed into water aided by a little help from her swimmers it was clear that the title was coming back to Templeton.
The Eagles swim team began 11 years ago under coach Neil with only a single female swimmer and has now blossomed into a team boasting nearly 40 members stacked with young talent and with even more coming through their middle school pipeline.
Templeton’s relay teams were their strength at the finals and will also be representing the Eagles in the playoffs. The girls relay team of Alyssia Corella, Elyse McIntyre, Claire Oppedahl and Jessica Shapero took first in finals and posted CIF automatic qualifying times in both the 200-yard free relay with a time of 1 minute and 49.04 seconds and the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:01.90.
The relay team of Annabelle Murray, Emma Lawrance, Faith Giordano and Shapero took second in the 400-yard freestyle relay posting a CIF consideration time of 4:17.59. On top of the relay teams, Templeton also placed first in five individual events led by the senior Shapero who placed first in two additional races including a CIF automatic time of 26.42 in the 50-yard freestyle.
The boys also swam well and finished in fifth place in league despite only bringing five swimmers. The boys were led by their own freshman sensation in Zayde Valle who despite finishing in second place still posted a CIF automatic time of 1:00.40.
The North County almost had two league champions in swimming this spring as the Lady Bearcats took second in the Mountain League Finals on April 18 but fell to the San Luis Obispo Tigers. Paso Robles had a fantastic day in the pool as they posted 24 CIF automatic times in both the relays and individual events combined.
The Lady Bearcats relay teams were dominant in the water and they qualified two teams in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Tatiana Smeltzer, Emily Christian, Holly DiSimone, and Audrey Hughes finished second overall in the race with a time of 1:54.68 in the final heat and the team of Ava Hughes, Aleah Russell, Abigail Springer and Kaitlyn Hebrard also qualified with a CIF automatic time of 2:01.01 in the heat that preceded the finals.
Paso Robles also took second, to SLO, in the 400-yard freestyle relay posting another auto time when the team of Kendall Moffitt, Gabriella Clayton, Audrey Hughes and DiSimone touched the wall in 3:43.61. The Bearcats were able to beat the Tigers in the 200-yard freestyle relay taking first place overall with a time of 1:43.13
Many of the girls in the relays also set CIF automatic times in their individual races. DiSimone and Moffitt started the individual success for the team in the crimson caps as they finished second and third in the 200-yard freestyle posting times of 1:55.83 and 1:57.78, respectively.
However, even with all the CIF auto times, sophomores Abigail Springer and Moffitt were the lone Bearcats to finish first in an individual event last Thursday. Springer outpaced everyone in the 200-yard individual medley posting a time of 2:18.61 while Moffitt did it in the distance race winning by more than five seconds in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:09.95. Smeltzer, who recently broke the school’s 100-yard backstroke record finished in second place behind the Tigers’ Annie Bartolome who also beat the Bearcats’ other record breaker this year when she finished in front of the freshman sensation DiSimone in the 100-butterfly.
The Greyhounds did not post any CIF automatic times but did post more than eight CIF consideration times and as they have been all season, the relays were the focus for the Hounds.
The girls 200-yard medley relay team of Delaney Rice, Mina Nogi, Emma Kim and Cristina Mansir finished in sixth in the finals but posted a time of 2:07.39 which was just barely a second behind the CIF automatic time of 2:06.34. Similarly, the boys teams of Dante Donati, Wyatt Marshall, Noah Meade and Colby Van Hausen also finished in sixth place with a CIF consideration time of 1:58.12
The boys 200-yard freestyle relay team of Garrett Nichols, Jonny Cave, Van Hausen and Donati came the closest to posting a CIF automatic time for the Hounds last Thursday just missing it by 20 hundredths of a second when they finished in fifth place with a time of 1:36.22.
The Hounds’ best individual race was the 500-yard freestyle where three different Greyhounds posted CIF consideration times. Senior Evelyn Rinkenberger touched the wall with a time of 5:52.43 and was followed by her teammate Emily Pauscheck who finished with a time of 6:04.10. Van Hausen also recorded a CIF consideration time in the 500 with a time of 5:19.00 and finishing first in his heat. While the Greyhounds swam best in the distance event Mansir flexed her speed in the premier sprint posting a CIF consideration time of 26.98 in the 50-yard freestyle.
Swimmers that post CIF consideration times and even CIF automatic times are not guaranteed to advance to the postseason. Over the weekend the CIF Central Section will take all the fastest times posted this season and the teams will be notified.