By Matt Szabo
5:07 PM PDT, March 22, 2014
MISSION VIEJO — Corona del Mar High boys' swimming coach Barry O'Dea called it a busy time of the year.
On Saturday, that seemed like a huge understatement.
O'Dea coached his CdM Aquatics 18-and-under club water polo team in the morning before he and many of his players made it to Capistrano Valley High for a swim meet against Loyola of Los Angeles, Edison and host Capo Valley. As soon as the meet ended, O'Dea and the Sea Kings were on the run again, back to CdM for a 3 p.m. water polo game against SOCAL.
After another game later Saturday afternoon, O'Dea planned to go to his father's 80th birthday party.
"Today was just one of those days," O'Dea said. "The aquatics world got really busy for these guys today."
In the water at the quad meet, O'Dea did not have a lot of experience. The team raced no seniors. Liam Karas, a top returning senior, was out as he recovers from pneumonia.
CdM, which has been runner-up in CIF Southern Section Division 1 each of the last two years, placed third with 381 points in the meet. Loyola won the meet for the second straight year with 659 points, followed by Edison (435 points). Capo Valley, the two-time defending Division 1 champion, was fourth with 360 points.
The Sea Kings were coming off winning the Capo Valley Relays last weekend.
"We tend to kind of come along as the season goes," O'Dea said. "We're very young, but we're also very broken down. These guys are lifting weights four days a week, and in the water five days a week … I've got to find some freestylers. I've got a bunch of guys that are right there; they're on the verge of breaking through the bubble."
CdM junior Tyler Lin was the only Sea Kings individual or relay team to win an event. He set a new meet record by touching first in the 100-yard breaststroke, in 57.96 seconds.
Lin also had a busy morning, as he said he was competing in another club swim meet with the AquaZots. He left that meet early, scratching on one event to get to Capo Valley in time. He nearly won another event in the quad meet, but he was out-touched by Cougars junior Matthew Chalcarz in the 200 individual medley.
Chalcarz lost a lead in the breaststroke leg but came from behind in the freestyle leg to touch in 1:54.19, a new meet record. Lin touched in 1:54.20.
"I didn't even see him," Lin said. "I was so frustrated at the end. I breathed to his side for the first 25 [yards of the freestyle], and I thought I was good so I checked on the other side. Then I had a really lousy finish and he out-touched me. That was really bad on my part."
Still, Lin said he was very happy with his times for this early in the high school season. Another junior club swimmer, Justin Hanson, also swam well. He finished a strong fourth in the IM (1:56.26) and was third in the 100 butterfly in 51.42 seconds.
Lin and Hanson also were on the meet-opening 200 medley relay team, along with freshman Ethan Archer and sophomore Jon Polos. The quartet finished third, touching in 1:38.16.
Loyola was very strong, sweeping the top three spots in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races and winning all three relays. Senior Corey John was first in both sprint freestyle events.
Edison Coach Diggy Riley also saw his team compete well, especially as Riley said the Chargers were missing two top swimmers in backstroke expert Thomas Smith and Troy Oates.
Though the competition was formidable on Saturday, the meet at the end of the season is what matters. The Division 1 swim finals are scheduled for May 17.
"Loyola's loaded across the board," O'Dea said. "I think it's going to be a tight one with Loyola and [University]. Uni's stacked too, so we'll see. We'll see if we can't sneak ourselves in there toward the end, make some magic happen."
CdM opens Pacific Coast League action with a home meet against Irvine on Wednesday.