Second place and third place finishes can be lessons for future improvement. In the case of Ramona High School’s boys swim team, they also indicate substantial depth.
Ramona won two of 11 events during its season opener March 10 at Valhalla High School but still tied the Norsemen by an 88-88 score. At the Cougar Relays held March 14 at Palomar College, Ramona placed third among the eight teams despite not finishing first in any event.
“We’re off to a really good start,” said Coach Frank Yturralde.
Yturralde has coached Ramona’s water polo teams in the past but is making his debut as the Bulldogs’ swim coach. Steve Tucker continues to teach at Ramona High School but will be devoting more time to family matters. Ramona’s assistant coach, Nathalie Walters, is also new to the swim program.
“I’ve been real happy with this past week,” Yturralde said of his first week of competition as a head coach. “Their times are where I think they should be.”
In a dual meet each team fields up to three swimmers in individual events. The winner earns five points for the team, four points are awarded for second place, third place is worth three points, fourth place gives the team two points, and the team with the firth-place swimmer receives one point. Each school can enter two relay teams with the first-place finisher receiving eight points, the second-place relay team earning four points, and the third-place quartet adding two points.
Ramona led the dual meet at Valhalla by an 82-80 score prior to the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. Although the Norsemen won that race, Ramona took second and third to salvage the tie.
“That was a very good meet,” Yturralde said. “We went against a tough team.”
Ramona’s only two wins were in the 200-yard freestyle relay and in the 100-yard backstroke, where Alan Williams’ winning time of 1:01.87 earned consideration status for the CIF meet.
“We took a lot of seconds and thirds and fourths,” Yturralde said. “It was very promising. We’ve got a lot of depth. We have a lot of very good swimmers.”
Ramona won all 11 races March 13 at Monte Vista and took the top three positions in many of them to earn a 129-45 victory over the Monarchs. Three Ramona swimmers along with diver Josh Sammons earned their first varsity wins. Albert Valentine won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.71 seconds and the 100-yard butterfly in 58.8 seconds, James Oneto won the 100-yard backstroke in 1:07.6 and the 200-yard individual medley in 2:15.69, and Stephen Donellan won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.06. Divers are only scored if both teams have a diver, so Sammons was not scored at Valhalla but outscored the Monte Vista diver.
Daniel Thorngren won the 100-yard freestyle in 57.94 seconds and the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:04.82. Williams earned his first-ever win in the 500-yard freestyle event with a time of 5:21.52.
Ramona finished third, behind Rancho Buena Vista and Fallbrook, at the Cougar Relays.
“It was pretty much us, RBV, and Fallbrook,” Yturralde said.
Ramona placed in all events except the 3x200 freestyle. The Bulldogs were second in the 4x50 medley relay, the 3x50 freestyle relay, and the 3x100 butterfly relay. Ramona took third in the 3x200 individual medley, 3x100 freestyle, 4x50 freestyle, 3x100 backstroke, 3x100 breaststroke, and 4x100 freestyle events.
(The Cougar Relays also saw Fallbrook’s junior varsity 3x100 breaststroke entry win the race in 3:50.56, erasing Ramona’s 2001 meet record of 3:58.72.)
“I’ve got some swimmers that are going to be getting there,” Yturralde said. “The times are going to come down.”
The North County Conference realignment adds Mount Carmel, Westview, and Canyon Crest to the Valley League, and Ramona begins league competition tomorrow against Mount Carmel at home.
“What a way to open the league,” Yturralde said. “We’re coming together. Great group of boys that have been really working hard. “They’ve been putting in a lot of pool time.”