Ramona High School’s girls swim team won both the varsity and the junior varsity divisions at the Cougar Relays held March 14 at Palomar College.
The Bulldog varsity girls won three of the 10 events while taking second in two other races and third in one relay while the junior varsity squad won four races.
“We had some really great swims,” said Coach Stacey Dusseault. “They did enough to pull it out.”
Ramona’s varsity girls had won the three previous Cougar Relays championships, but the Bulldogs captured this year’s event with three swimmers absent or out with injury.
“That completely shocked me,” Dusseault said of winning this year’s competition.
The Bulldogs began their season March 10 with a 100-76 dual meet win at Valhalla.
“I thought it was a great showing for our first meet,” Dusseault said.
Breann Stevens won both the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle with CIF meet automatic qualifying times in both events. Katherine Abbott also won two events, posting an automatic qualifying time in the 200-yard individual medley and a consideration time in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Lauren Gantzer posted an automatic qualifying time while winning the 50-yard freestyle, Taylor Shinnick had a consideration time while winning the 500-yard freestyle, and the Bulldog 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relay teams won with automatic qualifying times.
Madi Lanz’s time of 1:02.45 in the 100-yard butterfly not only gave her a CIF automatic qualifying time but also gave the sophomore her first varsity win in an individual event.
“She’s been having a really great off-season,” Dusseault said.
Nine Ramona swims earned consideration times. Senior Autie Hillis was selected as Ramona’s swimmer of the meet for personal bests in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.
“She swam really great. Backstroke is one of our weakest events, so I’m really excited she’s stepping up,” Dusseault said.
The Bulldogs traveled to Monte Vista for a dual meet March 13 and took a 122-53 victory. Stevens was selected as Ramona’s swimmer of the meet after winning both the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle races.
“She’s decided that she’s going to step up and try to give Danielle Spence a run for her money in the 200,” Dusseault said.
Spence swims for Mount Carmel, which joined the Valley League as part of the North County Conference realignment. Westview and Canyon Crest will also be Valley League opponents this year.
“This is definitely our toughest year in a long time,” Dusseault said. “They’re really making me work hard this year.”
Abbott won the 100-yard butterfly against Monte Vista with a CIF automatic qualifying time. Shinnick won the 500-yard freestyle and upgraded to a CIF automatic qualifying time, which Ellie Carrano also achieved in that event. Lanz posted a consideration time in the 100-yard breaststroke, although the Monarchs took first in that event. Gantzer won the 50-yard freestyle and all three Ramona relay teams were victorious.
The varsity division of the Cougar Relays included wins in the 3x200 individual medley by Abbott, Lanz, and Jessica Patterson, in the 3x100 butterfly by Abbott, Lanz, and Sydney Davison, and in the 4x100 free relay by Lanz, Gantzer, Stevens, and Abbott.
Kaylee Nelson, freshman Meredith O’Gwynn, and Shinnick took second in the 3x200 freestyle relay and Gantzer, Hillis, and Nelson placed second in the 3x50 freestyle relay. Gantzer, Heidi Hartwell and Shinnick finished third in the 3x100 freestyle relay.
In the junior varsity division Taylor Ford, Kayli Hine, and Emily Rajcic won the 3x100 free relay, Amanda Carasiti, Hine, and Sierra Strohson took first in the 3x100 individual medley, Rachel Dean, Hine and Strohson prevailed in the 3x50 butterfly, and Dean, Rajcic, and Penny Veater captured the 3x100 backstroke win.
Ramona’s first 2009 home meet and first league meet will take place tomorrow against Mount Carmel.