Ramona High School’s boys swim team improved its record in Valley League competition and overall for the season to 2-1 with wins in home meets March 23 against Valley Center and March 30 against Orange Glen.
The Bulldogs’ 123-22 win over Valley Center and 128-41 victory against Orange Glen sandwiched the Mission Viejo Invitational meet March 27 in which two individual swimmers and one Ramona relay team placed in the top 16. Those three swims met automatic qualifying time standards for the CIF meet.
“We wanted to be at the our same times around the Mission Viejo meet as where we were last year when we finished the season,” said Ramona coach Frank Yturralde. “Most of the varsity boys are there right now.”
Ramona’s weakness isn’t the specific members of the team but rather the Bulldogs’ depth. Individual swimmers are limited in dual meets to two individual events and two relay events. In a dual meet, schools enter up to three swimmers for each of the eight individual events, and scores reflect the top five finishers. A school may enter up to two relay teams in each of the three relay events with the top three finishers being scored.
The combination of the event limit and scoring system requires at least 12 swimmers for full scoring potential in individual events and at least 12 swimmers for full scoring potential in relay events. Since Ramona’s varsity has only 11 swimmers, the Bulldogs enter each meet with a handicap.
Valley Center has no junior varsity squad, and the Jaguars’ varsity numbers are even lower than Ramona’s.
“Kind of felt sorry for that program,” Yturralde said.
The Bulldogs won all 11 events, starting with the medley relay in which Ramona entered two quartets and took both first and second. The Bulldogs also won the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relays.
Collin Torsak won the 50-yard and the 100-yard freestyle races, Dominic Scottolini won the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, Alan Williams won the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle, Michael Bernas won the 100-yard backstroke, and James Oneto won the 100-yard breaststroke.
The Mission Viejo Invitational involved preliminaries for the individual events during the morning with the top eight preliminary times in each event advancing to the championship final that afternoon and the next eight times competing in the consolation finals. The relay events were all contested.
Torsak placed second in the consolation race, equating to 10th place, in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.67 seconds. In the 100-yard backstroke, Williams had a time of 57.63 seconds to earn a spot in the consolation finals, where his swim of 57.77 seconds placed him 13th. Ramona’s 200-yard freestyle relay team placed 14th with a time of 1:34.16. All three times are CIF automatic qualifying times.
“It was just a good measuring stick,” Yturralde said. “A lot of guys cut their times off their previous races. I was very happy with their performance.”
The meet against Orange Glen also saw the Bulldogs take first place in all three relay events and all eight individual events.
Stephen Donnellan won the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, Oneto took first in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke, Torsak had the fastest 50-yard freestyle time, Williams was the first 100-yard butterfly finisher, Kari Gonter led the 200-yard freestyle swimmers, and Bernas had the best 100-yard backstroke time.
The Bulldogs will return to competition April 13 with a tri-meet at Del Norte High School. The varsity will face Canyon Crest while the junior varsity will compete against both Canyon Crest and Del Norte, which does not have varsity team sports this year.
“We’ve got to keep them focused,” Yturralde said of his swimmers.