By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School junior Gina Lucas took first place in the 200-yard freestyle race during the San Diego Sundevil Invitational meet March 17 at Mount Carmel High School.
Lucas had a time of 1:56.44 in her preliminary heat to earn the top seed in the finals, which she swam in 1:55.59.
“It was exciting to watch her,” said Coach Jolyn Yanez.
Ramona opened its season March 9 at Grossmont High School with a tri-meet against Grossmont and Scripps Ranch. In that meet Lucas had a time of 1:56.03 in the 200-yard freestyle to beat out Scripps Ranch’s Haley Lusher and earn an automatic qualifying time for the CIF meet.
Ramona had two first-place finishes in the tri-meet with Lucas winning the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:09.81 to post an automatic qualifying time in that event. During the Sundevil meet Lucas swam the preliminary breaststroke race in 1:09.38 before posting a third-place time of 1:09.98 in the finals.
Ramona freshman Danielle LaRosa qualified for the consolation finals in two events at the Mt. Carmel meet. Her preliminaries time of 2:08.42 placed her 17th in the 200-yard freestyle and made her the first alternate, but a scratch gave her the 16th seed for the consolation race. She finished that in 2:06.76 to take 14th.
LaRosa’s heat time of 5:41.01 in the 500-yard freestyle seeded her 16th for the finals, where her time of 5:38.34 gave her another 14th-place finish.
“She just went out there and scrapped for any point she could get,” Yanez said.
Qualifying for the CIF meet is based on individual or relay quartet race times rather than team season records, so the non-league team results are irrelevant to Ramona’s future season activities. Non-league meets and invitationals do, however, allow for qualifying times for the CIF meet. During the meet at Grossmont La Rosa posted a consideration time of 5:37.97 while finishing second in the 200-yard freestyle and Lisse Litka-Baughman earned consideration status in the 50-yard freestyle with a third-place time of 27.44 seconds.
Ramona’s three relay teams posted consideration marks in the tri-meet and upgraded two of those to automatic in the Sundevil Invitational. Litka-Baughman, LaRosa, freshman Alicia Podoris, and Lucas comprised both the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay teams at Mount Carmel and posted automatic times of 1:48.43 in the 200-yard race and 3:57.20 in the 400-yard event.
The Bulldogs open league competition next Tuesday at home against Poway.