By Joe Naiman
A high school swim meet consists of 11 races, and after seven events in Ramona High School’s March 20 home meet against El Camino the Wildcats had a 58-52 lead.
But the Bulldogs tied the score with the results of the 200-yard freestyle relay and clinched the win by taking the top three finishes in the 100-yard breaststroke. The 95-77 triumph was Ramona’s first team victory of the season.
“I was happy with that finish, and the girls were completely elated. It was a win that was long overdue,” said Coach Jolyn Yanez.
A school may enter up to three swimmers in each of the eight individual events and up to two quartets in each of the three relay races. Scoring for individual events gives six points to the winner’s team, four points for second place, three points for third place, two points for second place, and one point for fifth place. The winning relay squad earns eight points for the team while second place is worth four points and third place provides two points.
A high school meet begins with the 200-yard medley relay, and on March 20 El Camino took first and third while the Bulldogs were second and fourth.
Ramona junior Lisse Litka-Baughman then won the 200-yard freestyle, posting a time of 2:08.17, which is a consideration time for the CIF meet, but the Wildcats had the next three finishes in that race.
Ramona’s strongest early event was the 200-yard individual medley. Danielle LaRosa’s first high school victory took 2:25.24 to give the freshman consideration status in that event. Freshman Alicia Podoris was third and sophomore Paulina Bernd finished fourth.
Litka-Baughman was second in the 50-yard freestyle while junior Rachel Hogervorst gave Ramona third-place points. Junior Jessie Gilbert was Ramona’s first finisher but the race’s third finisher in the 100-yard butterfly.
“I knew there were some weak events in the first half of the meet,” Yanez said.
Junior Gina Lucas earned a consideration time in the 100-yard freestyle as well as first-place points for the Bulldogs 54.30 seconds after the starter’s gun was fired. Hogervorst was third in that race. LaRosa won the 500-yard freestyle with a consideration time of 5:43.76 while sophomore Jocelyn Schwegler was third in that race.
The Bulldogs tied the meet at 62 points apiece by taking first and third in the 200-yard freestyle relay. LaRosa, Bernd, senior Meredith O’Gwynn, and Lucas took 1:50.03 while Podoris, Holly Smith, Amanda Huber, and Litka-Baughman spent 2:00.29 racing.
Schwegler’s first varsity victory contributed to a 72-70 Ramona lead after the 100-yard backstroke race. Schwegler’s time was 1:10.78, and O’Gwynn placed third.
Lucas won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:09.98 with Bernd finishing second and Podoris taking third.
“I wasn’t expecting to go 1-2-3 in the breaststroke,” Yanez said. “That pretty much solidified our lead at the end.”
Had both Ramona teams been disqualified in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final score would have been 85-85. Both Bulldog teams avoided disqualification with Litka-Baughman, LaRosa, Hogervorst, and Lucas winning the race in 3:54.50 and Schwegler, Gilbert, Brianna Campbell, and Bernd salvaging third.
Ramona’s junior varsity also beat the Wildcats in the March 20 meet.