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    Top 5 storylines for the CIF-SS Division 1 swimming championships
    • May 2, 2024

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    Top 5 storylines to watch at the CIF-SS Division 1 swimming championships, which begin with prelims Thursday at Mt. SAC at 9 a.m. and conclude with finals on Saturday at noon:

    RELATED: Updated top O.C. swimming times entering Division 1 prelims

    Will Teagan O’Dell of Santa Margarita set any records? The Cal committed junior is racing the 200-yard individual medley — the event that she holds the national high school record in with a 1:53.38. But remember, it’s an Olympic year. Chances are that O’Dell isn’t resting much this high school season because she is headed to the Olympic Trials.

    Expect her to still be fast in the IM and rise from her No. 8 seed in the 100 butterfly.

    She’ll have to sizzle to challenge Katie McLaughlin’s O.C. record in the butterfly of 51.53.

    Will Santa Margarita’s boys duel with Loyola again? The Eagles and Cubs have the best team rivalry in Division 1 and could square off again for the title. Santa Margarita has won the last three championships, including two by three points or less against Loyola. But watch out for Northwood to compete for a top-two finish.

    Santa Margarita’s girls are aiming for a 10th consecutive title.

    Does Northwood’s Andrew Maksymowski deliver a breakout meet? The sophomore is an emerging standout on the SoCal scene and could raise his profile by sweeping the 200 and 500 freestyles in fast times.

    How low can Jacob Wang of Woodbridge and Daniel Verdolaga of Santa Margarita go? Wang is the top seed in the 50 free with a 20.35, which ties him for eighth all-time in county history. Only one county swimmer has ever broken 20 seconds — Olympian Michael Cavic in 2002 — but perhaps Wang drops time to make things exciting.

    The Army-bound Verdolaga is about four-tenths of a second off the county record in the 100 butterfly.

    What new stars will emerge? Fountain Valley has a pair of highly-seeded younger swimmers who could emerge as county standouts. Freshman Alyssa Ton is seeded first in the 200 free and appears headed toward a showdown with Woodbridge’s Zara Masud and Riverside Poly’s Ava De Anda.

    Fountain Valley sophomore Peter Vu is second in the boys breaststroke. He could race next to San Marino star and Stanford commit Daniel Li in the finals Saturday so it will be interesting to see how he responds.

    But another swimmer to watch is Santa Margarita junior Gracyn Aquino. While O’Dell draws the spotlight, Aquino will duel with De Anda in a 100 free that might produce the race of the meet.

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    ​ Orange County Register