BY TIM DUTTON
STAFF WRITER email@example.com
HEMET — There was something for everyone Thursday afternoon when Hemet and Riverside Woodcrest Christian hit the pool for a Mountain Pass League swim meet.
For the Woodcrest Christian boys, it was a victory in the final event of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay, that lifted the Royals to an 87-83 victory and second place in the league race with league finals still upcoming.
For the Hemet girls, it was a strong all-around effort capped by a win in the final relay that clinched a 93.5-76.5 victory that put the undefeated Bulldogs atop the league standings.
“Man, that was exciting,” Hemet coach Pat Smith said, wiped out from the closeness of both meets and the 90-degree temperature that baked the pool deck. “I’m elated for the girls — just about every girl had their personal bests today.
“We thought we had a great shot at winning league. We’re looking forward to league finals and swimming against them (Woodcrest Christian) again.”
Senior Megan Richardson won the 200 and 500 freestyle events and freshman McKenna Glasser took the 200 individual medley and100 butterfly to lead Hemet’s girls, the defending Mountain Pass League champs. Both also swam on the victorious 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
“For us, it’s a humungous deal,” Richardson said of beating the Royals. “Back-toback league championships would be great for us. It’d be a great way to end my senior year.”
Woodcrest Christian’s boys, on the other hand, do not have a single senior on the team. But the Royals had enough depth to pull out a win that put them alone in second place behind league leader Beaumont heading to the league finals.
Junior Scott Woodbeck led the way with wins in the 50 and 100 freestyles, as well as anchoring first-place squads in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Sophomores Josh Frazer and Christian Astran and junior Andrew Shrader gave the Royals’ 400 relay team the lead going into the final leg, and Woodbeck brought it home.
“I’m really happy I got my best time on that leg,” said Woodbeck, who just started competitive swimming last year. “It’s pretty cool.”
Woodcrest Christian coach Lori Woodbeck saved her top swimmers for the freestyle relay, sacrificing a bit earlier in the meet in the 200 medley relay event. It paid off when the Royals, needing a win and then a third-place finish as well, got just that. Hemet took second, but needed a win to clinch the meet and a second- and third-place finish to get a tie.
“We knew we’d probably need to go first and third there, and we saved our strongest (relay) teams for the end,” Woodbeck said. “We loaded them up. But it was really the all-around depth of the guys that did it.
“I’m kind of worn out here.”
Smith had no complaints, given that his swimmers’ times were notably quicker, a promising sign with the biggest part of the season — league and then CIF finals — looming.
“I knew it was gonna be really tough,” he said of the boys’ competition. “They (Woodcrest Christian) have some great freestyle swimmers, but our guys all took 2-3 seconds off their best times.
“They swam their best — that’s all we can ask of them.”