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Reh, Russell-Cheung break records, lead respective teams to victory
Old faces. New records.
That was the theme in the Gila Valley Region Swim Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Valley Aquatic Center.
Emily Reh broke record times she set last year in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle to help lead the Gila Ridge Hawks girls swim team to its first Gila Valley Region championship. Gila Ridge totaled 470 points, which was 99 more than runner-up Lake Havasu, last year's girls champion. Cibola placed third with 293.5 points, followed by Kofa's 269.5, Phoenix-North's 227 and Yuma High's 126.
“Today was like the best day ever,” said Reh, who had earlier automatically qualified for next week's state swim meet.
Reh received congratulatory handshakes and fist bumps after she swam the 50 free in 24.62 seconds, about three-tenths of a second better than the 2009 mark.
But in the 100 free, Reh was more demonstrative as she pumped her fist in the air and yelped in joy after glancing at the new record time, 53.52 seconds, on the scoreboard. Reh redeemed herself after swimming a 55.26 in the preliminaries Friday.
“I was repeating to myself, ‘I have to get a 53. I'll just let myself down if I don't get a 53,' ” Reh said. “I pushed it. I tried as hard as I could and I was so ecstatic.”
While Reh and her teammates celebrated, Cibola's Andrew Russell-Cheung had just as much — if not more — of a reason to celebrate.
Russell-Cheung set record times in the boys 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter breaststroke, the latter of which he already owned, to help lead the Raiders to the boys championship and their fifth consecutive overall team title.
“I'm really happy about that. It's a great outcome just like last year and the year before,” said Russell-Cheung, who swam the 200 IM in 2 minutes, 5.53 seconds and the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.93.
Cibola's boys scored a whopping 637 points, nearly twice as many as the 333 Gila Ridge earned.
In the overall team scores, Cibola cruised to 930.5 points, followed by Gila Ridge with 803. Lake Havasu took third with 663, Kofa fourth at 515.5, Phoenix-North fifth with 298 and Yuma sixth at 259.
Cibola coach Richard McClure, however, was more delighted with Ryan Keough and the boys 400-meter free relay team's possibly joining automatic qualifiers Russell-Cheung, Jon Smith and Maggie McClure to state.
“Today, we got a couple of more kids in, which is a big part of having a championship meet like this and having the kids pumped up,” McClure said. “I'm just excited about these opportunities.”
Other record-setters include Kofa's Jonathan Duran in the boys 50 free (22.07) and Lake Havasu's Ashley Bresnahan in the girls 100-meter backstroke (1:02.53).
“That's my best time. I went all out,” Duran said. “I almost broke my finger at the finish.”
In the closest race of the day, Kofa's Emily Hieber (2:20.06) finished an eyelash ahead of Lake Havasu's Courtney Barker (2:20.09) in the girls 200 IM.