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Havasu wins CrimSwim; Cibola second, Gila Ridge third
Fifty yards into the boys 200-yard freestyle, Cibola senior George Gould was about a body length behind teammate Freddy Martinez and Gila Ridge senior Joseph Salerno at the 10-school CrimSwim on Saturday afternoon at Valley Aquatic Center.
Gradually, Gould crept closer and with 75 yards left he took the lead and finished first — less than two seconds before Martinez.
“Usually me and Freddy are really close and I seem to edge him out,” Gould said with a smile. “It's always really close.”
Gould's time of 1:55.03 was just good enough to beat second place Martinez's 1:56.78. Salerno took third with 1:56.81.
Gould, who also won the 500 freestyle, and Martinez's 1-2 finish helped propel the Raider boys to a second-place finish with 205 points while Lake Havasu finished in first in both the boys and girls to take the top team trophy with 435 points. Cibola finished second in the team portion with 315 and Gila Ridge, whose girls team place second, took third with 296.5.
“Havasu just looks incredible. They have swimmers going fast across all the events,” Cibola coach Richard McClure said about the Knights, who had five swimmers in the top 10 for the boys 50 freestyle. “They're definitely going to have a great year.”
The event, which had 10 schools compared to seven last year, added Bradshaw Mountain, Wickenburg, Odyssey Prep and River Valley. The competition from teams outside of the Yuma area seemed to be a boost for the local swimmers.
“I like knowing there's people faster than me because I know I'll PR and I did. I was really happy about that,” said Kofa senior Adly Wiley, who finished fifth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 28.84.
“It's racing. It's timed, but when you get in there you are racing whoever is next to you and that's a huge part of it,” Yuma High coach Jon Rochelle said.
One swimmer who benefitted from the outside competition was Gila Ridge senior Weston Lines. After preparing for the 100 butterfly — his best event — Lines was a little too overwhelmed by the moment.
“It's funny though, right before the event, I threw up a little bit behind the box because I was so nervous,” Lines said with a laugh. “I'm usually nervous before my best event, especially at meets like that.”
He responded by finishing first with a time of 53.30 — more than two seconds better than his seed time and Gila Ridge coach Heather LaVin said it made him an automatic qualifier for the state meet.
Lines followed that up by immediately racing in the 100 freestyle, which he took first with a time or 49.86.
“As I was swimming it, I was going as hard as I could and in another sense it felt effortless because I still have the adrenaline going,” Lines said.
Gila Ridge sophomore Emily Gough also took two events — winning the 100 freestyle (56.10) and the 200 freestyle (2:01.07).
With Lake Havasu, Cibola and Gila Ridge finishing in the top three, the CrimSwim could be foreshadowing a close Colorado River Team Championship down the road.
“This year it looks like us, Gila Ridge and Lake Havasu are all going to go down to the wire,” Gould said. “We're really, really close.”