NEWPORT BEACH — The Battle of the Bay swim meet always seems to come down to the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay on the girls' side.
In 2011, Newport Harbor won it to forge a tie. Last year, CdM won the race to edge out a victory.
In a way, it again came down to the last race Thursday at Newport Harbor High. The Sailors girls needed to finish first and second in that relay to win the meet.
CdM Coach Doug Volding knew that wasn't about to happen. Instead, the opposite was true.
The Sea Kings' "A" team of Ally McCormick, Ioanna Haralabidis, Stephanie Samudro and Stephania Haralabidis finished first. But the "B" team of Maddie Musselman, Grace Morgan, Maddie Sanders and Eliza Britt out-touched Newport Harbor for second as well.
That put the finishing touches on CdM's 94-75 victory. The CdM boys also won the Battle of the Bay meet for the sixth straight year, 110-60.
The depth is evident for CdM's girls this year. Volding was happy with swims like those of Britt, a sophomore water polo player who split a fast 56.55 seconds to anchor the "B" relay.
"That's what I've been waiting to see," Volding said. "We need her. She's got the talent. If she concentrates and digs down, she can do it."
McCormick won the 200 free in 1:56.53, while Samudro captured the 200 individual medley in 2:12.72 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.14. CdM senior Brynne Wong captured the 50 free, making her CIF Southern Section Division 1 automatic cut of 24.17. She also won the 100 fly in 58.25 and competed on the medley and 200 free relays.
CdM won the medley relay and Wong, bound for the University of Texas, has definitely noticed the depth this year. Musselman is in her first week back swimming after suffering a broken wrist during the water polo season.
"It's really exciting, because we've never had all three relays be super-strong," Wong said. "We usually have to pick which one we're going to work on, at least when I've been in high school. It was just nice to have all of them, to have the one relay that I can just watch and cheer and not have to worry about it, and still know that they would come up with a win."
Newport Harbor girls' coach Brian Melstrom also was pleased, saying his team swam better than in Tuesday's Sunset League loss at Los Alamitos. Winners for the Sailors girls included senior Carly Christian in the 100 free (a personal-best 53.13), Casey Duckworth in the 500 free (5:15.11) and Sydney Kohlenberger in the 100 back (1:06.79).
The Sailors' 200 free relay team of Christian, Carlee Kapana, Allyson Hall and Marissa Robertson also won, in 1:41.41. Robertson held off a hard-charging Wong at the finish.
It was a dominant effort for CdM's boys. Coach Barry O'Dea said his team swam a combined 16,000 yards on Monday and Tuesday, the first two days back from spring break.
The Sea Kings have responded. Liam Karas swam a personal-best 58.87 to finish a strong second in the 100 breast, also winning the individual medley in 1:54.53. University of Louisville-bound Christian Garkani was a double-winner, in the 200 free (1:44.96) and the 100 free (47.57).
Tyler Lin won the breast in 58.52, and Taylor Cortens captured the 100 back in a personal-best 55.92. CdM's Justin Hanson won the 100 fly in 51.72.
"A bunch of us went to Mexico [during spring break]," said Cal Poly San Luis Obispo-bound senior Blake Motal, who won the 50 free in 21.43. "And I know a lot of the other guys weren't swimming at all. We just came back and practiced really hard the last few days. I just wanted to make sure that I still had it, that I didn't lose it over spring break. I just went for it.
"Liam went really fast, and Christian always kills in the 200 and 100. Everyone was just going fast. We were fired up."
CdM also won all three relays. Newport Harbor's Hayden Hemmens won the 500 free in 4:45.73, the Sailors' only event win on the boys' side.
Both CdM and Newport Harbor are preparing for league finals next week. The Sea Kings hope to exact revenge on University, which swept the teams' dual meet last month and is the defending league champion in both genders.
"I think it's going to be very interesting," Wong said. "When we had our Uni meet, it was one of the first few meets of the season. I feel like a lot of the girls are more focused, and they know what they have to do now. Hopefully it'll be close."