Palisades Swimmers Make the Cut at Junior Olympics

It’s tough to make the time standard to swim at the Junior Olympics. It’s even tougher to qualify for Zone Championships. Then, a swimmer has to compete at first Sectionals and then Futures before advancing to the Junior Nationals. But one Westside Aquatics swimmer, Claire McLean, 12, came a step closer to the national competition by making a Futures cut and taking first in the 100 freestyle (59.32) at the Junior Olympic Championships in Santa Clarita the end of July.

The talented swimmer, who trains at the Palisades High School pool, also won the 50 free (27.53) and 200 free (2:10.15), and finished second in the individual medley (2:31.58), fourth in the 50 breaststroke (37.43) and fifth in the 100 breast (1:22.40).

Making Sectional cuts were Therese Enriquez (11-12) in the 100 freestyle (1:01.68), which was good enough for second, and Riley Griffis (15 and over) who swam the 400 freestyle in 4:20.07 and finished 12th.

Westside Aquatics 11-12 year old swimmers who set Southern California relay records were (left to right): Claire McLean, Lily Neumann, Leelee Marucci and Therese Enriquez.
Westside Aquatics 11-12 year old swimmers who set Southern California relay records were (left to right): Claire McLean, Lily Neumann, Leelee Marucci and Therese Enriquez.

Palisadians Lily Neumann and Nathalia Wyss also made sectional cuts.

Neumann (11-12 girls) qualified in the 100 free with a time of 1:01.78, taking third. She also placed first in the 50 backstroke (32.41), second in the 100 back (1:10.05) and third in three events: the 200 free (2:14.31), the 50 butterfly (31.12) and the 50 free (28.54).

Wyss (13-14) made Sectional cuts in the 100 free (1:01.32) for 9th place and in the 50 free (28.47), placing fifth. She was also fifth in the 200 (2:13.48).

Westside age-group head coach Tim Murphy was pleased with his swimmers.“The girls finished in fourth place overall and the guys took 19th against a deep field,” said Murphy, a Level 3 certified coach, who also serves on the SoCal Swimming Pacific Committee.

He also praised the 11-12 girls relay team of Neumann, Leelee Marucci, Therese Enriquez and McLean, who combined to set

Southern California records in the 200 (1:53.93) and 400 (4:05.91) freestyle relays. “In the 400-freestyle relay,” Murphy said, “the ladies even challenged the national age- group record (4:03.61) for most of the race!”

The 200-medley relay team of Neumann, McLean, Palisadian Isabella Montgomery and Enriquez took second (2:11.74), as did the 400-medley team of Neumann, McLean, Marucci and Enriquez (4:48.44).

Marucci also did well in the individual events by taking third in the 400 free (4:43.98) and fourth in the 50 (34.04) and 100 (1:11.67) backstroke.

The 13-14 freestyle relay team of Kristin Bartlett, Annalena Siering, Theadora Leimone and Wyss won the 400 (4:10.95) and finished second in the 800 (9:08.11).

The 200-medley relay team of Bartlett, Palisadian Olivia Baer, Leimone and Wyss took second (2:09.42), then placed third in the 400-medley relay (4:43.83).

Bartlett also had a strong meet, winning the 100 (1:07.76) and 200 back (2:26.68) events. Baer took seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:22.06) and Leimone finished fourth in the 200 (2:33.61) and the 400 (5:20.89) individual medley. Siering was fifth in the 800 free (9.47.70) and sixth in the 400 (4.42.97) and 1500 (18.47.28) free. Chloe Hopkins took fifth in the 200 back (2:31.41).

In the 15-and-over boys, Greg Havton, who swam for Palisades High, took 12th in the 50 free (25.29); Louis Peng was fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.73) and Orion Vayanas was seventh in the same event (1:12.26).

“Just to make the time cut to be able to qualify for this meet is an accomplishment,” said Murphy, who coached for six seasons with Team Santa Monica and three seasons with Swim Torrance. He has been with Westside Aquatics for parts of four different seasons.

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