The Mira Costa and Redondo swimmers have been perfecting their techniques and are preparing to post their best times with Bay League prelims and finals scheduled for this week at Peninsula.

Mira Costa's girls have a shot at the league title with Peninsula if some events go their way while the boys are likely to be battling Palos Verdes for second behind Peninsula.

"We've got a good collection of swimmers," said Dan Bartlett, who is in his 14th year as Mira Costa's head coach. "We're just going to have to wait and see (the results)."

Redondo's teams are not as strong and most of their swimmers are focused on qualifying times for the CIF Southern Section swimming championships and league finals are sure to be the place to lower their times.

Mira Costa's girls team is led by senior Akemi Aiello, who swims the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley.

Aiello broke her own school record in the 200 individual medley this year, lowering her time to 2:10.84.

"Absolutely on fire," Bartlett said. "Amazing job."

She is also one of the fastest ever at Mira Costa to swim the breaststroke. She has a time of 1:09.63. Her best time in the butterfly is 59.30.

"These are amazing times," Bartlett said.

"I'm right where I should be," said Aiello, who is going to swim for New York University this fall. "I'm right around the times I was last season so hopefully I can drop."

"She has been working hard all four years," said teammate Sarah Crist of Aiello. Crist swims the same two events as Aiello.

The Mustangs' other top swimmers are senior Meriel Mitsakos, who swims the 200 and 500 freestyle and junior Gigi Franco, who swims the 50 and 100 freestyle. The 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams are also strong.

"We're doing pretty solid, better than expected," Aiello said of the team's success this year.

The girls are 3-1 in Bay League dual meets heading into the finals, which will determine team and individual champions.

Edward Jeon, a sophomore, sets the standard for the Mira Costa boys.

He set a new school record in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:02.15, breaking the old mark of 1:02.77 set in 1995 by David Ferry.

Jeon and his teammates also set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay at the South Bay Invite held at Mira Costa at the end of last month.

The relay was led off by Matthew Woicik and followed up by swimmers Michael Portis, Ryan Brankovic and Jeon. Their time of 1:34.77 is the fastest ever in that event by Mira Costa. Jeon also swims the 50 and 100 freestyle events.

Michael Brown, who swims the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley for Mira Costa, said the team is looking solid leading into league finals.

"We have a lot of strong guy swimmers this year," Brown said. "A lot of them haven't reached their potential for the season yet, and I think we can do really well at both prelims and finals going into CIF. We should be nice and rested swimming fast at Bay League."

Others that should do well are Woicik and Ian Campbell. Woicik swims the 100-yard butterfly and 500-yard freestyle while Campbell swims the 200 and 500 freestyle.

Redondo, meanwhile, is young and its top swimmers are focused on individual times.

"I look forward to their performances at the league championship meet," said Redondo head coach Mark Rubke. "For most Redondo swimmers, the league meet is the culmination of a season of hard work. As always, our goal is to swim our fastest times of the season."

Some of the top swimmers for the Sea Hawks are Jack Bradford, Davey Thomas and Nick Johnson for the boys and Elle Inscore for the girls.

Bradford is close to qualifying for CIF in the 200 freestyle and also swims the 100-yard butterfly. He has a 1:51.55 personal best in the freestyle.

Thomas has a personal best of 23.29 in the 50-yard freestyle.

Johnson, a senior, has a personal best time this year of 5:13.23 in the 500 freestyle and is part of a relay team that is close to qualifying. He also swims the 200-yard freestyle, which is his best event, he said. His chances of winning or placing high are better in the 500 though.

"I'm currently unbeaten in the 500 this season," Johnson said.

The team of Bradford, Johnson, Thomas and Jonathan Ortiz compete in the 400 freestyle relay and have a time that's good enough to be considered for CIF.

"We have a pretty good batch of guys," Johnson said. "We're a very young team though."

Johnson and Andrew Oliver are the only seniors on the boys swim team.

Inscore, just a sophomore, swims the 50 and 100 freestyle. She has a season-best time of 54.28 in the 100 freestyle.

"The commitment to club swimming is paying big dividends for Inscore," Rubke said. "Elle was a CIF finalist in both the 50 and 100 freestyles last year as a freshman. That meet remains her main focus."


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