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Gorman girls dominate for fifth straight state title

A few weeks ago, Bishop Gorman girls swimming coach Ronald Aitken wasn’t sure his squad was capable of winning a regional championship, let alone a state title.

But the Gaels managed to win the Sunset Region by a slim margin last week, and Saturday at UNLV’s Buchanan Natatorium, they dominated the competition by racking up 130 points to defeat second-place Palo Verde by 39 points for their fifth consecutive state title.

Gorman walked away with wins in all three relays and three individual events, led by senior Amy Lubawy’s state-record times in the 50-yard freestyle (22.98 seconds) and the 100 free (49.82). Teammates Marley Maluafiti and Catie Miller finished first and second in the 100 butterfly.

Aitken said he never gets tired of winning championships.

“This one is probably as special as the first one,” he said. “I don’t think people thought we could go five.”

Lubawy, who also helped Gorman win the 200 free relay in 1:37.35 and the 400 free relay in 3:33.50, said she was determined to break a stagnant personal stretch that started with a rotator cuff injury two years ago.

“It was really important for me to finish my (high school) career well so I could have a better transition to next year,” said the University of Tennessee signee. “But it was mainly for the team, because I knew it was going to be close.”

Rancho’s Tonicia Thomas won the 100 backstroke (56.32), and Palo Verde’s Izzy Goldsmith (1:03.20) won the 100 breaststroke. Northern schools Galena and Bishop Manogue also claimed individual wins.

There was much more suspense in the boys meet, which came down to diving, the day’s final event.

Palo Verde, which did not enter a diver, compiled 90 points and held off Green Valley, which finished two points back after struggling in the diving competition. Coronado (87) was third.

The Panthers won the championship despite just one individual victory, a 4:31.91 performance in the 500 freestyle by Logan Houck.

Palo Verde coach Brent Gonzalez said he knew his squad had an outside chance of winning the championship.

“We expected it to be tight with Green Valley and Coronado,” he said. “We knew we were going to have to step up and swim well to do it.”

Other winners were Coronado’s Jake Chir in the 200 free (1:41.56), Green Valley’s Michael Velazquez in the 200 individual medley (1:51.36) and the 100 breaststroke (57.50), Spring Valley’s Jay Yang in the 100 butterfly (50.86) and Legacy’s Isaiah Magsino in the 100 backstroke (50.84).

Coronado won the 200 medley relay (1:36.16), and Green Valley won the 200 free relay (1:26.83) and the 400 free relay (3:15.81).


Boulder City dominated the I-A competition, as the girls compiled 220 points to eclipse second-place Truckee (78) and third-place South Tahoe (65). The boys finished with 157 points, 83 ahead of second-place Truckee and 96 points ahead of third-place Sage Ridge.

It was the second consecutive state title for the Eagles’ girls and fourth straight for the boys. Boulder City coach Sara Carroll said she didn’t expect the championships to come so easily.

“In a couple of races, I was very impressed with the North,” said Carroll, whose top swimmers placed no lower than second in any event. “They came ready to swim. We knew we’d have our hands full in a couple of races, but we were also confident because of all our depth.”

The Eagles girls started the day with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay, winning in 1:48.46. They continued with wins by Cori Molisee in the 200 freestyle (1:54.25) and the 500 freestyle (5:06.74), Alex Hubel in the 50 freestyle (23.48) and the 100 freestyle (50.43), Rachael Grothe in the 100 butterfly (56.94) and Montana Lloyd in the 100 backstroke (57.75). They also won the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Boulder City’s boys also opened with a win in the 200 medley relay (1:36.62), followed by victories by Jared Smith in the 200 freestyle (1:40.93) and Joseph Gebhart in the 100 butterfly (50.79) and the 100 backstroke (51.50). The Eagles also won all three relay events.

The only other Southern Nevada individual champion was Faith Lutheran’s Bowen Becker in the 50 freestyle (21.37) and the 100 freestyle (47.14).

Though Carroll said her team’s strong performance was just another victory, she admitted her swimmers were carefully keeping track of their state titles.

“The kids get into it,” she said. “This is our first four-peat by the boys, and the girls had never won prior to last year. So it’s important to them.”

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