Vallejo breaks two PVL swim meet records

Nick Vallejo, headshot.
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Nick Vallejo spent most of the race thinking about what he was doing wrong. He didn’t think he was performing his stroke correctly and he thought he messed up his turn.

But once he touched the wall, the Rio Mesa High junior glanced at the scoreboard and realized he did a lot of things right.

Vallejo won the 100-yard freestyle in a meet-record time of 47.95 seconds at the Pacific View League Swimming Finals on Thursday afternoon at the Ed Phillips Rio Mesa Community Aquatic Center.

Vallejo followed that performance with a meet-record time of 54.31 to capture the 100-yard backstroke and swam legs of two meet-record setting relay teams.

“I am speechless,” said Vallejo, who recorded CIF automatic qualifying times in all four races. “It feels pretty good. I really don’t know how to describe it, but it’s definitely very exciting.”

Vallejo paced another dominating effort by the Rio Mesa boys as the Spartans captured the team title for the 13th straight year.

Behind juniors Alicia Lewsadder and Kaleigh Smith, the Camarillo girls won the title for the third straight year and 11th time in 13 years.—- Smith won the 100 free (54.54) and the 100 back (1:00.99) in automatic qualifying times while Lewsadder won the 50 free (25.02) and 100 fly (59.51) in automatic qualifying times.

Smith and Lewsadder also swam legs on two victorious relay teams.

“We are really blessed to have so many fast girls on this team every year,” Lewsadder said. “We are so happy we get the chance to win and have all these girls pumped up to do their races. It’s just amazing to watch.”

Oxnard junior Jessica Ball beat Camarillo’s Rebecca Gregg in the 200 and 500 free races as both competitors recorded automatic qualifying times in each event.

Ball’s 500 time of 5:14.50 was a school record, bettering the old mark of Erin Craft.

“I was nervous going into it and I am not fully tapered. I haven’t even shaved yet,” Ball said. “But my team definitely helped me and my mom and little sister. They were rubbing my shoulders and my friends were sticking music in my ear. It made it easier.”—- The Thierry brothers won back-to-back titles with Austin capturing the 100 yard fly (54.76) in a consideration time and Marshall winning the 50 free (21.95) in an automatic qualifying time.

“We definitely try to push each other to do better,” said Marshall, a sophomore. “We really got it from the Neely family. They completely got us into swimming and I got to see Cameron win CIF his sophomore year and that really inspired me.”

Rio Mesa’s Kenny Compton recorded a meet-record time of 4:54.06 to win the 500 free while Evan Vasquez won the 100 yard breast stroke and 200 yard individual medley to help ensure Rio Mesa would remain the only champion listed on the league trophy.

“This is one of the sweeter ones,” Rio Mesa boys coach Keith McKnett said. “It might be my favorite because this is such a special group of kids. They are committed to it and buy into the program. We have tradition here and they want to keep the tradition alive.”

As Vallejo emerged from the pool, he could hardly walk a few steps without someone stopping to congratulate him.

He only started swimming as a freshman and now has four meet records attached to his name.

“It’s great to have so much support everywhere,” Vallejo said. “We are a big old mushy huggy family and it’s a good thing. Not a lot of people have that and I am thankful for it.”

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