Quad squad: boys’ swim captures fourth straight title, girls fall just short

The boys’ varsity swim team capped off another successful season by winning their fourth straight MCAL championship by nearly 80 points, as well as placing third overall at the North Coast Sectional meet.

Despite their loss to Drake in the regular season, the Giants were the heavy favorites coming into the MCAL finals meet based upon their success in previous years and unparalleled breadth and depth of talent. Their subsequent rout only proved these expectations were not unfounded.

Junior Ivan Kurakin had a standout performance, winning the 200 IM and taking first in the 500 freestyle, smashing the previous MCAL record (which he also held) by nearly seven seconds with a time of 4:34.78. Kurakin is currently ranked 13 on the West Coast for his 200 yard freestyle time.

Senior Ryan Schonlein was also a key contributor, placing second in the 50 freestyle and providing a consistently fast performance in the freestyle relays.

The Terra Linda boys’ squad pulled off an upset over Drake to capture second place, largely driven by their stellar performance on relays and by University of Pennsylvania commit Nathaniel Cunnan, who won his two individual events.

Based upon their NCS finish, the Giants earned a berth in the California Interscholastic Federation state swimming championships, which took place May 19-20 in Clovis.

The girls, however, fell just short of a third straight title, losing to Tam by a slim margin of six points with a final score of 396 to 402.
This was a heartbreaking deja vu for the girls team, whose only loss in the regular season was to the Red-tailed hawks, also by six points.

Senior and team captain Jacqueline Racich, who has been a cornerstone of the girls varsity team since her freshman year, took third in the 500 and was a key member of the 4 by 100 relay team that took first place.

“It’s disappointing because of how close the loss was, but it’s comforting knowing that we swam the best we could,” Racich said. “Swimming is always so fun with the team and even though it didn’t end the way we wanted, it was still a great season.”

Junior Claire Birchenough also brought home first place with a solid victory in the 100 freestyle and senior Alice Sowa scored highly in her individual events.

However, the girls fell behind early in the meet and were never able to fully close the gap, losing valuable points in events such as the 50 yard freestyle relay, where they placed fourth.

Despite this loss, the Redwood girl’s swimming program is still the most historically successful in the league, having won 12 MCAL championships in the last 14 years, with second place finishes each of the seasons they did not with the title.

In the NCS meet, the girls tied with Amador Valley for 12th place overall, the highest finish of a Marin team, but did not qualify to move on to the state meet.

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