The 2013 season got underway March 1 on a winning note for the Laguna Beach High boys' and girls' swim teams.
The Laguna boys defeated Pacifica, 107-63, and the girls' team scored a 130-39 win over the Mariners.
In the girls' win, Makenzie Fischer won the 200-yard and 100 freestyle events and teamed with Lexi Del Toro, MacKenzie Baldridge and Sydney Saxe, to win both the 200 and 400 free relays. Saxe won the 50 free, Del Toro the 100 breaststroke, Abby Cohn both the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, Natalie Selin won the 100 butterfly, and Kirra Nash won the 500 free.
Event winners for the Laguna boys were Jack Dodson (200 free), Trent Sadler (200 IM), Cade Baldridge (50 free), Rian Atherton (100 butterfly), Trevor Collins (500 free) and Nolan Del Toro (100 backstroke).
Fifth-year head coach Kari Johnson has several outstanding returnees from a strong 2012 squad, a year in which the girls' team captured its fifth-straight Orange Coast League title, and the boys' team won the OCL title for the fourth consecutive time. The season ended with the boys' finishing runner-up to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title, and the girls finished third at the finals meet.
Among the key performers back are senior Lexi Del Toro (CIF, 200 freestyle, 100 free, 100 breaststroke, Sr.); Lila Vera (CIF, 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 free, Jr.); Makenzie Fischer (CIF, 200 free, 100 free, 50 free, 100 breast, Soph.); Cade Baldridge (CIF, 50 free, 100 free, Soph.); Riley Thomas (CIF, 50 free, 100 free, Sr.), and Erik Juliusson (CIF, 500 free, 100 back, Soph.).
Vera won the OCL title last year in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke while Juliusson took league in the 500 free and 100 backstroke.
"We have a strong team this year on both sides," Johnson said. "We are expecting to win league and hoping to win CIF on both sides. The boys have a CIF championship within their reach. The girls have the potential to win CIF, as well, but it won't be an easy road."
Laguna will compete Friday at the Los Alamitos Relays. The event starts at 2 p.m. at Los Alamitos High. The Breakers won't compete again until they launch their OCL season March 20 with a 3:15 p.m. meet at Costa Mesa.
The Breakers ran their record to 3-1 and in the process won their third game at the Newport Elks Tournament on Wednesday by defeating host Cerritos Valley Christian, 6-2.
Sophomore Grant Wilhelm went three for three, drove in a run and scored twice, senior Blake Hester went two for two with a run batted in, and senior Jackson Rees had a hit and drove in two runs for the Breakers. Senior Larry Stewart threw five innings and gave up one hit, one earned run and struck out two, to get the win. Junior Richie Nunis closed and didn't allow a hit or run in the final two innings.
Laguna started tournament play Feb. 28 and scored an 11-2 win over Jurupa Valley. Rees struck out six and registered the pitching win. In their second tournament game, junior Steven Harrison homered and Wilhelm struck out eight in a complete-game performance, in a 3-1 loss Saturday to Segerstrom.
Harrison also homered and senior Kurt Rebone tossed a complete-game victory, in a 5-4 win Monday over Troy.
"We are pitching well and playing solid defense which is keeping us in games," Laguna Coach Mike Bair said. "I think our offense is ready to step up and be a bigger factor for us in these final games of the tournament."
Laguna closes out tournament play Friday at home against Westminster at 3 p.m. Next week, the Breakers play host to San Juan Hills in a nonleague doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Injuries have hampered the Breakers in recent match play.