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By Keith Peters
Bouyed by its depth in the sprints and double victories from seniors Kei Masuda and Nick Henze, the Menlo-Atherton boys' swim team successfully defended its title at the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division championships on Saturday at Burlingame High, swamping the competition by scoring 461 points. Burlingame was second with 343.
The Bears also swept the boys' and girls' frosh-soph titles, but missed taking all four when the varsity girls came up short as Burlingame swam away with the crown.
For the M-A boys, Masuda defending his title in the 200 IM in 1:57.62 and came back a few races later to win the 100 fly in a meet record of 51.80, just missing a 21-year-old school record by .20 of a second.
Masuda also swam on the winning 400 free relay that established a meet record of 3:13.17, one of the fastest in the Central Coast Section this season and just two seconds off the school record, and added a leg on the second-place 200 medley relay.
Henze also swam on the 400 free relay and 200 medley relay, in addition to leading the Bears in the 200 free and 100 free with personal-best times. In the 200 free, Henze edged teammate Evan Navarro, 1:43.05 to 1:44.39, with the Bears adding a sixth and eighth place for 61 points.
In the 100 free, Henze completed his double by defending his title with a sizzling 47.18 while Navarro took second in 48.11 and junior Max Wilder third in 49.64. Senior Graham McClelland added a fifth in 50.76 as the Bears scored 67 points with the four finalists.
M-A's sprint depth helped make up having no finalist in the 100 breast.
In the girls' competition, Menlo-Atherton relied heavily on a talented trio of freshmen but didn't have quite the depth or first-place points in recent years. The result was a second-place finish. The defending champion Bears had no individual or relay winners, but still scored 403 points to first-place Burlingame's 466.
M-A freshman Maddie Pont had the Bears' best individual finish with a second in the 100 free of 55.93. Fellow freshman Kindle Van Linge and Nicole Zanolli had solid efforts in the finals while juniors Brittany Krappe and Danielle Flanagan both provided big points in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Van Linge lowered her school record in the 100 fly while taking third in 58.71. She first broke the mark in the prelims with a 58.84 clocking.
Following the meet, eight Bears earned all-league honors based on points earned at the finals.
For the girls, M-A's first-team honorees included Flanagan, Pont, Van Linge and Zanolli. For the M-A boys, Henze, Masuda, Navarro and Wilder all were named first team.
Second-team performers for M-A were Holly Chen, Krappe, Gow, Jeff LaPlante and McClelland.