From the moment Cabrillo boys swimming head coach Jeff Dacus informed his boys varsity relay team that they had just shattered a personal record in the 200-yard freestyle race, it signified the start of an impressive outing for both Conquistador teams on Friday against a fast-growing Orcutt Academy swim team.

The Cabrillo boys went on to edge the Spartans 91-79 while the girls won 111-59 at the Lompoc Aquatic Center. The boys went on to take four first-place finishes, including the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relay races that saw Olat Luna, Josh Rowe, Christian Reyes and Ryan Dang carry the load. The quartet’s time of 1:36.18 in the 200-yard freestyle relay emerged as a personal record for the group.

“They were amped and they were pumped up for this meet,” Dacus said of his four swimmers. “They knew every point was going to matter and they wanted to work hard plus show what they can do.” 

And the Conquistador boys survived their home pool against a Spartans team that not only was once led by Olympic silver medalist Josh Prenot, but a swim program that has seen a rise in interest lately on the Old Town Orcutt campus – with the likes of Nate Adams, Jake Allen and Keshaun Patel helping spearhead seven first place marks for the Spartans against the traditional Los Padres League aquatics powerhouse.

Adams, occupying lane four for most of the meet, took first place in the 100 freestyle with his time of 50.92. He added another solo first place mark in the 200 freestyle by swimming his way to a time of 1:53.86. Allen took first in the 100 butterfly race with his 58.94 mark.

Effort and a steep challenge have become two things Dacus expects from Orcutt Academy now whenever they take the blocks against CHS.

“They’re a good team. We don’t take any teams lightly, ever. And we knew Orcutt Academy was going to be solid,” Dacus said.

Spartans swim coach Deanna Ayers said that not only has the swim program grown on campus, but she notices her team turns up the competitive dial when they take on the LPL power Conquistadores.

“Every time we play against Cabrillo, the kids bring out their best,” Ayers said. “We’re always happy with how they (OAHS) swim here. We know we always have to bring it because Cabrillo, obviously, has a bigger team than we do. But they did well.”

Ayers pointed to Allen and Adams as the main swimming catalysts for the Spartans, but also cited some surprises on the girls’ side.

“Elizabeth Kwong got a couple of CIF times (first in the 100 breaststroke with 1:16.17 and in the 200 individual medley race in 2:25.05). Anaisa Bravo was a surprise in the 500 free (third place mark of 6:02.82). She stepped up. The relay girls really stepped up too,” Ayers said.

That relay team of Kwong, Bravo, Grace Weaver and Victoria Fridrich took second in the 400 freestyle relay with their swim mark of 4:04.98.

The Cabrillo girls claimed seven first place marks to clinch the win. Rylan Scott, Nicole Zarinan and Alia Carlon were three individual winners. Scott, who is swimming in her final season for the black and gold, won two solo events: The 50 freestyle (26.78) and the 100 freestyle (58.94).

“This was a really big meet for us today and as a whole, I’m really glad we came together and executed,” Scott said.

The four-year swimmer Scott added that she, too, has witnessed Orcutt Academy’s swimming ascension – giving her and the Conqs a formidable water foe.

“Every team in this league is competition, but there are those teams that are harder for us. Orcutt Academy is a very good competitor for us. We know we always have to step up our game (against them),” Scott said.