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MISSION VIEJO – Tesoro senior Anders Aistars qualifies as a numbers guy in and out of the pool.
Her favorite subject at school is math. He heads to Harvard in the fall to study applied mathematics and economics. “It’s always kind of clicked with me,” he said of the math. “I like to do things well, and I also like numbers.”
Aistars certainly liked the numbers he posted on the timing board during the CIF-SS Division 1 swim preliminaries on Wednesday.
He battled his way to second place in Orange County history in the 50 and 100 free yards to help mark qualifying at the Marguerite Aquatics Complex for Friday’s finals at 3 p.m.
Aistars posted the fastest qualifying mark in the 50 freestyle with a lifetime best of 20.26 seconds, which at the time tied former college sprinter Brian Lou, now at Princeton, for second place in the county history behind Olympian Michael Cavic (19.69 for Tustin in 2002).
Aistars then posted a 20.25 leading the 200 freestyle relay to claim sole possession of second place.
His best race was arguably the 100 freestyle. He recorded the fastest qualifying time with a record 44.02, which overtook Cavic for second place in county history and put him behind Olympian Derya Buyukuncu’s legendary Division 1 record. of 43.85 for Woodbridge in 1994.
“I like the 100 better,” Aistars said of his performances. “I think I came back very well. I only had a one second fade (in the second 50) so I think I can do better in the final if I just go out a little faster. (In the) 50 free, I missed the start a bit.
“I want to go under-20 and under-44 (in the final),” he added.
Aistars trains with swim team coach Mark Schubert. He is a former distance swimmer now known for sprinting. “He still makes me go the distance in training sometimes,” he said.
The Santa Margarita-Loyola match also shed light on the boys’ preliminaries.
Based on a score from the psych sheet, and including diving, the defending champion Eagles entered the prelims with a 51-point lead over the Cubs, the narrow finalist last season. After the preliminaries, Santa Margarita’s lead is around 33 points.
Junior Keller Morgan helped lead the Eagles by posting the best time in the 200 IM (1:47.37).
“We had very good preliminaries,” Santa Margarita co-coach Rich Blanc said. “It’s kind of nice to have foreplay. We didn’t have this year last year, so it was back to the old strategy: how to set up preliminaries and finals.
Freshman Teagan O’Dell helped position the Santa Margarita girls to win an eighth straight title. The up-and-coming Novaaquatics swimmer qualified first in the 200 IM (1:57.58) and 100 backstroke (personal best 52.31). Both times rank second in county history and set school records.
O’Dell ranks second in county history behind Ella Eastin (1:53.90) in the individual medley and Cindy Tran (51.85) in the backstroke.
“It was fun,” O’Dell said of his first final section. “The energy of our team alone is great. The simple fact of encouraging them, I really like that.
Santa Margarita qualified first in all three relays and took top seeds in second Teia Salvino (50, 100 free) and junior Abby O’Sullivan (500 free, 4:51.23).
Corona del Mar junior and Virginia commit Maggie Schalow qualified first in the 200 freestyle (personal best 1:47.38) and 100 butterfly (53.88).