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Sharks secure league title for second year

Malibu High School swimmers pull head coach Mike Mulligan into the pool on Thursday, May 8, after winning first place in the Frontier League championship meet. Photo by Alex Vejar/22nd Century Media
Malibu senior Jens Cole swims the breast stroke during the Frontier League Swimming Championships on Thursday, May 8, at Malibu High School. Photo by Alex Vejar/22nd Century Media.
Malibu junior Amber Veronique swims the butterfly stroke. Photo by Alex Vejar/22nd Century Media.
Malibu freshman Tommy Gibson (right) and sophomore Luke Appel swim the breast stroke during the Frontier League Swimming Championship on Thursday, May 8, at Maliu High School. Photo by Alex Vejar/22nd Century Media.
Alex Vejar, Staff Writer
11:36 am PDT May 13, 2014

As Malibu High School boys swimming head coach Mike Mulligan announced the results of the Frontier League Championships on Thursday, May 8, his swimmers waited.

Third place went to Grace Brethren and second to Nordhoff. 

Then Mulligan said the words everyone was hoping to hear. 

“First place, Malibu,” he said. 

That was the cue for the boys to grab their coach and fling him into the pool. The Sharks were the champions again. 

Malibu won a total of 26 races and earned 11 automatic CIF bids on the road to their second-straight league championship. 

Mulligan did not mind getting thrown in the pool, as long as it came in victory.

“They caught me off guard today,” Mulligan said. “It’s always good to get thrown in when you win a league title.”

Mulligan said this was the first time in his 20 years of coaching that the Sharks won two straight titles.

Girls head coach Tim Segesman said winning two years in a row is a difficult achievement. 

“It’s tough year to year because kids go, kids come in, and to win back-to-back league titles is a tough thing to accomplish,” Segesman said. “But it shows that the kids wanted it. They worked hard for it, and that’s what you want to see.”

The Sharks started the meet off strong, coming away with first-place times in the first two events. That set the tone for a day full of dominating wins for Malibu.

Freshman Farah Stack won both of her events. The first was the 200-yard freestyle, where she finished with a time of 1 minute, 58.57 seconds. That time was more than enough to earn her an automatic CIF bid.

In the 100-yard backstroke, Stack finished with a time of 1:1.37, also earning her an automatic bid to the CIF playoffs.

After the meet, Stack could hardly believe her ears when her coaches told her she had broken the school record in the backstroke event. When reality set in, tears filled her eyes as her teammates hugged and congratulated her. 

“I was working really hard to break the record,” Stack said. “I was just so happy. When [they] told me I actually broke it, I was thrilled.”

Segesman said Stack has the potential to keep breaking records.

“It’s a blessing in the sky to get someone with talent like that at her age,” Segesman. “She has probably a good ability to break several more records in the next three years.”

The 100-yard freestyle went down to the wire. Junior Franz Owen narrowly eked out a win over Saint Bonaventure senior Patrick Wilbur with a time of 48 seconds. Wilbur’s time was 48.26 seconds.

Malibu junior Logan Hotchkiss also squeezed out a close victory in the 100-yard breaststroke, winning the race by less than one second. His time of 1:02.93 earned Hotchkiss an automatic CIF bid.

Mulligan attributes this year’s championship to the strength and talent of his team. 

“It shows the depth of our program,” he said. “It shows that we have a lot of quality kids all the way though the entire program. That’s what enables you to win these big league meets is you have to have the depth to win.”