Exeter’s boys and girls begin search for CSL titles with sweep over Coalinga

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By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

EXETER – The former of the Monarchs’ two goals, winning a Central Sequoia League Championship, is even more important due to the section’s decision to change the Valley Tournament format, and as a result making it harder. But Exeter is off to a strong start to the 2019 CSL season after sweeping the Coalinga Horned Toads 72-56 and 126-23 in the boys and girls competitions respectively on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The CIF Central Section decided to combine both the Division I and II Valley Swim Tournaments into one. While there will still be a team and individual champion of each, swimmers from both divisions will compete simultaneously. Exeter Monarchs head coach Amanda Ogata believes this will add pressure on the team going into the tournament.

“It’s definitely put more significance on league competition,” Ogata said.

Both Monarch teams have been close in previous seasons, especially the girls.

It seems to be shaping up that way again with a combination of a strong senior swimmer in Kalei Sine, and some talented underclassmen in Megan Nickell and Lyncoln Miller just to name a few.

Sine enters what could be a strong senior season after setting herself apart as a junior. She continued to dominate against Coalinga by winning all four events she entered by an average of eight seconds. In the girls’ 200-yard medley relay she swam the freestyle discipline leading Exeter to a winning time of 2:11.10. She swam the anchor leg in the Monarchs 200-yard freestyle win as well as Exeter clocked a time of 1:53.31.

“Hopefully she will be able to lead our relay teams this year,” Ogata said.

While Sine handed the Monarchs their most wins in this meet it is the young talent which should lead the Monarchs. Exeter has only four seniors meaning swimmers like Nickell will be counted on to get some much-needed points when Sine is not in.

On this night Nickell delivered by winning the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:26.22.

Exeter’s boys team might have won as well, but they’ve had a tougher go of it. Illness that has spread through the team hit the boys side harder as 10 swimmers have missed time with either the flu or colds over the past couple weeks.

Still swimmers such as Zach Welch and Ben Wheeler dominated all four of their individual events. All of which were short to medium range.

“They are the strength of our program,” Ogata said.

The only events Exeter had trouble in were the relays as Welch and Wheeler’s teams came in second. Another event Exeter struggled in, the boys 500-yard freestyle, they do not have a competitor which might prove costly later in league.

Another promising young swimmer for the Monarchs is Reid Wallis. He missed his entire freshman season last year due to a broken collarbone. He has had a strong start to the season which is giving Ogata hope for the depth of the boys team.

Wallis’s best finish was third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.22 seconds.

Today, March 6, Exeter continues CSL competition as they host the Immanuel Eagles at 4 p.m.

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