By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
VALLEY GLEN, Calif. — College of the Canyons men’s swim won its first conference meet in program history while claiming the top spot in a program-record six events at the Western State Conference (WSC) meet hosted by L.A. Valley College on Friday.
The historic win came by the slimmest of margins with the Cougars able to edge out second place Bakersfield 130-129. Host L.A. Valley was third at 95 followed by Citrus College with 57.
Canyons won its first event of the day when the team of Emilio Santoyo, Rowdy Feather, Miguel Martinez and Ian Werner combined for a time of 3:49.43 in the 400-yard medley relay.
Next, Kenny Payne won the 1,650-yard freestyle at 18:50.01, nearly seven seconds quicker than the next competitor.
Feather later took first in the 400-yard IM at a pace of 4:28.04. The sophomore also won the 200-yard backstroke at 2:02.57, just ahead of Santoyo (2:02.94) in second place.
Martinez was the other dual event winner for COC. His victories came in the 200-yard butterfly (2:07.36) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:24.51). Martinez’ time in the butterfly topped the field by more than eight seconds.
Elsewhere, Werner narrowly missed a victory in the 50-yard freestyle with his time of 23.49. The sophomore had to settle for third behind a first-place tie at 23.40. Werner was also fourth in the 100-yard freestyle to pick up points that would prove crucial in the final tally.
COC’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Payne, Kevin Hanratty, Kellen Bulmer and Martinez was fourth at 3:43.62. The 800-yard freestyle combo of Payne, Santoyo, Werner and Feather was third at 8:14.67.
In women’s competition Hana Hattori clocked a time of 27.66 in the 50-yard freestyle to finish runner-up, a split second off the top pace. Hattori also took fourth in the 100-yard freestyle at 1:04.42. Kaley Gregory was third in that same event at 1:02.97.
Gregory, Kendra Marquez-Barrett, Jaclyn Esse and Hattori also placed third in the 400-yard freestyle relay at 4:27.51.
The Lady Cougars (36) finished fifth in the team standings. L.A. Valley College (127) won the event followed by Bakersfield (112), Allan Hancock (106) and Citrus (77).
Seventh-year head coach Sean Kakumu was hard pressed to recall the last time Canyons had won a meet, noting that this would be the first of his tenure, which started in 2013. A subsequent review of the swim & dive program archives revealed the men’s team victory to be a program first.
Earlier this season the Cougars finished third at its home WSC meet March 16 at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center and was second at WSC Meet No. 1 at Ventura College on March 1.
Those results, and the strong individual performances that have accompanied them, have put Canyons in contention for the program’s first team conference title. But that won’t be decided until the WSC Championships April 18-20 at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.
Canyons next competes at the 19th Pasadena City College Invitational April 5-6.
Stay up to date on all this season’s action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.