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Baldwin, Lusher given MVP awards at girls swim banquet

Fallbrook High School’s post-season swim banquet, held June 2 at the high school cafeteria, saw senior Emma Baldwin win the girls Most Valuable Player award for swimming while junior Jaime Lusher was given a diving Most Valuable Player award.

The banquet included a slide show of the season in addition to recognizing the swimmers and divers. “It went very well. Fun had by all, as the saying goes,” said girls varsity coach Sean Redmond, who also coaches both boys and girls diving.

Baldwin was selected as the swimming MVP by her teammates. “She was probably the most versatile swimmer we had,” Redmond said. “She had qualified in CIF in more events than anybody else on the team.”

Baldwin qualified in seven of the eight individual events. She did not swim the 100-yard breaststroke during the season. At the Avocado League meet she swam the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly and placed in the top eight in both, and at the CIF meet she swam the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle races. “Wherever we needed her, she was there,” Redmond said.

A swimmer is limited to two individual events and two relay events in any particular meet. “I could throw her in the medley relay, I could throw her in the 200 (yard) free (relay),” Redmond said.

He could also put her in the 400-yard freestyle relay, which he did at the CIF meet. That relay team won the consolation finals with a time of 3:42.19, which broke the 1999 school record of 3:43.78.

Sophomore Sarah Bushnell was also on that relay team, and at the CIF meet Bushnell was also on the 200-yard freestyle relay team which set a school record (Baldwin swam on the 200-yard medley relay team at the CIF meet) and also set school records in the individual 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle races. Bushnell received the coach’s award at the post-season banquet.

“Sarah was one of our two girls who scored the highest at CIF,” Redmond said, referring to Bushnell’s third-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle along with Lusher’s third-place diving score.

“You pretty much knew what you were going to get and expect from her when she got in the water.”

In addition to Lusher’s third-place CIF finish, in which she scored 226.25 points on six dives, Lusher placed second in the Avocado League meet. She won all but one dual meet, placing second in the meet against the Mission Hills diver who also won the league championship. The banquet did not have separate boys and girls awards for divers, and Lusher shared the diving MVP award with Chris Knitter, who also placed third at the CIF meet and set a school record in the process.

The girls swim team voted on the Most Improved award for the swimmers, which went to sophomore Tiffany Beye. “She came into the season and just worked hard,” Redmond said. “She ended up improving throughout the season.”

The Most Inspirational award for girls swim, which was voted upon by the team members, went to junior Gabi Phend. “She lets her actions inspire everybody,” Redmond said. “If the girls needed something, she’d be right there to support them.”

Senior Shawna McCollom was the diving team’s Most Improved recipient. This was McCollom’s first year as a diver; she began diving during spring break and only for six weeks but still placed fourth in the league meet. “Thought she’d give it a try and really worked hard and committed herself on that. She put in extra time and really wanted to improve, and she did,” Redmond said.

Luke Jones of the boy’s team earned the Most Inspirational award for divers.

Three junior varsity girls, all freshmen, were given coach’s awards. Savanah Dawkins, Arielle Guerra, and Chelsey Sommer all spent most of the season on the JV squad but competed in the varsity league meet, and all three placed in the top 16 at the league meet. “For all three of these girls, they came through,” Redmond said.

The Warriors were 7-3 in dual meets throughout the year and placed ninth among Division I schools at the CIF meet. “The awards banquet was a great way of ending the season that was a great season for all of us,” Redmond said.

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