The seniors took center stage Thursday at the Santa Ynez High School swimming pool.
The Pirates honored their seven senior swimmers during the mid-meet break in their Channel League match against the Lompoc High Braves.
Santa Ynez won both sides of their regular season finale — the boys 130-43 and the girls 124-54.
“Today is all about the seniors,” said Santa Ynez head coach Jake Kalkowski. “This was a good win and our seniors and their leadership led the way.”
The Pirates version of The Magnificent 7 includes senior captains Keller Haws, Joseph Blanchard, Annie Ackert and Jessica Burt along with Samuel Edwards, Jayde Maniscalco and Kylee Hatchel.
All seven were presented with small bouquets as a show of appreciation and all seven paid back the love with excellent showings in the pool.
Haws swam to four first-place finishes (as did Ackert, but more on her below), winning the 50-yard freestyle in 23.84 seconds just before the break and the 100 butterfly (57.68) right after it.
Haws also helped two relay teams to first place; the 200 freestyle relay (1:34) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:28.75).
In the 50 free, Haws edged Lompoc’s Mark Ainsworth with Santa Ynez’s Jace Grieco finishing third.
In the 100 fly, Haws swam past teammate Jake Healy for the win.
Healy, Grieco, Haws and Henry Allen led a 1-2 Pirate finish in the 200 free relay ahead of teammates Jackson Raney, Nicolas Dragonette, Jaeger Purdom and Sam Edwards.
Haws, Healy, Max Pecile and Allen swam past the Lompoc foursome of Payton Greene, Ainsworth, Tanner Parker and Jarred Torres in the 400 free relay.
“It’s our last home meet as seniors and I wanted to go out with a bang,” said Haws. “It was a good day for the whole team.”
Jacob Thielst, Grieco, Pecile and Healy won the 200 individual medley and of Lompoc’s Parker, Torres, Ainsworth and Greene.
Allen swam to first place finishes in both the 100 and 200 free as Santa Ynez went 1-2-3 in both races.
Allen (50.19) finished ahead of Edwards and Dragonette in the 100 free and Blanchard and Raney in the 200.
Pecile won the 200 individual medley in 2:12.34, edging Lompoc’s Parker and Greene.
Pecile later won the 100 backstroke (1:01.34), with Lompoc’s Parker and James Francisco finishing second and third, respectively.
Grieco (1:10.86) led a Pirates sweep in the 100 breast stroke ahead of Brock Hrehor and Purdom.
Torres picked up a first-place finish for the Braves in the 500 free (5:06) with a whopping 25-second edge over Santa Ynez’s Thielst and Blanchard.
And Santa Ynez went 1-2 in diving with Caden Bratt finishing first and Blake Schnyer second.
Ackert, like Haws, won two individual events and was part of two relay winners.
Ackert picked up her first win in the closest race of the day — a mad dash to the wall where she out-touched her fellow captain Burt’ 26.04 to 26.47. Lompoc’s Logan Blanco finished third.
“I thought she beat me to the wall,” said Ackert. “It was a good race.”
“Both of us were looking around to see who won,” said Burt. “I thought I might have touched first but Annie won. It was so close.”
Ackert later won the 100 free (57.74) ahead of teammate Taye Luke and Lompoc’s Blanco.
Ackert anchored the winning 200 free relay race (1:50.70) with Burt leading off, followed by Camilla Curti and Taye Luke.
Santa Ynez also finished second in the 200 free relay behind Kylie Luke, Emily Cunningham, Kylee Hatchell and Amanda Main.
And later, Ackert anchored the winning 400 free relay winners (4:08) with Burt again leading off, this time followed by Allison Alderete and Taye Luke.
Burt picked up a win in her specialty, the 100 back (1:10.88) ahead of Cunningham and Lompoc’s Dawani Layog.
Alderete (1:20.45) won the 100 breast stroke and was on the meet-opening 200 individual medley relay winners with Siena Lageman, Curti and Amanda Main.
Main also won two individual events; the 200 individual medley ahead of Lompoc’s Alyssa Nava and Layog and the 100 fly (1:18.70) edging Lompoc’s Nava and Santa Ynez’s Curti.
Taye Luke (2:15.39) beat Alderete and Lompoc’s Frankie Aranguren to win the 200 free.
Santa Ynez swept the girls diving with Sydney Hedrick, finishing first, Cora Blanchard second and Gracie Lopez third.
Lompoc swept both 500 meter freestyle races when Aranguren (6:43.66) swam away from the field for a 16-second victory over Kylie Luke and Lageman.
The meet wraps up the regular season.
Both team have a week off before meeting again in the Channel League playoff April 24 (diving) and 25 (swimming) at the San Marcos pool.
“I was surprised by how well our team swam today. We definitely had some good swims even if it doesn’t show on the scoreboard,” said Lompoc head coach Jeff Storie. “Our highlight was both our 500 wins. It was only the second time Jared ever swam the 500 and he swam to the fourth fastest time in school history. We’ll have some time off to train and hopefully improve even more at the league meet.”
“It was a good end to the regular season. I’m happy. A lot of our kids swam their best times of the season today,” said Kalkowski. “Our seniors came up big for us today.”