The CIF Southern Section Division 2 boys’ championship swim meet was held earlier this week at Santa Margarita High School and with 46 teams representing the division, Murrieta Mesa finished in a second-place tie with Portola, four points behind Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. The Rams tallied 160 points, but a coin flip would be the determining factor as to which team actually got to take home the runner-up plaque. Portola called heads and won the toss.

Team members for the CIF team included junior Jeremiah Castillo, junior Max Dillon, junior Eryk Elizondo, junior Trevor Haskin, senior Anthony Olson, sophomore Alex Pena, junior Justin Schneider, freshman Ty Schneider, and junior Alex Yang. Schneider was among the top finishers, winning the 50-yard freestyle in 20.65 seconds and added a 500-freestyle title to his resume, posting a winning time of 4:28.34.

The Murrieta Mesa boys swim teams tied for second place in the team standings at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship meet Tuesday, May 25. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“It was obviously a difficult season for everyone,” Murrieta Mesa coach Jenn Beech told reporters after the meet. “Nobody knew if this season was even going to happen and when we got word it was, our boys dove right in. Of course, they wanted to win it all, but second place isn’t a bad finish.”

This is the best Murrieta Mesa has ever done as a program, and Beach says they are ready to come back next year even stronger. Schneider also anchored a pair of relays that placed second. He teamed with brother Ty, Maximus Dillon, and Alex Yang in the 200-medley relay (1:34.22) and the Schneiders joined forces with Dillon and Eryk Elizondo in the 200-freestyle relay (1:26.21). Justin Schneider turned in anchored splits of 20.19 (medley relay) and 20.17 (200 freestyle) to help the Rams place second. Ty Schneider finished fifth in the 500-freestyle, and Dillon placed fifth in the 100-backstroke.

Event break down:

200 Medley Relay: (Max Dillon, Ty Schneider, Alex Yang, and Justin Schneider – 1:34.22, Second place finish

(Bettered time by 1.43 seconds, broke the school record, All-American consideration).

200 Freestyle: Ty Schneider – 1:44.52, 9th place finish; Eryk Elizondo – 1:45.85, 14th place finish.

50 Freestyle: Justin Schneider – 20.65 (CIF champion in event, bettered time by .18, school record, All-American consideration); Eryk Elizondo – 22.24 (Placed 15th).

100 Butterfly: Max Dillon – 52.30 (Placed 11th, bettered time by .57, school record

500 Freestyle: Justin Schneider 4:28.34 (CIF Champion in event, bettered time by 13.33, school record, All-American automatic time); Ty Schneider 4:37.65 (Placed 5th, Bettered time 3.30).

200 Freestyle Relay: Eryk Elizondo, Ty Schneider, Max Dillon, and Justin Schneider – 1:26.21 (Placed 2nd, Bettered time 2.74, school record).

100 Backstroke:  Max Dillon – 52.80 (Placed 5th, Bettered time .20).

400 Free Relay: Eryk Elizondo, Alex Pena, Trevor Haskin, and Alex Yang – 3:21.45 (Placed 15th).

8 (medal position), 5 School Records, 2 All-American Consideration cuts, and one All-American Auto cut.

Elsinore’s Luke Asbury was the other local swimmer to win a title in, topping his high school career by winning the 100-backstroke in a time of 50.66.

Girls’ Team

Saturday, May 29, Murrieta Mesa traveled to Rancho Santa Margarita for the CIF Division 3 Championships and won the Division 3 championship and this time, they didn’t have to share their accolade with anyone. The Lady Rams (152 points) won the first section title in program history, and, of course, they did it in dramatic fashion. Murrieta Mesa won the final event of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay, in 3 minutes, 41.38 seconds. Coming into the final event, the Lady Rams were in second place in the team standings, behind Viewpoint, with Chino Hills and Crean Lutheran not far behind.

The Murrieta Mesa girls swimming team won the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship Saturday, May 29, at Santa Margarita High School. Valley News/Courtesy photo

If any one of those four teams won the final event, it would have clinched the team title for those respective programs, but Murrieta Mesa’s team of Emilee Elizondo, Riley Renaud, Ashley Murray, and Sonja Aarsvold that held off a late surge from Chino Hills (3:42.06) to claim the title and make school history.

“This is the most amazing feeling” Murrieta Mesa coach Jenn Beech told the media. “It was all so nerve-wracking, especially that last race.”

Amazingly, the Lady Rams did not have any swimmers win individual titles, but the relay teams did their job throughout the meet, also winning the 200-freestyle relay (1:41.44). Sophomore Sonja Aarsvold finished second in the 100 (51.63) and 200 (1:52.43) freestyle races and Elizondo earned the bronze medal in the 100-butterfly (58.72) while placing eighth in the 100-backstroke (1:02.31)

Murrieta Mesa’s relay team of Emilee Elizondo, Riley Renaud, Ashley Murray, and Sonja Aarsvold. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“It came down to what the girls did individually and in the relays, so this was very much a team effort,” added Beech.

The Murrieta Mesa girls swim included sophomore Sonja Aarsvold; sophomore Emilee Elizondo; senior Ashley Murray; junior Riley Renaud; sophomore Melanie Arellano (relay alternate); freshman Madison Parker (relay alternate), and junior Seryn Stites (relay alternate).

Event break down:

200 Freestyle: Sonja Aarsvold – 1:52.43 (2nd place, bettered time 2.60 seconds); Riley Renaud 1:59.42 (12th place, bettered time .10 seconds.

100 Butterfly: Emilee Elizondo – 58.72 (3rd place).

100 Freestyle: Sonja Aarsvold – 51.63 (2nd place, bettered time .07 seconds).

500 Freestyle: Riley Renaud – 5:21.94 (11th place).

200 Free Relay: Emilee Elizondo, Riley Renaud, Ashley Murray, and Sonja Aarsvold – 1:41.44 (bettered time .44, 1st place – CIF champions, school record).

100 Backstroke: Emilee Elizondo – 1:02.31 (8th place).

400 Free Relay: Emilee Elizondo, Riley Renaud, Ashley Murray, and Sonja Aarsvold – 3:41.8 (Bettered time 2.75 seconds, 1st Place: CIF champions, school record).

Temecula Valley swimmers Kylie Ballew, Jadyn Hepler, Ashley Hollingsworth, and Brook Davis hold up their CIF Southern Section patches after their Division 3 meet this past weekend. Valley News/Courtesy photo

In the boys’ division, Vista Murrieta’s Matthew Vinh was the only local swimmer to win an individual event, placing first in the 500-freestyle (4:29.35). The senior also won the silver medal in the 200-freestyle (1:40.54).

JP Raineri can be reached by email at

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