Michael Mortenson probably would’ve been considered a long shot to win the 200-yard individual medley at the Sunset Region meet Saturday at UNLV.
Somebody forgot to tell the Palo Verde junior.
Mortenson won the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, and paced the 200 freestyle and medley relays to help Palo Verde’s boys compile 468 points to successfully defend their Sunset Region swimming title.
Bishop Gorman was a distant second at 219 points, followed by Spring Valley at 207.
The Gaels girls also successfully defended their region title with 483 points, easily outdistancing Palo Verde (306) and Shadow Ridge (225).
“I wasn’t as focused on the 200 IM, but more on the 100 fly,” Mortenson said. “Going into the 200 IM, it was kind of brainless. All my training kicked in, and it was just one of those races where everything fell into line.”
Mortenson used a strong kick to finish his first split in 25.16 seconds, more than a second ahead of Centennial’s Billy Gravely and Spring Valley’s Jay Yang. As Gravely challenged, Mortenson maintained a stroke lead and won in 1:56.76. Gravely was second at 1:58.29.
“Going in, I didn’t think (Mortenson) had a chance in the 200 IM,” Palo Verde coach Brent Gonzalez said. “But he just went for it, and came out of nowhere with that win. He put in a great, great swim. He took the moment, and went for it.”
Palo Verde’s Allen Forest took the 50 freestyle in 22.5 seconds, and the Panthers swept the three relays to clinch the win. Palo Verde also had four second-place finishes.
Bishop Gorman’s Zack Boudreaux won the 100 freestyle in 48.95, and Ian Sinclair won the 500 freestyle in 4:36.13.
Spring Valley’s Dylan Wolf won the 200 freestyle (1:42.6) and 100 backstroke (53.32)
In the girls meet, Olivia Barker helped Bishop Gorman’s 200 medley relay break its region record in 1:51.16. The prolific junior then broke her own record in the 100 butterfly, finishing in 55.19 to beat last year’s mark of 56.2. She added a win in the 100 backstroke.
“She goes back every year to try and improve on herself,” Gorman coach Ron Aitken said. “And that’s what drives the times down and resets those records every year.
“When a team has that much leadership, they all rise up together and they all do well together. Championships are earned as a team; one person gets on a roll, and then they all start competing well together. They support each other all the way through with their efforts.”
Barker was named girls swimmer of the year, and Faith Lutheran’s Bowen Becker won the boys award.
Gorman’s Catie Miller added a win in the 200 individual medley (2:07.59), and Amy Lubawy broke her record in the 50 freestyle with a winning time of 23.99.
Lubawy added a win in the 100 free (52.33), and paced the winning 200 freestyle relay to a region record of 1:41.01.
The Gaels’ Lindsey Englestead added a win in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.44).