The way that East girls swim coach Joe Hutchinson figured it, the Aces needed a lead of six seconds going into the anchor leg of the 400 free relay. Too many times, Hutchinson had seen Northwest junior Nikki Daniels erase even the biggest of leads in the final 100 yards of a relay event.
As Daniels entered the pool, East led by 6.08 seconds, but that would soon change.
Daniels was determined to catch East's Madelyn Ong.
"I didn't think it would be that close, but I figured you might as well try at that point, there's nothing else you can do," Daniels said. "Every time I felt myself getting tired, I just kicked even more."
That lead proved to be just enough as East won the relay in 4:01.53 — 1.26 seconds ahead of Northwest. That capped a 110-66 win at Northwest on Thursday night.
"Freestyle isn't even her best stroke and I've seen her in both relays come back on someone you would have thought she had no chance of catching and she did," Hutchinson said. "So I knew we would need that lead."
Daniels almost carried Northwest by herself in her other three events. She erased a body-length lead on the second leg of the 200 medley relay that East ultimately won by .14.
In her two individual events, Daniels dominated. She won the 200 IM by 16 seconds in 2:15.15 and won the 100 breaststroke by nine seconds in 1:05.47.
"She's got a great kick, her power is amazing," Northwest coach Stacia Quattlebaum said. "Her legs are super strong, it's very powerful... more powerful than anyone I've ever coached."
East, which won eight of the 13 events, won all of the individual freestyle events. Kaylee Wheeler and Andrea Livingston won two each.
Wheeler won the 50 and 100 while Livingston won the 200 and 500.
"I was really, really pleased to see how well our sprinting was today," Hutchinson said.
But it was the overall depth that Hutchinson was most pleased with.
"They've got really good swimmers and I knew they would win their share of events, but in a six-lane pool having that depth helps out a lot," Hutchinson said.
The win puts East (4-0) atop the City League, the only undefeated team left.
"It's really nice, this just gives me more of a feeling like we are heading in the right direction," Hutchinson said.
East 110, Northwest 66
200 medley relay—1. East (Ong, Spitz, Shinsato, Wheeler) 1:58.28; 2. Northwest 1:58.42; 3. East B 2:13.41. 200 free— . Livingston, East, 2:14.06; 2. McPherron, Northwest, 2:17.06; 3. White, East, 2:19.06. 200 IM— 1. Daniels, Northwest, 2:15.15; 2. Spitz, East, 2:31.92; 3. Stienbach, Northwest, 2:35.25. 50 free— 1. Wheeler, East, 26.51; 2. Shinsato, East, 26.64; 3. Bazzelle, Northwest, 27.67. Diving— 1. Diec, East, 101.95. 100 fly- 1. Ong, East, 1:02.61; 2. Aaby, Northwest, 1:03.42; 3. Vu, East, 1:13.28. 100 free— 1. Wheeler, East, 1:00.86; 2. White, East, 1:01.55; 3. Stienbach, Northwest, 1:02.46. 500 free— 1. Livingston, East, 6:01.57; 2. Mar, East, 6:34.14; 3. Broddle, East, 6:40.51. 200 free relay— 1. Northwest (Ayon, Stienbach, Bazzelle, Aaby) 1:56.70; 2. East B 2:03.11; 3. Northwest B 2:08.25. 100 backstroke— 1. Aaby, Northwest, 1:03.89; 2. Shinsato, East, 1:05.41; 3. McPherron, Northwest, 1:08.31. 100 breaststroke— 1. Daniels, Northwest, 1:05.47.; 2. Spitz, East, 1:14.48; 3. Clayton, East, 1:19.35. 400 free relay— 1. East (Wheeler, White, Shinsato, Ong) 4:01.53; 2. Northwest 4:02.79; 3. East B 4:15.00.