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Ortiz, Armas & Oliver will lead CV swim program
Already considered one of Central Valley High Schools all-time greatest female swimmers, junior Leilani Ortiz will look to join elite company this spring by qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships for the first time. She just missed securing berths the past two seasons. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley varsity girls swimmer Leilani Ortiz placed second in the 50 free and fourth in the 100 breast while competing at the Western Athletic Conference Finals as a sophomore in 2016.

Ortiz just missed qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships.

Already considered one of the Hawks' all-time greatest swimmers, the standout junior will look to join elite company this spring.

"She does all the right things," head coach Sarah Willems said. "She's motivated. She's dedicated when it comes to practice. She's been swimming for so long. She knows what's expected of her. She wants to succeed."

Ortiz nearly posted a qualifying time for the frosh-soph girls section meet in the 50 free last year.

Willems wouldn't be surprised to see Ortiz follow in the footsteps of 2011 Central Valley grad Taylor Rogers.

Rogers made history by becoming the Hawks' first-ever section qualifier her junior year.

"They both have the same work ethic," Willems said. "They're both very dedicated. I could always count on them."

Ortiz placed third in the 50 free and fourth in the 100 back at the WAC Championships her freshman year.

"Expectations are pretty high for her," Willems said. "She comes from a swimming family. Her mom coached me. Her aunt coached and swam as well. I coached her with the Dolphins when she was six. She'll have another successful season. She's put a lot of pressure on herself the last two years. I hope she makes it to sections this year. She deserves it. She works hard."

Hawk teammates Leticia Sandoval (Sr.), Daniela Sandoval (So.), Aryanna Jimenez (Fr.), Belle Martinez (Fr.), Clarissa Smith (Fr.), Emily Almanza (Jr.), Linda Alvarez (So.), Lillianna Cruz (So.), Emily Garcia (So.) and Briana Amador (Fr.)will also be counted upon this year.

Leticia and Daniela are returners. Aryanna, Belle, Clarissa, Linda, Lillianna, Briana, Emily Garcia and Emily Almanza are newcomers.

"More than half the team is new," Willems said. "We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores."

Central Valley's varsity boys swim program returns just three athletes from a season ago, including Cesar Armas, (Sr.), Christian Oliver (Sr.) and Andy Jacinto (So.).

The Hawks' top newcomer is Marcus Murillo (Jr.).

Armas, a fourth-year competitor, took 10th in the 100 breast and 13th in the 200 free at the 2016 WAC Championships.

Oliver placed eighth in the 50 free and 14th in the 100 free.

Jacinto finished 24th in the 50 free and 25th in the 100 free.

"I just want them to drop time and succeed," Willems said.