Carson swimmers compete in Tiburon

In terms of swimming, young Justin Barber and Lauren Costella were nothing short of sensational during their 2000 season in the pool, highlighted by their trip to the U.S. Olympic Trials in July in Indianapolis.

Now, the two Carson High School sophomores are getting a chance to try out some different things. For example, Barber and Costella are running cross country at Carson. And on Saturday, they had a chance to try the cross country version of swimming when they represented the Carson Tigersharks at the prestigious Tiburon Mile open water swim.

Not surprisingly, they were gold medal winners in their respective 15-to-19 age groups.

Barber, 15, was particularly impressive as he completed the mile distance from Angels Cove to Tiburon in a time of 26 minutes, 10 seconds to finish first in his age group and came within 10 seconds of the overall winner, South Africa's Ryk Neethling, a finalist in two events at the Summer Olympics (fifth in the men's 1,500 freestyle) in Sydney. Neethling also won four NCAA championships for the University of Arizona.

Costella swam 28:20 and finished within one minute of the overall women's winner, Brooke Bennett, a gold medalist in the Sydney 400 and 800.

Other Tigersharks fared well in the field of 569 swimmers. Tara Theilemann finished fifth in the women's 15-19 age group and 19th overall. Ryan Hudson and Ryan Theilemann finished second and fifth respectively in their age group - 12th and 16th overall.

The conditions made for a challenging swim, according to Tigersharks coach Jack Simon.

"The water temperature was 63 degrees and they all swam against a two-knot flood tide," Simon said.

"This was the first (open water swim) and they had fun. The experience was great and they were all very excited about their swims and can't wait until next year."

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