Having grown tired of the runner-up position, Tehachapi junior Alaina Riggs swam with noticeable purpose down the stretch in her final race in Saturday's Division II Girls Central Section Swimming Championships.
After teammates Hannah Regan, Olivia Ringle and Davery Pogon-Cord gave her a slight lead, Riggs powered home for the win, lifting the Warriors to a first-place time of 3:47.33 in the 400-yard freestyle relay en route to a second-place team finish at the Central Section meet, held at the Kern High School District Aquatic Complex Saturday.
Tehachapi finished with 201 points, just 12 behind Section champ Righetti and 40 ahead of third-place Porterville.
Riggs came into the relay having already earned a pair of runner-up finishes, placing second in both the 200 (1:59.11) and 500 (5:18.17) freestyle races, a performance she wasn't fully satisfied with.
"It was a bit of a disappointing day for me individually," Riggs said. "I feel like I could have done a little bit better and I was really worried about not swimming well and losing it for my team."
But any worry quickly melted away, as Riggs' finish helped Tehachapi come in more than five seconds ahead of second-place Righetti (3:52.49).
If the win wasn't enough, the Warriors also shaved nearly 10 seconds off their preliminary time of 3:57.05.
"It was super exciting because we dropped a lot of time from the prelims, so it was just really exciting to finally get in the water and just bring us home," Riggs said.
Pogan-Cord and Ringle also earned top-four individual finishes. Pogan-Cord placed third in the 100 backstroke in 1:02.39 with Ringle finishing fourth in the 200 individual medley in 2:24.37.
Also earning a relay win from Kern County was Independence's 200 freestyle team of Delaney Berry, Teanna Berry, Ava Steward and Larissa Martinez, who finished in 1:45.67.
In third place when she dove in the water, Martinez surged from the anchor position, finishing with a split of 24.43 to finish 1.31 seconds ahead of the runner-up from Exeter.
"When it's your turn, you've just got to go," Martinez said after the race. "Go as fast as you can and don't even worry about the other swimmers. This feels amazing. Absolutely amazing."
The relay win helped the Falcons land in ninth place with 98 points. They finished two points ahead of 10-place Wasco and 13 points clear of 11th-place Taft.
Breann Bracken of Taft and Grace Cobb of Wasco had tight battles in both the 50 and 100 freestyles. Bracken finished second in the 50 (24.94) and fourth in the 100 (54.72), with Cobb placing fourth in 50 (25.48) and fifth in 100 (56.07).