CIF-SS Girls Swimming Championships Preview

High school athletes from the CIF Southern Section will jump into the pool throughout the week at Riverside City College for the 2016 swim finals. 

On the Division 2 girls side, Ayala’s Kenisha Liu and Redlands’ Melissa Pepper return with the hope of capping off their high school careers on top.

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Ayala swimmer Kenisha Liu commits to UCLA

Ayala High School swimmer Kenisha Liu has verbally committed to the UCLA swim program.

The senior swimmer had various Division 1 programs showing interest in her talent from all over the country.

“I had a lot of schools to choose from,” she said. “Some of these schools included Princeton, Purdue, Stanford, Duke, University of Arizona and of course UCLA.”

With several of the options she mentioned located out of state, Liu decided to stay in California to continue her aquatics career.

“UCLA has such a great atmosphere. When I went there I could really tell that all the girls liked each other and really wanted to push each other to be better,” Liu said when asked about her decision.

Liu not only noticed the support system and drive to motivate one another from the athletes but from coach Cyndi Gallagher.

“(I believe she) can help me reach my goals and get me where I want to be,” Liu stated.

Kenisha Liu

While she has decided on a program, she is not sure what events she will be competing in at the moment.

“I know one of the reasons they recruited me was because they saw my versatility,” Liu explained. “(But) as of now, I don’t think they have a set plan.”

Her versatility was on display after a successful 2014-15 season that earned her the title as the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s swimmer of the year.

She concluded her junior campaign by winning two individual events at the inaugural CIF State Championship Meet, competing in the Girls 100 and 200-yard freestyle events.

With time to reflect on her verbal commitment, Liu will be the first to tell you that she did not get to this point in her career alone.

“I really appreciate people like coach Jim Johnson and my Brea Aquatics club team as well as my high school coaches (coach Marceau and coach Mount) and the rest of my high school swim team,” she said. “My parents and my friends are such a great support system. They have all really helped me get to where I am.”


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Swimmer Kenisha Liu of Ayala headed to international event

Ayala High school swimming standout Kenisha Liu will compete in the FINA Junior World Championships Aug. 25-30 in Singapore.

Liu, the Daily Bulletin Swimmer of the Year the past spring, qualified for that event with her showing in the 100-meter freestyle at the Long Course National Championships in San Antonio, Tex. two weeks ago.

Liu finished in 20th place  in that event with a mark of 56.23 but that field included swimmers all ages, including those in college. She was the fourth fastest of athletes under 18.

She actually had a mark faster than that of 55.98 that came the previous week in junior nationals where she finished third.

Liu has already qualified for next summers Olympic Trials in four events – 100 free, 200 individual medley, 200 breast and 100 fly.

Liu, who just started her senior year, trains with Brea Aquatics which competes out of Mt. SAC.


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