SANTA CLARA -- All Sacred Heart Prep junior Ally Howe wanted to do was get under 53 seconds in her favorite event, the 100 backstroke.
Howe set a Central Coast Section record in the event with a time of 53.11 at last year's section finals. She set a new personal-best of 53.01 at a meet in Texas earlier this year. So she figured a sub-53 time was a logical and reasonable goal.
Well, she reached her goal, and then some, winning the 100 back in 52.32 Saturday at the CCS swimming and diving championships at the Santa Clara International Swim Center.
Her time was just off the national independent-school record of 52.30 held by Missy Franklin.
"I'm surprised I went that far under 53,'' Howe said. "It's something I thought was more of a long-term goal. It makes me very excited for next year.''
Howe also won the 200 individual medley in 1:58.23.
Monta Vista won the girls team title with 223 points. Pioneer was second with 185, followed by Archbishop Mitty (176), Menlo-Atherton (175) and Gunn (173).
Depth was the big reason why Monta Vista won the girls team title. The Matadors didn't have any individual winners, but won both freestyle relays.
"I was really blessed with some great kids,'' Monta Vista coach Don Vierra said. "All season long we talked about team scoring, what it meant having each other's backs.They were very supportive of each other.''
Sarah Kaunitz was a second-place finisher in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.30), behind Castilleja's Heidi Katter (1:02.13). Carly Reid took second in the 100 freestyle (50.43), behind Willow Glen's Catherine Ladd (49.74). And Vierra made special mention of Christina Cheng, Lisa Kaunitz and his "workhorse,'' Sayeh Faridnia, who swam the 200 free, 500 free, and both relays.
Monta Vista last won a CCS girls team title in 2008.
"That team was very fast, set a lot of school recdords,'' Vierra said. "But everyone on this team is coming back. They will go after school and CCS records next year.''
Burlingame's Leah Goldman, who won the 100 breaststroke in 2012, entered the 100 butterfly this year and took first place in 53.69.
"I wasn't feeling good in the breaststroke this year,'' Goldman said. "I decided to go with the fly and see what I could do. I can't believe this. I'm very happy.''
She also placed second in the 200 IM behind Howe.
Pioneer's Linnea Mack won the 50 free (22.64), took second in the 100 fly (53.88) and helped the Mustangs win the 200 medley relay.
"Her size helps a lot,'' Pioneer coach Gordie Smith said of Mack, a tall swimmer with long limbs who won the 100 back as a freshman. "She's great under water.''
Pioneer's Sandra Soe won the 500 free (4:48.95).
Ladd came back to win the 100 free after placing second in the 200 free behind Gunn's Jennifer Campbell (1:46.35).
"I'm really excited,'' Ladd said. "I was a little disappointed after my first race today. I definitely went out too fast. I wanted to come back, help my team and see what I could do.''