Tule Nation Tritons was a topic of discussion around the pool deck among numerous teams during the early days of the Winter Age Group Championships when TNT was in 4th place among 38 teams competing at the meet. Once all was said and done, at 1,018 points, TNT finished a respectable 6th among the field, with 19 of our 28 swimmers scoring in individual events, two of whom scored in triple digits.
With 128 points, fourteen year old Bryan Wong was the lead scorer, winning four of his six events at the meet, three of which resulted in team records. His first win was in the 200 IM, swimming under the 2-minute mark for the first time with a 1:58.54 and being among 64 fourteen year old boys in the nation to do so. Bryan’s previous record was 2:02.10 set at the Hanford meet in September. Following the short IM was the win in the 400 IM where he once again swam uncontested, with a 4:13.69 finishing four seconds ahead of the next swimmer. His next win was nearly a 2-second drop over his previous record of 2:12.50 from the Kevin Perry meet in the 200 IM, where his 2:10.70 now ranks 43rd nationally. His final win was in the 500 freestyle, where his 4:45.93 missed the meet record by less than two seconds, but was an improvement of his own team record of 4:46.81 from Kevin Perry, and now stands as the 50th fastest nationally for boys at age 14. Bryan set team records in three additional events, and these included the 100 breaststroke, where his 59.76 was enough for a 2nd place finish, and was an improvement of his Kevin Perry time of 1:01.10, and currently ranks 32nd nationally. His 1:48.21 in the 200 freestyle tops his Merced swim of 1:49.68 in October, and is the 153rd fastest nationally. Finally, his 49.66 in the 100 free is a new team record for him, falling under Kyle Grissom’s 50.40 set at the Terrapin meet in the winter of 2012, standing as the 179th fastest nationally.
Drew Black was the only other triple-digit point getter at 119 points from individual events, with her highest place being a 2nd place finish in the 11-12 girls 100 butterfly. While still on the bottom of the age group, her 1:00.13 at finals went under Mallory Korenwinder’s previous team record of 1:02.68 set at Far Westerns in 2011, and with a time that currently stands as the 2nd fastest nationally for girls at age 11 (the top time being posted from the same meet). Her next highest finish was 3rd, and this was in the 50 butterfly, where she posted a time of 27.34, again falling under Mallory’s previous team record of 27.67 set at the same Far Western meet. Drew’s time is currently the 7th fastest posted nationally.
Our third highest point getter was 12-year old Alexa Wong. With 94 points, she finished 2nd in three events that included the 200 IM, 200 fly, and 400 IM, all three which resulted in team records. Her 2:14.61 in the 200 IM went under Danielle Albright’s 2:15.50 set at Far Westerns in 2015, and stands as the 48th fastest nationally for girls at age 12. Her 2nd place finish in the 200 fly resulted from a 2:13.69, and is an improvement of Drew Black’s previous team record of 2:18.63 set at the Tulare meet earlier in the same month. The new record stands as the 19th fastest time nationally for a 12-year old girl. Finally, her 4:42.88 stands as the 16th fastest time in the nation, and slides under Danielle Albright’s previous team record of 4:43.59 set at Far Westerns in 2015.
Bryce Wong was our only other event champion, winning the 200 fly after posting a lifetime best of 1:55.55 in the preliminary heats. He earned three additional championship swims that included the 100 breast (1:01.76), 100 fly (52.58), and 200 IM (2:01.68) events, and also swam a final in the 200 breast. Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt competed on the bottom of the 13-14 age division, yet earned a championship swim in the 50 free by posting a time of 25.72 in the preliminary heats. She also earned second swims in the 200 free, 100 back, and 100 free events. Visalia’s Janessa Bringe had a championship swim by finishing 8th with a lifetime best of 2:14.33 in the 200 fly. She also had second swims in the 100 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM, and 500 freestyle events. Selma’s William Butts had 4 swims in the championship finals, his highest place being three 4th place finishes that included the 50 fly (27.88), 50 back (29.93), and 100 fly (1:07.57). Two other championship swims of his included a 5th place in the 50 breast (32.89), and 8th place in the 100 free (59.90). He also earned seconds swim in the 100 breast, 100 back, and 100 fly events. Visalia’s Layla Flores is another individual competing on the bottom of the age division, yet who earned a championship seeding in finals. She posted a time of 2:10.23 in the 15-18 division of the 200 IM to finish 3rd in the event. She also earned second swims in the 100 breast, 50 free, 100 back and 100 free events. Porterville’s 8-year old Regan Hildreth earned her championship swim with an 8th place finish in the 10-under (yea, she’s 8 in the 10-under division) 50 breaststroke after swimming a time of 40.54 in the preliminary heats. She also earned a second swim in the 100 breast. Another 8-year old phenom who earned a championship final in the 10-under division was Selma’s Logan Huckabay who touched 5th in the 10-under 50 fly with a time of 34.52. He also earned second swims in the 100 free, 100 IM, and 50 free events. His brother, Lucas Huckabay, while competing on the bottom of the 11-12 age division, earned a championship swim in the 200 free after posting a time of 2:09.31 in the preliminary heats. He also earned a final swim in the 50 breast, 100 free, 50 fly, 100 breast and 50 free events. Ava Olson is another of our swimmers competing on the bottom of the age bracket, and she still earned a top-8 finish in two events that included a 6th place finish in the 200 fly after posting a lifetime best of 2:18.64 in the preliminary heats, and then finished 8th in the 100 breast after posting another lifetime best of 1:10.06 in prelims. Sydnee Wilson was another double championship finalist. Her top finish was a 4th place in the 50 breaststroke, improving her time by over a second to a 33.27, and then again improving by over a second in the 50 free to a 26.44 to touch 6th there. Sydnee also earned second swim in the 100 free and 100 breaststroke.
Six additional swimmers earned a final (top-16), scoring, swim, and these include Selma’s Jackson Huckabay who earned consolation swims in the 200 IM and 400 IM, along with his brother, Jonas Huckabay, who earned consolation swims in the 100 breast, 200 free and 100 free events. Hanford’s Thomas Matthews finished in the consolation finals in six events that included the 200 back, 50 fly, 200 fly, 400 IM, 100 back, and 100 fly, while 11-year old Addison Mccullough earned top16 finishes in the 12-under 200 fly and 200 breaststroke events. Also competing at the bottom of the 11-12 division, and scoring, was Lemoore’s Michelle Murphy who finished top-16 in the 200 back and 500 free events. Finally, Gage Price had 4 top-16 performances that included the 100 fly, 100 back, 500 free and 200 back.
Thirteen year old Laney Cox had her highest finish at 21st in the 13-14 200 breaststroke, while 13-year old Drew Johnston touched 18th in the 13-14 100 backstroke. Ashton King came back from college to finish 29th in the 200 back, while Lemoore’s Madalynn Lady finished 23rd as her highest finish in the 200 breast. Kristine Marinos of Visalia had her highest place as 22nd in the 100 back, and Selma’s Mark Marroquin touched 41st as his highest finish, and in the 100 fly. Lemoore’s Amy Murphy had her best place at 35th while on the bottom of the age group, and Visalia’s Vincent Sanchez, also on the bottom of the age group, finished 39th as his highest place. Visalia’s Luke Vanwoudenberg touched 21st in the 200 back as his highest finish.
While our age group swimmers competed at the San Diego-Imperial’s Winter Age Group Championships in Chula Vista, Danielle Albright was our only swimmer to compete at the senior-level Sectional Championships hosted by Southern California Swimming, and held at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa. Danielle competed in four events, and scored in three of those. Her highest finish was a 3rd place in the 100 yard breaststroke where she posted a time of 1:04.49 in the event. She later backed up the championship performance with a 4th place finish in the 200 breaststroke, swimming a time of 2:22.76, improving nearly three full seconds from her preliminary swim. Her other final was the bonus time of 4:44.53 in the 400 IM to touch 20th, moving up from 27th, and improving nearly six seconds from her prelim swim there.
Two of our three Winter Junior National qualifiers are returning to the meet over the first weekend of December, after making their first appearance last winter. Both JD Koster and Preston Niayesh are returning veterans to the meet, and Preston Niayesh came away with a 100% improvement rate, and earned a final swim in the consolation heat of the 100 breaststroke, touching 14th in the event after posting a lifetime best of 55.78 in the preliminary heats. His time is an improvement over his Kevin Perry record set the previous month as 56.68, and the time currently stands as the 38th fastest nationally for 18-year old male swimmers. Preston also improved his team record in the 200 breaststroke, posting the 63rd nationally ranked time of 2:03.23 for 18-year olds, and once again going under his Kevin Perry record of 2:05.40.
Our next highest finisher was JD Koster, who touched 42nd in the 200 fly, posting his lifetime best of 1:50.78 in the event. JD is our only swimmer who qualified in three events for the meet, swimming also the 200 IM (1:56.05), and 100 fly (50.57) events. Garrison Price made his first appearance at a USA Swimming Junior National meet, and his highest finish was 91st in the 200 fly (1:54.15). He also competed in the 100 fly (50.77).
Preston Niayesh made his first appearance at a National meet by traveling to Greensboro, North Carolina to compete at the 2018 Winter National Championships in both the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke events over the last weekend of November. The 2018 Winter Nationals is the first opportunity for swimmers across the nation to achieve an Olympic Trial time standard since the posting of the new cuts just months prior. This is the primary reason the meet is conducted long course, opposed to the traditional short course arrangement. Preston finished 35th in the 200 meter breaststroke, swimming a time of 2:25.99, and finished 46th in the 100 breaststroke after swimming a time of 1:06.59 there.
Five of our 61 TNT swimmers who competed at the Dowain Wright Memorial meet hosted by Fresno Dolphins over the November 17-18 weekend outperformed all other swimmers in their respective age and gender division, thereby earning the high point recognition.
Tuning up for the Winter Age Group Championships, Porterville’s Regan Hildreth swept all eight events that she competed in for the 7-8 girls division, winning the 100 free, 50 breast, 50 fly, 200 IM, 100 breasts, 50 free, 100 fly and 50 backstroke events. Regan improved well over 11 seconds in the 200 IM, and was one of only two TNT swimmers to remain undefeated, but the only undefeated swimmer with a full schedule of events.
Porterville’s counterpart, nine year old Nathan Boudreaux took home the high point for the 9-10 boys division, while competing at the bottom of the age division, outscoring the 10-year old runner up by seven points. Nathan was the winner of the 50 breast, and 100 breaststroke events, and came in second for the 50 back and 100 IM. He was a top-8 finisher in all events.
Also tuning up for the Winter Age Group Championships was Selma’s William Butts, who at age 12 was the high point recipient for the 11-12 boys division. William finished top-3 in all eight of his events, taking home the gold in the 50 breast, 50 fly, 100 breast, and 50 backstroke events. At 88%, William maintained one of the highest improvement rates among any of our swimmers who competed at the meet.
William’s counterpart in Selma, Daniel Haley, competed in only six events within the 13-14 division, but finishing among the top 3 in all of his events, managed to outscore all other 13-14 boys who competed at the meet by at least six points to take home the high point for the division. Daniel was the event champion for the 400 IM, and the 500 freestyle events. He place 3rd in all other events.
Visalia’s Layla Flores was the high point recipient for the 13-14 girls division, competing in her last meet as a 14-year old. One of our top age group swimmers who has already made inroads into meets on our senior circuit, Layla won the 100 fly, 400 IM and 200 IM events while at the Fresno meet, then placed 2nd in both the 100 free and 50 free, and finally 3rd in the 500 free – placing top 3 in all events she competed in.
Eleven TNT swimmers competed at the 2018 Keven Perry Senior Meet hosted by La Mirada over the first weekend of November, with intent of achieving, or improving upon, Winter Junior National, or Winter National time standards at a meet that offers a trial and finals format. Three of our swimmers earned second swims, and each of the three did so in two different events, and all three will be competing at the Winter Junior National Championships in Austin, Texas in December.
Our highest finish was the 5th place in the 200 breaststroke by Preston Niayesh, who will be attending the Winter National meet the following month. Preston posted a lifetime best of 2:05.40 in the event, improving his team record of 2:06.99 set the previous year at the same meet, and posting the 95th fastest time in the nation for boys at age 17. Preston had the two highest finishes for the team, following his 5th place with a 6th place finish in the 100 breaststroke after swimming a lifetime best of 56.68 in the preliminary heats, and also improving upon his previous team record of 58.23 set the previous year, at the same meet. His 100 breaststroke stands as the 59th fastest nationally.
JD Koster was our only other championship finalist, and he did this in his signature event, 200 butterfly, placing 8th after posting a time of 1:51.07 in the preliminary heats. His other final was a consolation finish of 21st in the 200 IM after posting a lifetime best of 1:55.06 in the preliminary heats, and breaking Chris Nolan’s previous team record of 1:55.55 that was set in a time trial event at Winter Juniors in 2013. His new record stands as the 229th ranked time nationally for boys at age 17.
Our remaining finalist was Garrison Price, and he had his two swims in the consolation heat, finishing 12th in the 100 fly with a lifetime best of 50.56, and then doubling up his lifetime best swims in the 200 fly with a time of 1:51.99, and a 13th place finish there. Garrison improved both events during prelims, and then again in finals, and will be making his first trip to Junior Nationals this winter.
The only other team records were set in the 13-14 boys division by Bryan Wong who competed in four events, and improved all four, setting a team record in three of them. He began his meet by posting a time of 4:46.81 in the 500 free, going well under Nathan Rhea’s 4:51.20 set at Sectionals nine years earlier. Bryan’s new record stands as the 56th fastest nationally for boys at age 14. His next record was an improvement of his own 100 breaststroke, where his 1:01.10 went under his 1:02.00 set earlier in the month in Fresno. His improvement stands as the 83rd ranked swim nationally for boys at the same age. His final record came in the 200 breaststroke, where he posted the 61st fastest time nationally of 2:12.50, sliding just under Nathan Rhea’s 2:12.81 set at Sectionals in 2009. Bryan’s highest finish was 44th in the 400 IM (4:13.51).
Danielle Albright had her highest finish as 26th in the 400 IM, just missing a second swim in the event, while Janessa Bringe’s top finish was 44th in the 1000 free timed final. Peyton Costa was one of only three swimmers to improve all his events, and his highest finish was 113th in the 500 free. Fourteen year old Layla Flores had her highest finish at 58th in the 400 IM, while her training partner from Visalia, Megan Ridenour, finished 47th in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events. Alex Roberts touched 37th in the 200 back, while Bryce Wong finished 48th in the 200 fly.
Forty-one TNT swimmers competed in Bakersfield at the sprint-focused meet over the first weekend of November, and eight of our swimmers came away with improving 100% of their events entered. Meghan Adams competed in three events, and improved all three which included a 5-second drop in the 100 free. Drew Black swam 3 and improved 3, bettering her 100 back by three seconds. Dylan Hunt improved both of the events he competed in, while young Isla Jay dropped over three seconds in both of her events. Canyon Johnson swam three, and improved all three, and dropped nearly ten seconds in his 100 IM, while Kambria Prodo swam the 200 free for the first time, and improved her remaining three events. Vincente Sanchez improved nearly 20 seconds across four events, and also swam four additional events for his first time. Finally, Sydnee Wilson also held an improvement streak, bettering four of four events, including a 13 second improvement in the 200 IM.
Only three event champions came away from the meet, and these included Drew Black who, at age 11, won the 11-12 100 back, and 100 free events, 9-year old Nathan Boudreaux who won the 9-10 50 breast, and Sydnee Wilson who took home the gold in both the 11-12 50 fly and 50 breast events.
Forty-six TNT swimmers traveled to Merced City College over the third weekend of October for their Halloween meet, and one team record resulted from the weekend’s efforts. Fourteen-year old Bryan Wong competed in only two events on Saturday, but posted a time of 1:49.68 in the 200 yard freestyle, just squeezing under the previous record of 1:49.71 held by Nathan Rhea, and set nine years earlier at the Winter Sectional meet in 2009. Bryan’s new team record currently stands as the 68th fastest nationally for boys at age 14. Bryan was undefeated for the day, winning both the 200 and 100 freestyle events.
Other undefeated TNT swimmers were led by Regan Hildreth, who at age 8, swept eight events over the two days, winning the 25, 50 & 200 free, the 25 & 50 breast, 50 back, 50 fly and 100 IM events for the 7-8 age division. Next in line was five year old Zach Walker, who won the 6-under 50 free, 25 free and 25 backstroke events. Joining Bryan in being undefeated in two events was Bryce Wong who won both of his events (100 & 200 free in the 15-over age division). Additional event winners included: Ella Bettencourt (200 breast), Nathan Boudreaux (100 breast), Layla Flores (50 free, 100 breast & 200 IM), Preston Niayesh (100 breast, 100 fly & 200 IM), Megan Ridenour (100 breast & 200 IM), and Alexa Wong (50 fly).
Logan HIldreth and Noah Hoy were our only two swimmers who improved 100% of their times at the meet.