Twenty-nine TNT swimmers competed at the Fresno Dolphin Senior Trials and Finals meet held over the third weekend of January, and were led by Visalia’s Layla Flores who was the event champion in four of her six events that included the 100 free (53.79), 200 free (1:57.12), 50 free (25.00), and 100 fly (59.43). Layla subsequently lead the team in points with 97. Also entering six events was Danielle Albright, and she was the event champion in three of her swims. These included the 200 IM (2:14.23), 200 breast (2:24.53), and 100 breaststroke (1:06.21) events. Danielle accumulated the next highest point total at 77. Our remaining event champions included Ava Olson (1:02.82 in the 100 back), Trevor Riley (22.60 in the 50 free), and Bryan Wong (56.87 in the 100 breaststroke).
Fourteen additional swimmers performed well enough in the preliminary heats to earn a spot in the championship final heat, and these include: Ella Bettencourt (100 back – 2nd, 100 free – 3rd, 100 breast – 7th, 50 free – 4th), Emma Bettencourt (400 IM – 6th), Drew Black (100 back – 3rd, 200 breast – 5th), Peyton Costa (200 IM – 3rd, 200 breast – 2nd), Dylan Hunt (500 free – 7th), Nathan Hunt (200 breast – 6th), Isabella Klawitter (400 IM – 7th), Addison Mccullough (200 breast – 6th), Amy Murphy (100 breast – 6th), Michelle Murphy (200 fly – 2nd, 500 free – 2nd, 200 free – 5th, 400 IM – 3rd), Gage Price (100 back – 2nd, 200 free – 4th, 100 fly – 5th), Luke Vanwoudenberg (100 back – 5th, 100 fly – 3rd), Alexa Wong (200 breast – 3rd, 100 breast – 3rd), and Bryce Wong (100 free – 4th, 100 breast – 3rd).
Consolation finalists included: Kate Geiger, Vincente Sanchez, Maryn Vanwoudenberg, and Josh Wee.
Fourteen TNT swimmers traveled to Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista over the third weekend of December, right before Christmas, to compete at the 2019 Winter Age Group Championships hosted by San Diego Imperial Swimming. Ten of our swimmers performed well enough in the preliminary heats to earn a spot among the top 16 athletes to score for the team, thereby contributing to the team’s 14th place finish.
The top finisher for the team was Porterville’s Nathan Boudreaux who touched 2nd in the 10-under boys 50 yard breaststroke with a time of 38.00, improving nearly two seconds in the preliminary heats. Nathan also touched 5th in the 100 breaststroke, and scored a point in the 50 backstroke by touching 16th in the preliminary heats. Nathan scored 32 points total. At 93 points total, our highest point recipient was 12-year old Michelle Murphy who scored in all nine events she competed in. Her highest finish was a pair of 5th places, one in the 200 backstroke where she improved nearly eight seconds to a 2:22.20, and also in the 200 freestyle where she improved nearly four and a half seconds to a 2:02.14. Michelle was followed in points by 12-year old Addison Mccullough who scored a total of 67 points in eight of her nine events. Her highest place was a pair of 6th place finishes that included the 200 fly (2:28.76), and 100 breaststroke (1:14.78). Both events were well over a three second improvement for her. Our next highest point recipient was Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt who scored in four events for a total of 44 points. Ella, just coming off a successful senior-level Sectional Championship, posted five lifetime best times, including her highest finish of 5th place in the 50 freestyle after posting a time of 24.73 in the championship final heat. Our remaining points from individual events came from Meghan Adams (12 points), Emma Bettencourt (3), Kate Geiger (12), Isabella Klawitter (3), Luke Vanwoudenberg (2), Maryn Vanwoudenberg (3), and Josh Wee (5).
An astounding 81% improvement rate for the team was led by seven swimmers who maintained a 100% improvement rate, and these included: Isabella Klawitter, Landon Mauge, Addison Mccullough, Michelle Murphy, Luke Vanwoudenberg, Maryn Vanwoudenberg and Josh Wee. Also, both Meghan Adams and Vincente Sanchez each improved 80% of their times.
With 77 swimmers of the total 348 who competed at the Fresno meet during the third weekend of November, TNT was the third largest team behind the 145 from Clovis and the 82 of Fresno as the Tritons placed second overall with 1,039 points behind the 1,875.5 points of Clovis. Our team’s second place finish was led by three TNT swimmers who received the High Point award for their respective divisions. Hanford’s brother duo, Lance Walker (age 8) and Zachariah Walker (age 6) were both recognized as High Point recipients, with Lance earning 62 points in the 7-8 boy’s division, and his brother Zach earning the honors for the 6-under boy’s division. Zach remained undefeated in all six 6-under events that he competed in which included the 50 free, 25 breast, 25 fly, 50 back, 50 breast and 25 freestyle events. Lance, with 62 points, led all TNT swimmers in point accumulation, and did this by being the event champion in five of his eight events that included the 100 free, 50 breast, 50 fly, 100 back and 100 breaststroke. Our remaining High Point recipient was Michelle Murphy (age 12) who, with 55 points, led all 23 athletes in the 11-12 girl’s division. Michelle was the event champions in two events that included the 50 free and 100 IM, and was the runner-up in four additional events.
Other event champions include: Danielle Albright (wining 3), Ella Bettencourt (1), Drew Black (4), Nathan Boudreaux (2), Aubree Carlock (1), Natalie Ensz (1), Layla Flores (1), Pearl Johnson (1), Ava Olson (1), Alexa Wong (2), Bryan Wong (2), and Bryce Wong (1).
Congratulations to the following eight swimmers who improved 100% of their times at the meet: Isaak Ensz, Koen Ensz, Jenna Goertzen, Kingston Knaak, Axl Menard, Stella Pack, Liam Shinn, and Bryan Wong.
Thirteen TNT swimmers competed in the 2019 Kevin Perry Senior Meet hosted this year by the La Mirada Armada swim team, and three of our swimmers performed well enough in the short course preliminary heats to move on to the consolation heat of long course finals during a meet that offered three heats in finals. (Yes, prelims were short course, and finals were long course.) The meet was host to over 1000 swimmers over the last weekend of October. To reflect the magnitude of the meet, several events fielded 200 to nearly 400 athletes, and included former Olympians such as Cristian Quintero, along with other swimmers from USC, Cal Berkley and UC Santa Barbara to name a few teams present.
Our highest performance was from 15-year old Bryan Wong who won the consolation heat of the 400 IM by posting a lifetime best meter swim of 4:38.91, improving nearly three seconds, and doing that after posting a lifetime short course best of 4:03.99 in the same event during the preliminary heats. His final (long course) swim was a new team record, swimming under Chris Nolan’s 4:40.56 that was set at Sectionals in 2014. This is currently the top time in the nation for 15 year old males with only 17 times posted nationally, considering the long course season is yet to come. Bryan also finished 12th in the 200 IM after posting a lifetime best of 1:53.87 in the short course preliminary heats where he once again set a team record. There he went under JD Koster’s 1:55.06 set at the very same meet, and same pool, last year. This time currently stands as the 16th fastest nationally for 15-year olds. He then touched 13th in the 200 breaststroke after again posting a lifetime best of 2:05.39 in the short course preliminary heats.
The next highest finish was the 14th place posted by Danielle Albright in the 100 breaststroke. She swam 1:04.57 during the short course preliminary heats, and then 1:16.89 during the long course consolation final heat. Bryce Wong posted his lifetime best of 1:53.28 during the short course 200 fly event, and then touched 16th in the consolation heat of the event with a time of 2:13.50 (long course).
Another other team record-breaking performance was in the 200 yard butterfly by thirteen year old Alexa Wong who posted a time of 2:08.49 to finish 44th in the event. She just slides under Emily Goodbar’s previous team record of 2:08.62 set at Far Westerns in 2012. Another highlight of the meet was the lead-off performance of Ella Bettencourt in the 200 meter freestyle relay. Ella posted a time of 28.20 during the long course swim, and established her first Sectional time standard.
Remaining swimmers, along with their highest placing event, include: Layla Flores (100 free at 29th), Alex Roberts (100 back at 32nd), Ava Olson (400 IM at 48th), Drew Black (200 fly at 100th), Gage Price (100 back at 112th), Peyton Costa (500 free at 125th), Luke Vanwoudenberg (100 back at 149th), and Kate Geiger (50 free at 240th).
Ten TNT swimmers qualified for, and competed at, the 2019 Short Course Far Western Championships hosted by Santa Clara Swim Club at their International Swim Center in Santa Clara over the first weekend of April, and half of our swimmers performed well enough to earn a second swim among one of ten championships finalists. Although this is the first year Far Westerns offered a non-scoring consolation heat of the next ten swimmers, the all of TNT finalists competed in the championship (top-10) heat, and a vast majority of their final swims were in that heat. The caliber of Far Westerns is aptly reflected in at least one National Age Group Record being broken while at the meet.
Our top performance must go to 13-year old Bryan Wong who competed in seven events, and scored in all seven by earning a championship (top-10) swim in each event. This performance resulted in outscoring all but one of the fifty 13-14 year old boys who earned a score in any event, and missing the high point award by a mere two points (57 vs 59). Bryan was the event champion in the 400 IM, posting a time of 4:04.61, and breaking his preexisting record by over four seconds when he set it at Sectionals just over a month earlier. His time currently stands as the 18th fastest nationally, and is a new Futures cut for him. Bryan was the runner up in four additional events, three of which also resulted in team records. His first 2nd place finish was in the 200 breaststroke where his prelim time of 2:07.29 bettered his Sectional time by over two seconds, and now stands as the 28th fastest nationally for boys at age 14. He followed this with a 2nd place in the 200 IM, resetting his team record from 1:58.54 set in December at the Age Group Championships, to a 1:55.52, and a time that ranks 31st nationally. Another 2nd place resulted from his 58.63 in the 100 breaststroke, once again improving upon his previous team record of 59.66 from JO’s in February, and posting the 28th fastest time nationally in that event. The other 2nd place was in the 1000 freestyle where he posted a time of 9:42.87. His final record resulted from his 1:45.20 swam in the preliminary heats of the 200 freestyle. This was an improvement from his JO relay leadoff time of 1:47.16, and currently ranks 105th nationally. His final scoring event was from his lifetime best of 49.05 in the 100 freestyle where he touched 6th.
Next closest for high point was Bryce Wong who scored 23 points and accumulated the 11th most points for the 17-18 division. He did this by earning top-10 finishes in four events that included a pair of 4th place finishes in the 200 fly (1:53.88), and 200 IM (1:57.37) events, as well as a 5th place finish in the 200 breast (2:14.02), and 8th place finish in the 100 fly (52.69) for the 17-18 division.
The next highest high point ranking was the 16th point accumulation by Alexa Wong for the 11-12 girls division, and she did this by scoring 22 points and earning a final swim in all seven of her events, six of which were in the championship heat. Alexa’s highest place was a 3rd place touch in the 200 fly with a time of 2:11.04, sliding under the previous team record set in the preliminary heats of the same meet by Drew Black as a 2:12.92. The new record stands as the 28th fastest nationally for 12-year old girls to date. Her next highest finish was a 7th place in the 400 IM where her time of 4:38.43 is a new Sectional cut for her, and is an improvement of her JO record of 4:40.62 set in February. This is the 26th ranked time nationally. Next in place was an 8th place finish, and another team record, in the 200 IM where she posted a time of 2:11.86, again swimming under her JO record (2:14.08), and posting the 49th fastest time nationally. Her final record was also in an IM, but this time she swam a 1:02.50 in the 100 IM, and this is a new record for her, sliding just under Danielle Albright’s 1:02.85 set at the Clovis meet in 2016. This time stands as the 98th fastest nationally. Alexa also earned an 8th place finish in the 500 free (5:21.59), a 9th place finish in the 100 fly (1:00.04), and a 17th place finish in the 100 free (55.93).
Visalia’s Janessa Bringe had our next highest point accumulation ranking for her 17-18 division. Her 20th place ranking resulted in her scoring in all four of her events, the highest of which resulted from the 10:47.90 in the 1000 freestyle, and 5th place finish there. She also finished 7th in the 400 IM (4:47.77), 9th in the 200 fly (2:13.74), and 10th in the 500 free where she posted a lifetime best of 5:12.14 in the preliminary heats.
Our only other swimmer to score points was Drew Black who did so in two events, beginning with a record breaking time of 59.53 in the 100 fly, swimming twice under the minute mark, and becoming the first 11-12 year old girl in the history of our team to do so. Drew’s previous record was 1:00.13 set at the Winter Age Group Championships in December. Her new record stands as the 69th fastest nationally for girls at age 12. She also swam under her preexisting team record in the 50 fly, this time posting a time of 26.88, and earning a second swim in the consolation heat where she placed 11th. This time currently ranks as the 64th fastest nationally. Drew did score in the 200 fly where she placed 6th after posting a lifetime best in the preliminary heats (2:12.92).
Ava Olson had her highest place at 21st in the 13-14 200 yard breaststroke (2:28.32), while Porterville’s Trevor Riley improved 100% of his times and had his highest touch at 24th in the 15-16 100 free (49.36). Selma’s 8-year old Logan Huckabay touched 33rd in the 10-under 100 fly with his best time of 1:15.78, while Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt improved 100% of her times, and was 36th in the 50 free (25.12) while competing on the bottom of the age group. Also on the bottom of the age group was Selma’s Lucas Huckabay who touched 43rd in the 11-12 boys 200 free (2:07.83).
Our nation’s Division 1 NCAA Swimming Championships is considered to offer the fastest level of competition outside of the actual Olympic Games. Considering that many swimmers across the nation, and in the history of swimming, who have achieved Olympic Trial cuts have never earned a spot to compete at the Division 1 NCAA meet is an arguable testament that the D-1 NCAA level of competition supersedes even the Olympic Trials. It is, unquestionably, the fastest short course yard meet in the world, and getting an invitation to compete there is truly an accomplishment.
In the course of our team, we’ve proudly had four swimmers compete in individual events at the D-1 NCAA Championships, and most recently Mallory Korenwinder (competing for the University of Arizona) and Kyle Grissom (competing for USC) completed their season at this culminating meet in Austin, Texas. The two join Kohlton Norys (who competed for Auburn), and Samantha Goates (who competed for LSU) as D-1 NCAA qualifiers. Kyle Grissom had participated at the NCAA meet for the past three years, and his 50 freestyle time of 19.35 was fast enough to earn a spot at the meet this year. Mallory made her second appearance at the meet this year, after posting a time of 59.90 in the 100 yard breaststroke event. Kyle finished 26th for the 50 free in a field of 46 at the meet (the winning time this year was 18.63), while Mallory finished 30th for the 100 breaststroke in a field of 50 (the winning time was 55.73).
Six TNT swimmers traveled to the Roseville Aquatic Complex to compete in the 2019 South Western Age Group Regional (SWAGR) Championships that recognizes only the top 10 swimmers from each age to advance to finals, and Visalia’s 13-year old Ella Bettencourt did just that in three different events. Her highest place was 9th in the 13-year old 50 freestyle where she posted her lifetime best of 25.60 in the preliminary heats of the event. She then followed up with two additional championship swims that included another lifetime best of 2:02.66 from the preliminary heats of the 200 freestyle, and a lifetime best of 1:03.03 in the prelims of the 100 backstroke. Our next highest finish was Addison McCullough’s 17th place in the 12-year old girl’s 200 yard breaststroke, a 20th place finish for the 13-year old 100 fly by Visalia’s Emma Bettencourt, a 21st place in the 50 free by Visalia’s Lara Omololu, a 25th place finish in the 13-year old 200 back by Visalia’s Kristine Marinos, and finally a 39th place touch by Visalia’s Kate Geiger in the 13-year old 200 IM. Kate Geiger and Lara Omololu each improved 100% of their swims.