Two TNT swimmers, both residents of the Porterville area, competed at the short course Far Western Championships hosted by Pacific Swimming, and held this year in Morgan Hill over the first weekend of April, and both swimmers earned second swims in one of two final heats for the 11-12 age division, and both competing at their first short course Far Western Championships.
The Far Western Championships is one of the best known, and longest standing, age group championship swim meets in the nation. The short course version of the meet attracts athletes from across the western United States, and at times from across the nation. The long course version of the meet has played host to age group swimmers who went on to be come Olympic champions, such as Janet Evans and Pablo Morales, and has attracted swim teams from around the world. Earning a final swim at a swim meet with such caliber of athletes participating is truly an accomplishment.
Not only did Porterville’s Regan Hildreth earn second swims, but she also competed in the championship final heat of the 50 yard breaststroke after posting a lifetime best of 32.94 in the preliminary heats, and touching 7th there. Her time places her among the top-10 fastest times posted for the team, lists her as the third fastest in the event for the history of the team, and only 0.76 seconds within the team record. Regan had two additional swims in the consolation final heat, and they included the 100 IM (1:06.59), and 100 breaststroke (1:12.36).
Blake Rogers has made a name for himself within the team, and within a relatively short period of time. Along with Regan, he too has made his first appearance at Far Westerns, earning second swims in two of his three events entered. Blake’s highest finish was 9th in the 11-12 50 yard breaststroke where his time of 32.10 is the sixth fastest time posted on the team, and moves him to being the third fastest in the event for the history of the team. Blake also touched 13th in the 100 breaststroke, moving up two places from his seeding from the preliminary heats where he posted his lifetime best of 1:11.26.
Four TNT swimmers traveled to Mission Viejo to compete in the 2022 Swim Meet of Champions, which has had a history of attracting international Olympic-level athletes, and had served at one time as the Olympic-Send-Off meet. This year our TNT Senior Team was well represented by four athlete who included Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt, along with Ava Olson, Alexa Wong and Bryan Wong. All four swimmers earned final swims at the meet, and scored in no less than two events.
Performances in finals were led by long-time veteran too the meet, Bryan Wong, who scored in all four of his events, and having the highest finish of 3rd in the 400 IM (4:39.90), and then following it with a 6th place finish in the 200 IM (2:11.69). He also touched 12th in the 200 breaststroke (2:27.88), and 14th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.58). Ella Bettencourt was our next highest finisher as she touched 6th in the 50 meter backstroke (30.98), and 7th in the 100backstroke (1:06.61) posting lifetime best times in all three events she entered. Next to Bryan, Alexa Wong had the next highest number of finals at three. Her highest finish being 5th place in the 400 IM where her time of5:05.07 was an improvement to her previous team record of 5:08.50 set in La Mirada a couple of months earlier. Alexa swam twice under her re-existing record. She also touched 8th in the 400 free (4:30.57), and 10th in the 200 IM (2:25.09), and, along with Ella, was our only other athlete who improved 100% of her times. Ava Olson was our remaining finalist as she touched 7th in the 400 free (4:30.53), and 14th in the 200 free (2:09.05), and improving times in both of those events.
The Southwest Age Group Regional Championships, SWAGR for short, is a swim meet established several years ago as an alternative to the more competitive Far Western Championships, and structures events in single-age categories, opposed to age groups. The meet alternates between hosts of Clovis with teams in the Sierra-Nevada section just north of Central California Swimming.
This year, the meet took place during the last weekend of March, and four TNT swimmers participated at the Clovis North complex. Of the four, Porterville’s Regan Hildreth was our sole scoring athlete as she posted championship swims in three of her seven events. Her highest place was a 6th place finish in the 12-year old 50 yard breaststroke with a time of 33.58, followed by a 7th place finish in the 200 breaststroke after posting a lifetime best by well over two seconds (2:40.09) in the preliminary heats. Swimmers in the top 10 places from the preliminary heats advanced to finals, and as a true breaststroker, Regan’s remaining breaststroke event also earned a championship swim. Her 100 breaststroke time of 1:14.79 touched 10th in the event. Regan also posted a team’s All-Time Top-100 time in the 100 IM.
Two other swimmers posted times among our team’s All-Time Top-100 rankings, and they included Danny Rodriguez who posted times in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events for the 13-14 age division, and Blake Rogers who posted All-Time Top-100 times in the 50 free, 100 free, 50 breaststroke and 100 breaststroke events, all in 11-12 boys division.
Congratulations to all swimmers, including Isaak Ensz who, at 67%, posted the highest improvement percentage among the team.
The TNT Spring Sectional Team for this year was composed of eight TNT swimmers representing towns of Coalinga, Visalia, Hanford, and Tulare who competed over the first weekend of March in Carlsbad, California. Three swimmers of our team performed well enough in the preliminary heats to earn a second swim in one of two final heats for their respective events.
Representation in finals, and team point accumulation from individual events, was led by Bryan Wong who earned second swims in four of his six events, and posted a championship final swim in the 400 IM where his 3:56.95 touched fast enough for a bronze medal finish in the event. His swim was also a new team record, improving from his previous record of 3:59.45 set in December 2020 during the midst of the pandemic. His new record currently stands as the 40th fastest nationally for male swimmers of age 17. Bryan also earned a second swim in the 200 breaststroke event with a time of 2:02.04 that finished 12th in the event. His time once again fell under a record that was previously his at a 2:02.26 set this past December at Junior Nationals in Texas. Bryan went under his previous record during both swims (prelims and finals). His new record currently ranks 49th nationally among male swimmers at his age. His other events that earned a swim in finals included the 200 IM (18th, 1:52.69), and the 100 breaststroke (13th, 56.14). Our next swimmer who earned a second swim was Ava Olson who swam a 4:24.55 in the 400 IM event, posting a lifetime best, and finished 14th. Finally, Alexa Wong touched 28th in the 200 fly after posting a lifetime best of 2:04.24 in the preliminary heats, and swimming under arguably one of the longest standing records what was established by Lynnie North as a 2:04.34 back in 1993 during a swim meet in the Fig Garde Racquet Club swimming pool. Alexa’s new team record currently ranks 45th in the nation for girls at age 15.
Besides the brother-sister duo of Bryan and Alexa Wong, Michelle Murphy also re-established team records, and she did this in two of her four events, while also being our youngest swimmer competing in Sectionals at fourteen years old. Michelle first posted a time of 5:04.20 in the 500 freestyle, which was nearly a 15-second improvement, and swam under Ava Olson’s previous team record of 5:04.98 set at the same meet two years earlier in 2020. Michelle’s new record stands as the 76th fastest nationally for girls at age 14. Her second record was in the 200 freestyle, where she posted a time of 1:54.63 in the event, which slid under the previous record set by Samantha Goates in 2004 as a 1:54.71. Michelle’s new record stands at the 153rd spot nationally for girls at the same age.
Two of our swimmers improved 100% of their times, and these included Kate Geiger who trains out of Visalia, and Addison Mccullough. All eight TNT swimmers competing at Sectionals posted times in our team’s All Time Top-100 list, and they included Ella Bettencourt, and Gage Price.
The Juanita Allington Memorial swim meet is a local senior-level swim meet which our team has historically used as an entry-level senior experience for our developing swimmers. In past years, this meet provided our 12-under athletes exposure in competing in events with swimmers irrespective of age.
For 2022, TNT had ten swimmers, all fourteen years and older, compete at the meet in Clovis, and three of our swimmers came away as event champions in their respective events. Fifteen-year-old Alexa Wong led the group by wining the time-based final 1000 freestyle (10:11.99), and also took home the gold in the 400 IM (4:24.34). Consequently, both events became new team records where her 1000 freestyle slid under Ava Olson’s previous record of 10:12.78 set this past November at the Kevin Perry meet. Alexa’s new record now stands as the 13th fastest in the nation for girls at age 15. Her second record updates a longer standing time of 4:27.75 that was set in 2007 at the Winter Invite in Southern California, and set by Megan Eppler who went on to swim for the University of Kentucky. Alexa’s new record lands among the top 26 times nationally for girls her age. Ava Olson was the event champion in the 1650 freestyle event, and our other individual with a team record-breaking performance, and she did this with a time of 17:06.49 in the 1650 freestyle event, swapping records with Alexa by going under the previous mark of 17:39.74 that was set earlier in the month. Ava’s time stands as the 30th fastest in the nation for girls at age 16. Our remaining event champion was Bryan Wong who won the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:03.14.
Other swimmers who finished in the top-16 included: Ella Bettencourt (5th-50 free), Addison Mccullough (7th-200 breast), Michelle Murphy (8th-400 IM), Amy Murphy (10th-100 breaststroke).
Thirty-two TNT swimmers competed at the 2022 Central California Swimming Short Course Junior Olympic Championships over the third weekend of February, and took the team to a sixth-place finish with a total of 1,185 points which was behind Bakersfield’s 1,416 fifth place, and just ahead of Fresno Dolphin’s at 1,161.5 points. There were 26 teams that scored at the meet that hosted a total of 28 teams representing regions throughout California and Nevada. Only one Central California Swimming team was among the top four scoring teams: Clovis (4025.5 points), Irvine (3164.5), Las Vegas (1808.5) and PUMA (1533).
The team’s total point accumulation was led by Porterville’s Regan Hildreth who accumulated 113 points while earning a second swim in all seven individual events entered in the 11-12 girl’s division, and becoming the event champion in the 11-12 200 breaststroke event after improving over 14 seconds to a time of 2:40.87. Our next highest point getter was 11 year old Logan Huckabay (109 points), followed by our remining finalists who included: Zach Walker (94 points), Blake Rogers (94), Lexi Krigbaum (85), Hannah Beer (83), Mia Buller (79), Nathan Boudreaux (56), Josh Wee (54), Blake Sifton (54), Marisol Alvarez (52), Lance Walker (50), Danny Rodriguez (24), Gabriela Dutra (23), Tarrin Nelms (21), Reece Phillips (21), Canyon Johnson (19), Kody Kevorkian (15), Ivan Rodriguez (11), Ada Maher (11), Morgan Darpli (9), Josephine Batres (7), Isaak Ensz (7), Hayden Cardoza (7), and Emma Taylor (7).
Regan Hildreth was among five TNT swimmers who were event champions in one or more events, and the group was led by eight-year-old Zack Walker who won three of his seven events by winning the 8-under 100 free (1:18.77), 50 back (42.32), and 50 freestyle (36.77) events. Twelve-year-old Blake Rogers took home the gold in both the 50 free (25.50) and 50 breaststroke (32.61) events. Our remaining two event champions included Lexi Krigbaum who won the 8-under 100 IM (1:34.03), and sixteen-year-old Mia Buller who won the 15-18 500 freestyle event with a lifetime best of 5:25.33.
Thirteen swimmers improved 100% of their events while at the meet. Congratulations go to: Marisol Alvarez, Morgan Darpli, Logan Huckabay, Kody Kevorkian, Lexi Krigbaum, Ada Maher, Addison Mccullough, Tarrin Nelms, Reece Phillips, Danny Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez, Blake Rogers, and Lance Walker.
Annually, during the short course Junior Olympic Championships, Central California Swimming recognizes the top male and top female swimmer at individual ages from 9 to 16, and the 17-18 age group based on ranking performance (Top-5 CCS and national) in nationally recognized events during the previous year’s performance. This year, six TNT swimmers were recognized as the Swimmer the Year for their respective ages this past year, and they include: Logan Huckabay (age 10 boys), Michelle Murphy (age 13 girls), Alexa Wong (age 14 girls), Ava Olson (age 15 girls), Bryan Wong (age 16 boys), and Danielle Albright (age 17-18 girls).
At a swim meet typically geared towards providing opportunity for swimmers to achieve Junior Olympic time standards, fifteen-year-old Alexa Wong took the opportunity to swim the 1650-yard freestyle (i.e. “mile”) for the very first time, and in doing so, set a new team record with a time of 17:39.74, which was well under the 15-18 record of 17:45.35 that was set by Katelyn Herrera at Sectionals in 2014. Alexa’s new team record also falls under the team’s Senior record, since her time also slid under Danielle Albright’s 13-14 age group record of 17:40.29 set at a Clovis meet in 2016. Alexa’s time currently stands as the 69th fastest nationally for girls at age15.
Approximately 75 TNT swimmers competed at the BC Championships held in Visalia over the first weekend of February, in preparation of the Junior Olympics will occurs two weeks out. A level of meet that does not typically result in rankings among our all-time top-100 list, four swimmers did just that. A pair of our sixteen-year-old female swimmers (Marison Avlarez and Mia Buller) braved the distance event of the 1000 freestyle, posting times of 12:47.05 and 11:51.51 respectively, ranked in the 15-over list, while 12-year-old Nathan Boudreaux swam the 200-breaststroke event for the first time, and posted a Top-100 ranking in the 11-12 boys division with his time of 2:43.45 right out of the shoot. Eleven-year-old Regan Hildreth took on one of the most difficult races for the first time, and posted a ranking in the 11-12 girls 400 IM with a time of 5:27.26 while still on the bottom of the age division.
When considering only those events previously recorded with the team in distances 50 yards or longer, congratulations to the following swimmers who improved 100% of their times: Hannah Beer (age 8), Nathan Boudreaux (12), Mia Buller (16), Aubree Carlock (11), Brody Diaz (9), Gabriela Dutra (15), Logan Hildreth (15), Regan Hildreth (11), Isabella Klawitter (16), Makenzie Krum (9), Willa Lasse (8), Marlee Lininger (13), Ada Maher (8), Jett Mahoney (6), Benita Marshall (9), Noa Martin (9), Makayla McGuire (14), Casey Minnig (12), Sophie Nelsen (14), Tyson Phillips (13), Danny Rodriguez (14), Payton Rose (12), Brooke Seliskar (9), Trig Seliskar (12), Jacquene Taylor (9), Ryker Thornton (10), and Adelyn Watkins.
Congratulations also go to the many swimmers who posted new times with the team in events 50 yards or longer. They include: Marisol Alvarez, Nya Awbrey, Josephine Batres, Hannah Beer, Nathan Boudreaux, Mia Buller, McKenzie Chavez, Faith Contreras, Jayce DeRuiter, Sophie Ericson, Mya Figallo, Agusting Gonzalez, Logan Hildreth, Regan Hildreth, Kody Kevorkian, Makayla McGuire, Ayla Morgan, Sophie Nelson, Caleb Newman, Evelynn Newman, Kelechi Nnadi, Ayane Rivello, Danny Rodriguez, Payton Rose, Jacqueline Taylor, Lia Tena, Allison Tos, Elsy Witt, Alexa Wong, than Zuniga and Owen Zuniga.
A total of 28 TNT swimmers competed at the Fresno Dolphins Senior meet which provided exposure to a trials and finals formatted swim meet for not only our current senior-level swimmers, but also to our up-and-coming age group swimmers who gain experience from competing in a senior formatted meet, that offers two swims if qualifying for a final.
Half of our swimmers earned a spot in one of three final heats, and these fourteen finalists included: Ella Bettencourt (age 16; swimming finals in 1), Emma Bettencourt (16; with 2 finals), Drew Black (15; 2), Mia Buller (16; 2), Hayden Cardoza (12; 2), Gabriela Dutra (15; 3), Isaak Ensz (11; 2), Koen Ensz (13; 3), Kody Kevorkian (17; 3), Rylee Medina (13; 1), Ayla Morgan (14; 1), Amy Murphy (16; 4), Ivan Rodriguez (13; 6), and Blake Sifton (17; 1).
Our top finisher was Visalia’s 16-year old Ella Bettencourt who touched 2nd in the 200 IM with at time of 2:15.24, after a 5th place seed from the preliminary heats. Ella is one of our senior swimmers who have qualified for, and competed in, both high-level age group competitions, and senior-level meets, that take place both in state, and out of state. Ella has established herself early on by being the third fastest 50 freestyler in the history of our team for the 13-14 girls division. Other championship, top-8, finishes came from: Drew Black (7th in the 100 fly and 8th in the 100 breaststroke), Kody Kevorkian (7th in the 100 breaststroke), Amy Murphy (4th in the 200 breaststroke and 7th in the 100 breaststroke), Ivan Rodriguez (6th in the 100 backstroke), and Blake Sifton (7th in the 100 free).
Three swimmers posted times in the team’s all-time top 100 list, and these included Nathan Boudreaux (11-12 boys 50 & 100 breaststroke), Regan Hildreth (11-12 girls 50 &O 200 breaststroke), and Blake Rogers (11-12 boys 50 freestyle).
Six TNT swimmers traveled to La Mirada and competed in the Road to 2022 Senior Meet over the third weekend of January. This swim meet was conducted in a split-course format common in Olympic and World Championship years when swimmers can only reach the respective national-level qualifying meets with long course times. For instance, Olympic Trials present only long course time standards, while qualifying for the USA World Championship team is usually based on performance at Summer Nationals, which is conducted in a long course pool. Accordingly, the La Mirada meet provided early long course competition for the calendar year by running preliminary heats as short course (25 yards), and finals as long course (50 meters).
All six TNT swimmers had the opportunity to compete in finals, each contributing to the 7th place finish for the team. Championship finalists were led by 17-year-old Bryan Wong who finished top 8 in four of his five events that included a pair of 4th places (200 breaststroke and 200 IM), a 5th place finish (100 breaststroke), and 7th place (400 IM) finish. Our next highest championship finish was from 15-year old Alexa Wong who touched 7th in the 200 fly, and then by 16-year old Ava Olson who touched 8th in the 100 breaststroke.
Ava Olson and Alexa Wong also set one new team record each. Ava Olson posted a new 1500 meter freestyle time of 17:57.77, being one of only 13 swimmers in the 15-over division to have ever competed in the event, and went well under Katelyn Herrera’s previous record of 18:28.19 set at the LA Invite in 2013. Being an early long course meet, Ava’s time current stands as the 4th fastest nationally for 16-year old female swimmers within the reporting period that started in September. Interestingly, the current top time in the nation was posted while at the same La Mirada meet.
Alexa Wong broke her own team record in the 400 meter IM event for the 15-over division, and now posting the top two times in the history of the team while swimming both times at the bottom of the age division as a 15-year old. Her previous record stood at 5:08.76, and her new record of 5:08.50 now stands as the 5th fastest nationally for 15-year old female swimmers. The currently 2nd ranked swim was posted at the same La Mirada meet by an Irvine swimmer, and the current leading ranking was posted in December at the US Open, and is an Olympic Trial time standard from the “2020” meet.
Congratulations to all who competed, and earned a final swim, including: Addison Mccullough (age 14), Michelle Murphy (age 14), and Josh Wee (age 16).