Two of three swimmers competing at Futures made their first appearance at the meet, qualifying only weeks prior to the swim meet. Visalia's Mackenzie Garza qualified for the meet while competing at Sectionals the previous weekend, and came away with the team's only time improvement by swimming a time of 2:24.84 in the event. She achieved her Futures cut in the 50 meter freestyle while at Sectionals.
Attending her second Futures meet is Visalia's veteran, Megan Ridenour who swam to the highest place of any TNT swimmer at the meet, placing 71st in the 100 meter breaststroke with a time of 1:17.42. Megan attended the inaugural Futures meet in Oregon last summer.
Our youngest qualifier was 13-year old Danielle Albright, and her highest finish was 74th in the 200 meter breaststroke where she swam a time of 2:51.13. Danielle qualified for the meet in the 100 meter breaststroke while competing at the LA Invitational in mid-July.
As a result of their performances over the summer, all three swimmers qualify for travel funding.
Five TNT swimmers represented our program at the Senior Zone meet held in Clovis over the August 2nd weekend, and Selma’s Aubrey Holbert, along with Preston Niayesh, both earned second swims in their respective events. Preston earned his final swim in the 100 meter breaststroke event after swimming a time of 1:10.49 in the preliminary heats to earn a 5th place spot in the C-final. Preston finished sixth in the heat, placing 22nd overall in the event after improving his preliminary swim to a 1:10.05.
Two swimmers improved one time each, and both improved events were the 100 meter backstroke. Selma’s Aubrey Holbert swam a lifetime best of 1:10.10 to finish 27th overall during the preliminary heats of the event, fast enough to scratch into the C-final where she finished 24th overall. Fourteen year old Alex Roberts was our youngest contender at age fourteen, and she improved her 100 meter backstroke over a second to a 1:11.30, and finishing 57th in the event.
Visalia’s Lauren Geiger finished 88th as her highest place, and this was in the 100 meter backstroke (1:12.86), while Micah Ruiz’s highest finish was 173rd in the 50 meter freestyle (27.32) event.
Fifty-one TNT swimmers and were among the 500 who competed at the 2016 Central California Swimming Long Course Junior Olympic Championships over the last weekend of July, and the team came away with a second-place finish scoring 2,560 points behind Clovis whose team of 110 athletes scored 6,319 points. Thirty-one teams scored at the meet.
Points from individual events were led by our highest scoring individual in each age and gender division, and these included:
Our event champions were led by Selma’s 8-year old Lucas Huckabay who swam to first place finishes in four of his five events, and placed 2nd in the final one. His wins included the 50 back (42.34), 50 free (35.54), 50 fly (41.97), and 100 free (1:17.90). Our only other event champions came from one age division and gender (13-14 girls), and included: Danielle Albright (100 back – 1:13.85), Visalia’s Janessa Bringe (400 free – 4:45.89), and Visalia’s Mackenzie Garza (50 free – 28.48).
A premium is placed on swimmers who advance to a championship final from the preliminary heats in any event, and our team representation was plentiful. Championship finalists included:
Individuals whose top performance took them to a consolation heat included: Drew Black, Isaac Gutierrez, Xavier Gutierrez, Maya Herrera, Logan Huckabay, Dylan Hunt, Addison Mccullough, Caroline Mendyk, Priscilla Niayesh, and Benjamin Wheeler.
Two of our swimmers set new team records at the meet, and these record-breaking performances were led by Peyton Costa who is continuing to improve the records he has set earlier in the year. His improvements include the 50 back, dropping his 33.11 to a 32.73 and now ranking 139th nationally, dropping his 200 IM from 2:31.84 to 2:31.24 and ranking 135th, improving his 100 back from 1:12.36 to 1:12.26 and ranking 274th, and improving his 100 free from a 1:03.03 to a 1:02.94 and ranking 315th in that event. Peyton also set a new team record for himself, and this was in the 50 freestyle where his time of 28.71 fell under Jackson Huckabay’s 29.13 that was set last year at the very same swim meet. Peyton’s new record now stands as the 307th fastest time posted in the nation for boys at age 12.
Our only other record breaking performance came from Visalia’s Ciara Clarke as she led off the 10-under girls 200 medley relay that finished 2nd in the event. Her lead-off split of 38.22 in the backstroke leg is a tenth of a second under one of the longest standing remaining records on our team. Brook Wilson set the record as a 38.32 in Bakersfield twenty-two years ago in 1994. Ciara’s time places her as the 284th fastest 10-year old girl in the nation for the event.
An astounding 80% of times were improved at this championship-level swim meet, which is significant considering that many of these swimmers are not relatively new to the sport, and have already achieved time standards for much higher-level swim meets prior to their performance at Junior Olympics. Swimmers who improved 100% of their times at the meet included: Sienna Abernathy, Bridget Benegar, Tristin Bennett, Dylan Burr, Ciara Clarke, Ciena Clarke, Peyton Costa, Isaac Gutierrez, Xavier Gutierrez, Logan Huckabay, Lucas Huckabay, Drew Johnston, Rylee Lord, Corinne Maxfield, Addison Mccullough, Madison Pallares, Satoshi Shinkawa, Seiji Shinkawa, Benjamin Wheeler, Sydnee Wilson, Brett Wong, and Bryce Wong.
Our 29 relays generated 948 points of the total team score for the second place team finish and four of our relays came away as Gold Medal finishes. Three of the first place relay finishes were captured by the 13-14 girls. The 13-14 girls team of Katie Sullivan, Danielle Albright, Janessa Bringe and Mackenzie Garza led the first & third place finish of the 400 meter medley relay with a time of 4:53.75, while Katie Sullivan, Danielle Albright, Rylee Lord and Mackenzie Garza took home the gold in the 200 meter medley relay with a time of 2:11.49. Mackenzie Garza, Danielle Albirght, and Rylee Lord teamed up with Janessa Bringe to win the 200 meter freestyle relay with a time of 1:57.01. Our final winning relay was from the 15-18 girls team, and Emma Pena, Tristin Bennett, Megan Ridenour and Maddie Pallares teamed up to swim 5:06.61 to win the 400 meter medley relay.
Four team relay records were broken at the Junior Olympic Championships, beginning with the 11-12 boys 200 meter medley relay led off by Peyton Costa, then Bryan Wong, Gage Price and Danielle Haley. They swam 2:15.72, swimming under their own June Age Group Invitational time of 2:16.05. The 10-under girls’ team of Ciara Clarke, Sienna Abernathy, Ava Olson and Alexa Wong swam 2:13.42 in the 200 meter freestyle relay, swimming again under a June Age Group relay time of 2:15.55 established by Ciara Clark, Ella Bettencourt, Ava Olson and Alexa Wong. The 10-under girls posted a time that currently stands as the 21st fastest nationally for the age and gender division. Our 15-16 boys team of Micah Ruiz, Satoshi Shinkawa, Garrison Price and Brett Wong set a new team record in the 200 medley relay with a time of 2:00.65, swimming well under a previous team record of 2:09.72 set in 2008 by Brian Brown, Nathan Rhea, Alex Hansen and Thomas Brown at that year’s Junior Olympics. The final team record was set by the 11-12 boys 200 freestyle team of Bryan Wong, Daniel Haley, Gage Price and Peyton Costa as a 2:02.69, swimming under the 2:04.57 set in 2013 by JD Koster, Preston Niayesh, Bryan Wong and Quinton Davis at the Junior Olympics that year.
Seven TNT swimmers competed at 2016 Summer California-Nevada Sectional Championships over the fourth weekend of July at the Roseville Aquatics Complex, and intent on achieving the time standard to move on to the USA Swimming’s Futures meet, Visalia’s fourteen year old Mackenzie Garza did just that. Mackenzie recently broke the team record in the 13-14 girls 50 meter freestyle event with a 28.06 at the LA Invitational meet only one week earlier, just missing being the first 14-under girl in the history of our team to swim under 28 seconds in the event; however, well exceeded that milestone, not just once, but twice, while competing at Sectionals. Mackenzie’s first attempt left her with a time of 27.92, under the 28-second mark, but just shy of the Futures cut of 27.49. Her second effort would not disappoint. She swam her lifetime best of 27.28 during her second attempt, well under the Futures time standard, well under her previous team record of 28.06 set the previous week, and now just over a tenth of a second off of the CCS Record held by former Porterville resident who trained in Visalia, Kristi Begin, who went on the compete for the University of California, Berkley. Mackenzie’s new record currently stands as the 51st fastest time for any 14-year old girl in the nation.
Four of our swimmers earned second swims at Sectionals which fielded four heats of eight. Our finals were led by Preston Niayesh who was our only swimmer with two second swims, his 100 meter breaststroke preliminary time of 1:09.41 being fast enough to place him in the scoring C-final where he finished 23rd. His other final was a winning performance of the 200 breaststroke non-scoring D-final (25th place) where he improved nearly 15 seconds from his preliminary swim to a 2:32.08. Alonso Escobedo was our only other scoring swim, and he improved nearly nine seconds from his preliminary swim to a 4:55.47 to finish 23rd in the 400 meter IM. Alonso is newly qualified for Sectionals, making the cut in the 200 IM while competing at the LA Invite the previous weekend. JD Koster swam nearly three seconds faster than his preliminary swim, another swimmer to win the non-scoring D-final, of the 200 meter butterfly where he swam 2:13.04 in the event he achieved the qualifying time just one week earlier at LA Invite. Our only other finalist was Visalia’s Megan Ridenour who improved her preliminary swim by over second during the D-final to a 1:15.53, and 28th place finish there.
Our youngest representative at age 13, Danielle Albright, finished 37th in the 100 meter breaststroke with a time of 1:17.85, and competed in four events at the meet. Our most experienced veteran to Sectionals, Khloe McCarthy, competed in five different events, and her highest finish was 36th in the 200 meter backstroke event. Khloe will be attending Pepperdine this upcoming fall.