Nine pre-collegiate TNT swimmers met with their teammate Kyle Grissom, who is currently competing for USC, as they all joined world-class athletes such as World Record holder Katinka Hozzu, and Olympic Gold Medalist, Conor Dwyer, and Anthony Ervin, over the July 12th – 15th weekend at the 2018 Los Angeles Invitational held at the USC Uytengsu Aquatic s Center.
A veteran to the meet since he was 14 years old, Kyle Grissom made it to the B-final finishing 16th in the 50 meter freestyle after posting a lifetime best of 23.93 in the preliminary heats. He then returned to the B-final in the 100 fly to touch second in that heat with a time of 54.99. Our remaining three finalists earned their spots in the D-final with Preston Niayesh leading that group by touching 2nd in the D-final for the 25th place finish in the 200 meter breaststroke where his 2:24.41 was his lifetime best by over two seconds, and so well under his 15-18 team record set at the Clovis meet the previous weekend as a 2:26.64. His time is now the fastest in the history of the team since he slid under Sam Hansen’s senior record of 2:24.99 set at Sectionals at Canyons in the Olympic year of 2012. Preston currently stands as the 36th fastest 17-year old in the nation for the event. His second D-final came from a preliminary swim of 1:07.08, and resulted in the second highest finish among the pre-collegiate TNT swimmers at 28th. Only one other dual finalist existed at the meet, and that was JD Koster who maintained a consistent performance in the 200 meter butterfly after posting a time of 2:09.89 in the preliminary heats, and then improving that time to a 2:09.29 in the D-final, and 29th place finish. His second final came in the 200 meter breaststroke, where he finished 31st after posting a time of2:29.28 in prelims. Danielle Albright was the only other finalist, and she did this on the last day of the meet, in the 100 meter breaststroke by finishing 31st in the D-final after posting a time of 1:15.94 in the preliminary heats, and not requiring any scratches – a bona fide finalist.
Only one other team record was broken at the meet, and that came from 14-year old Bryan Wong who made his first appearance, competed in three events, improved all three, and posted a new team record in the 200 meter breaststroke with a 2:31.66, which just slid under Preston Niayesh’s previous record of 2:31.89 set at the Age Group Zone meet in Hawaii three years earlier in 2015. Bryan’s time currently ranks 34th nationally for boys at the same age and this was his highest finish at 56th at the meet. Alonso Escobedo’s highest finish was 49th in the 400 IM (4:52.33), Visalia’s Lyla Flores touched 93rd in the 200 back (2:37.50), Mackenzie Garza , also of Visalia, finished 74th in the 50 free (27.94), Selma’s Jonas Huckabay touched 85th in the 400 free (4:29.43), and Alex Roberts had her highest finish as 41st in the 200 back (2:26.09)
The Merced meet over the 14th & 15th of July served as the last chance to qualify for Junior Olympics prior to the entry deadline of the meet, and nearly 73% of our members who had previously recorded times improved 50% or more of them. Four swimmers competed in only one event, and improved that one event, and they included: Aidan Champagne, Duncan Champagne, and Visalia’s duo, Carson Clarke and Ciara Clarke. Both Morgan German of Visalia and Noah Hoy competed in five events, and each improved 4 of them, thereby maintaining an 80% improvement rate. Selma’s Lucas Huckabay improved two of three for a 67% improvement, while Nathan Hunt improved one of his two events.
Currently the 44 TNT swimmers represented below are entered into individual events for Junior Olympics. Congratulations to all qualifiers, and good luck at the championship meet.
Eight of eighteen TNT swimmers who competed at the Clovis Arena Grand Challenge meet hosted by Clovis during the first weekend of July earned a second swim in one of four final heats to place among the top 32 in respective events, but only one swimmer came away as an event champion at the senior-level meet. Preston Niayesh was the event champion in the 200 meter breaststroke event, posting a lifetime best swim of 2:26.64 in the event for a new team record in the 18-under division by bettering his previous record set at Futures last August with a 2:27.73. Preston’s improvement currently stands as the 55th fastest nationally for male swimmers at age 17. Preston also set a new team record in the 100 meter breaststroke with another lifetime best at 1:06.64, and this time not only falling under his previous 18-under team record of 1:07.13 set at Sectionals last summer, but also under the Senior team record set by Jordan Stotts at the Clovis Senior Q meet in July of 2009 as 1:07.04. As our first swimmer to post a sub-1:07 time in the history of the team, Preston’s championship final swim takes the 50th slot nationally for boys at age 17. Preston earned three second swims at the meet, his final one being a 25th place finish in the 100 meter butterfly (1:00.52).
Alex Roberts was the only other championship finalist for TNT at the meet, finishing 6th in the 100 meter backstroke with her lifetime best of 1:07.69, and then earned a 10th place consolation finish in the 100 meter fly, again with another lifetime improvement to a 1:05.57. Four additional swimmers scored in the consolation heat, and these included Danielle Albright who posted two 9th place finishes, including the 100 meter breaststroke (1:16.00), and 200 meter breaststroke (2:48.29) events, as well as a C-final swim in the 200IM (2:34.46). Selma’s Jonas Huckabay improved nearly three seconds in the 100 meter freestyle to post a time of 55.71 in the preliminary heats, and a 16th place finish in finals, while 14-year old Bryan Wong improved nearly eight seconds in the 400 meter freestyle with his lifetime best of 4:20.11 posted in the consolation heat for a 16th place finish there. Bryan also earned a D-final swim in the 200 freestyle, posting a lifetime best of 2:04.01. Both his swims were also team records with his 200 free going under his previous record of 2:05.03 set at the Golden West long course meet attended earlier in February of this year. His improved record now ranks 123rd among the 14-year old boys in the nation. The 400 meter freestyle was a new record for him, falling under Nathan Rhea’s previous record of 4:24.64 set at Zones in Hawaii back in 2009. Bryan’s 4:20.11 now stands as the 55th fastest time nationally for boys at the same age.
Two Visalia swimmers performed well enough in the preliminary heats to earn a spot in the C-final, and these included Janessa Bringe who touched 19th in the 200 meter butterfly with her lifetime best of 2:35.49, and Visalia’s Fresno Pacific collegiate swimmer, Lauren Geiger who posted a time of 2:41.41 in the 200 meter backstroke for a 24th place finish there. Lauren also earned a second swim in the D-final of the 100 back (1:11.72). Our only other second swim came from 12-year old Alexa Wong who swam the 400 meter IM (5:36.68) for the first time, and placed 30th at the senior-level meet.
Peyton Costa’s highest finish was 38th in the 200 meter breaststroke (2:50.45), Laney Cox touched 60th in the 100 breast (1:30.57),Visalia’s Mackenzie Garza touched 21st in the preliminary heats of the 50 free (28.54), while Selma’s Daniel Haley had his highest finish as 34th in the 1500 free (19:47.91). Dylan Hunt touched 58th in the 100 breast with a lifetime best of 1:19.67, while his training partner, Ashton King, finished 59th in the 100 back with his lifetime best of 1:10.85. Ten-year old Lemoore standout, Michelle Murphy had her highest finish at 107th in the 100 fly (1:20.95), while Ava Olson touched 48th in the 100 breast (1:26.81). Brett Wong finished 58th in the 200 free (2:06.27), while his brother Bryce Wong touched 39th in the 100 back (1:07.83).
Eighteen TNT swimmers traveled to Ventura to compete at the 2018 June Age Group Invitational alongside swimmers representing over 40 swim teams, and one sole TNT swimmer came away as an event champion, and with 101 points from individual events by placing among the top 4 every time she competed, led the team to its 10th place finish overall. Lemoore’s Michelle Murphy took home the gold in the 10-under 50 meter breaststroke after posting a lifetime best of 42.63, and joining the group of seven TNT swimmers to improve 100% of their times. Michelle was also one of three TNT swimmers to break a team record, and she did this by improving nearly four seconds in the 100 backstroke to a 1:19.81, falling under Alexa Wong’s previous record of 1:21.79 that was set at the Reedley meet in April of 2017. Michelle’s new record currently stands as the 25th fastest in the nation for girls at age 10.
A second record was set by 11-year old Drew Black, who at age 11, set the 11-12 standard in the 100 meter butterfly event as a1:10.39, sliding under one of the remaining historical records that belonged to Lynnie North as a 1:10.75 set back in 1989 at the Western Zone Championships. Drew’s new record currently stands as the 12th fastest nationally for girls at age 11, nearing the national top-10 recognition list. Drew was also one of the seven who improved 100% of their times.
Twelve year old Ava Olson had the only other record-breaking performance, and she did this by improving over three seconds, and posting a time of 2:44.24 in the 200 meter butterfly for the 11-12 age division. Ava’s time falls under Danielle Albright’s previous record of 2:46.62 set at the Reedley meet in 2015. Ava’s time currently stands as the 90th fastest nationally for girls at age 11.
Fourteen of our swimmers’ points from individual events contributed to the team’s overall place that ranged throughout the meet as high as 7th, and following the 100+ points from Michelle Murphy was Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt who posted a total of 66.5 points, and she was followed by her training partner in Visalia, Layla Flores who totaled 45 points from individual events. Our remaining of the 14 swimmers include: Drew Black (44 points), Ava Olson (39), Alexa Wong (35), Bryan Wong (34), Peyton Costa (29), Alex Roberts (29), Ciara Clarke (24), Janessa Bringe (10), Sydnee Wilson (9), Brett Wong (3), and Thomas Matthews (2). Every point was important since only six points separated the 7th place team from the 10th place team. Sienna Abernathy’s highest place was 25th in both the 11-12 50 fly and 100 free, Laney Cox finished 42nd in the 11-12 100 free, Selma’s Drew Johnston finished 27th in both the 11-12 100 back and 50 back, and Bryce Wong touched 21st in the 15-over 100 fly.
Congratulations also to those who managed to maintain a 100% improvement rate at the meet, and these include: Drew Black (improving 6 of 6), Selma’s Drew Johnston (2 of 2), Hanford’s Thomas Matthews (4 of 4), Lemoore’s Michelle Murphy (6 of 6), Selma’s Sydnee Wilson (6 of 6), Bryan Wong (2 of 2), and Bryce Wong (1 of 1).
At one of the most renown swim meets written about in historical literature related to the sport of swimming, Visalia’s Megan Ridenour earned a second swim at the 2018 Santa Clara International, a meet that regularly plays host to several world-class swimmers and teams representing a multitude of countries, and includes World Record holders such as USA’s Katie Ledecky and Ryan Murphy, as well as Canada’s Kylie Masse during 2018. This year, TNT had two swimmers who competed at the meet, and Megan Ridenour came away with the team’s only second swim, earning that privilege in the 200 meter breaststroke after posting a time of 2:50.34 in the preliminary heats, and then touching 36th in the D final of the event. JD Koster was our other athlete, and his highest place was 41st in the 50 meter butterfly.
Eleven TNT swimmers competed alongside college club programs at the 2018 Speedo Grand Challenge over the last weekend of May in Irvine, and four earned a second swim in their respective events. Three of our swimmers earned that second swim in the 12-under division, the highest place going to Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt who made a podium performance in the 50 meter breaststroke, posting a lifetime best of 36.95 in the event, and finishing third. Our next highest finishers both touched 6th in their 12-under events, and they included Ava Olson who swam a lifetime best of 1:24.47 in the preliminary event, then touched 6th in finals with a time of 1:29.77. Alexa Wong also posted a lifetime best, and 6th place finish, in the 12-under 100 freestyle after swimming 1:06.93 in prelims and 1:07.03 in finals. We had one swimmer who competed in the senior division of the meet, and who earned a second swim. Preston Niayesh posted a time of 1:07.86 in the consolation final to touch 20th in the event.
Danielle Albright’s highest finish was 46th in the 100 breast (1:18.29), Drew Black touched 8th in the 100 fly (1:12.08), Layla Flores finished 49th in the 200 back (2:29.42), Mackenzie Garza finished 67th in the 50 free (28.57), JD Koster was 30th in the 200 fly (2:12.99), Alex Roberts finished 41st in the 100 back (1:08.72), and Bryan Wong touched 49th in the 100 breast (1:11.84).
Seventy seven TNT swimmers competed at the long course meet typically held at the Reedley pool, but moved to the Clovis North complex, in late April. This two day event was an introductory meet with respect to long course swimming for fourteen of our athletes. Congratulations to Edmond Aguinaldo for posting five new long course times, along with his sister, Precious Aguinaldo who swam her first two events as a 10-year old. Visalia’s Carson Clarke has to be one of the youngest competitors at the meet, swimming his first event at age 7. He’s supported by his training partner in Visalia, 9-year old Shannell Flores who posted four new times. Although having competed for Sun Prairie Storm in Wisconsin as her first long course experience in 2016, Dasha Lester posted two new times with our club during this meet. Lucas Mcmunn made his debut in the 50 meter freestyle, posting a B-time right out of the shoot. Omolara Omolou also posted a B-time in one of her three events, but also achieved an A-time in 50 freestyle event for her age division. The brother duo of Edward Miguel Ong and Hayden Ong combined to compete in four new long course events at the meet, while the sister-brother duo twins of Abigail Rodriguez and Ivan Ridriguez combined a total of five new events. Ten year old Danny Rodriguez not only competed in a total of five new long course events during the meet, but was one of only three TNT swimmers who remained undefeated in events, and he did so by winning five of his five events. Finishing among the top three in all five of her events was 12-year old Mikayla Rodriguez, who also posted brand new times in all five events. Finally, age-counterpart, Josh Wee swam his first long course meet, by also competing in five new events.
The vast majority of our swimmers had previously recorded times with the team, and sixteen of them managed to improve 100% of the events they competed in. The improvements were led by two Lemoore swimmers who competed in the maximum allowable eight events, and improved all of them. These included Madalynn Lady and Michelle Murphy, both of whom recently attended the Short Course Far Western Championships. Perfect performances also came from Nathan Boudreaux (improving 1 of 1 events), Audrena Butts (improving 3 of 3), Riley Carpenter (4 of 4), Gabriela Dutra (3 of 3), Kate Geiger (4 of 4), Audrey Gutierrez (4 of 4), Kaylee Hicke (1 of 1), Noah Hoy (3 of 3), Jojo Mecum (3 of 3), Raquel Mecum (3 of 3), Delbert Salvadalena (2 of 2), Luke Vanwoudenberg (2 of 2), Alexa Wong (4 of 4), and Brett Wong (2 of 2).
The USA Swimming Pro Swim Series is an sequence of six meets across the country beginning in January at the University of Texas, then moving to Georgia, then Mesa, Indiana, Santa Clara, and finally at Ohio. This series of meets bring together the top swimmers and coaches from across the United States, and often include Olympic-level athletes from around the world. These meets are arguably the first opportunity for our TNT swimmers to attend a swim meet that is televised.
This year, after a year of no qualifiers, TNT returned to the Mesa meet with our four Winter Junior National qualifiers, along with Mallory Korenwinder, to compete at the venue in Arizona. Besides the championship, and televised, performance of Mallory Korenwinder (who finished 8th in the 50 meter breaststroke), three of our four remaining swimmers earned a second swim in either the C or D final. After Mallory, JD Koster was our next highest finisher with a 17th place touch in the 200 meter butterfly during finals where he swam nearly three seconds faster than his preliminary swim. JD was a two-time finalist, also finishing 32nd in the 50 meter butterfly. Our next highest finisher was Visalia’s Megan Ridenour who won the D-final of the 50 meter breaststroke with a time of 34.25. Preston Niayesh was our other dual-finalist, and he finished 30th in the 200 breaststroke, and then 31st in the 50 breaststroke. Danielle Albright highest place was 39th in the 200 meter breaststroke.
Pacific Swimming’s Far Western Championships is considered one of the most prestigious age group competitions across the country due to its history, and has served as an initial testing stage for many top performing age group athletes in past years who went on to become some of the top swimmers in the world. It is a meet that fields only the top eight (ten in this year’s case) athletes from each event for a championship final heat, with no consolation or bonus final. This year, Tule Nation Tritons had four of our fifteen swimmers earn a spot among the top ten performers in their respective events at the meet that took place in the Santa Clara International Swim Complex over the first weekend of April.
Our finalists were led by 13-year old Bryan Wong who shared in the highest place of anyone on our team, and also earned a final swim in two of his events, doing both of these while competing at the bottom of the 13-14 age division. Bryan’s highest finish was 4th place in the 13-14 200 yard breaststroke event, where he posted a time of 2:14.08 as a lifetime best by over a second during the first day of the meet, and then finished the meet with his other final, that resulting from a nearly nine second improvement in the 400 IM by swimming a time of 4:14.98 in the final heat (also posting his lifetime best 100 fly along the way as a split). The only team record that was broken at the meet also belonged to Bryan, who posted a time of 2:02.94 in the 200 IM, and placed 15th in the event, surpassing his own previous record of 2:03.37 that he set at the Junior Olympics just two months earlier. His time currently stands as the 88th fastest nationally for boys at age 13.
Our next highest finisher was 16-year old Garrison Price who posted a time of 52.04 in the 100 fly, and finished 4th. Sixteen year old Bryce Wong scored in the 15-16 200 fly by swimming a time of 1:56.86, and finishing 7th there, while Visalia’s 16-year old Janessa Bringe scored with an 8th place finish in the girls 1000 yard freestyle by improving nearly seven seconds to a 10:44.70 in the event.
Remaining swimmers with their highest place finish include Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt (age 12) who finished 18th in the 50 breaststroke, Drew Black (age 11) who finished 53rd in both the 50 and 100 fly, Selma’s William Butts (age 12) finishing 45th in the 50 fly, Peyton Costa (age 14) finishing 17th in the 500 free, Visalia’s Layla Flores (age 14) finishing 15th in the 200 IM, Visalia’s Mackenzie Garza (age 16) finishing 28th in the 100 free, Selma’s Lucas Huckabay (age 10) finishing 11th in both the 200 free and 50 free, Lemoore’s Madalynn Lady (age 10) finishing 27th in the 50 back, Lemoore’s Michelle Murphy (age 10) finishing 14th in the 100 free, Ava Olson (age 12) finished 25th in the 200 fly, and Alexa Wong (age 11) who finished 43rd in the 400 IM.
Congratulations to Drew Black, and the Selma duo of William Butts and Lucas Huckabay who were our only swimmers to improve 100% of their times while at the meet.