Over the weekend of Sept. 21-22, the Sea Lions Swim Team competed in the Patriot Swim Meet in Oro Valley. 12 teams from Southern Arizona attended the meet and the Sea Lions finished fifth overall with 205 points. All of the 16 swimmers on the Sea Lion Team achieved personal best times in nearly every race they swam.
The Sea Lions swam a total of 128 events during the meet and many performances stuck out as being exceptional.
Against a tough field, Evan Apuron, 10, won the 50 Butterfly, 100 Butterfly, and 50 Free. Evan swam a total of 10 events finishing no worse than third place and achieving a state qualifying time in each. Tabitha Kellam, 10, notched her place as one of the best swimmers in the state by qualifying for state in six events and finishing in the top six in all nine of her races. Riley Stewart, 9, earned five state qualification times and finished in the top nine in all of his races. Gianna Sweeney, 12, achieved state qualifying times in the 50 Breaststroke and the 100 Breaststroke and swam a great 1650 Freestyle.
Darien Apuron, 12, completed the three toughest events in swimming (commonly called the “Brute” events) finishing fourth in the 200 Butterfly, fifth in the 400 Individual Medley (IM), and seventh in the 1650 Freestyle. She did this on top of completing in seven other events with personal best times in virtually all of them.
A group of 7-8 year old boys, gave Southern Arizona a glimpse of the future of San Manuel Swimming. Rocky Andrade, 8, finished third in the 25 Butterfly. Joey Castellanos, 8, finished sixth in the 100 yard Backstroke. Mason Stewart, 8, finished fifth in the 25 Breaststroke and 25 Backstroke. Ethan Kellam, 7, showed he can swim all the strokes well, finishing in the top eight in 100 Individual Medley, as well as the 25 Free, 25 Fly, 25 Breast, and 100 Back. Ben Fister, 8, looked great in the Freestyle and Backstroke events. Head Coach Alex Gort smiled when talking about this group, “We have a great group of eight and unders, I am looking forward to the next meet in October where they can swim together on a Relay team.”
Several swimmers on the team are new to USA swimming and all swam the 200 IM. This event requires the swimmers to be successful in all the competitive strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle) and to swim a considerable distance. Andres Valenzuela, 11, Jayden Smith, 11, Raquel Ortiz, 13, Nate Fister, 11, Rianna Estrada, 9, and Briana Castellanos, 9, all completed in the 200 IM at the meet.
The Oro Valley Pool will be the site of the 2014 Age Group State Championship Meet in March, so it is great to see the Sea Lions swimmers perform well at the facility.