Tule Nation Tritons was a topic of discussion around the pool deck among numerous teams during the early days of the Winter Age Group Championships when TNT was in 4th place among 38 teams competing at the meet. Once all was said and done, at 1,018 points, TNT finished a respectable 6th among the field, with 19 of our 28 swimmers scoring in individual events, two of whom scored in triple digits.
With 128 points, fourteen year old Bryan Wong was the lead scorer, winning four of his six events at the meet, three of which resulted in team records. His first win was in the 200 IM, swimming under the 2-minute mark for the first time with a 1:58.54 and being among 64 fourteen year old boys in the nation to do so. Bryan’s previous record was 2:02.10 set at the Hanford meet in September. Following the short IM was the win in the 400 IM where he once again swam uncontested, with a 4:13.69 finishing four seconds ahead of the next swimmer. His next win was nearly a 2-second drop over his previous record of 2:12.50 from the Kevin Perry meet in the 200 IM, where his 2:10.70 now ranks 43rd nationally. His final win was in the 500 freestyle, where his 4:45.93 missed the meet record by less than two seconds, but was an improvement of his own team record of 4:46.81 from Kevin Perry, and now stands as the 50th fastest nationally for boys at age 14. Bryan set team records in three additional events, and these included the 100 breaststroke, where his 59.76 was enough for a 2nd place finish, and was an improvement of his Kevin Perry time of 1:01.10, and currently ranks 32nd nationally. His 1:48.21 in the 200 freestyle tops his Merced swim of 1:49.68 in October, and is the 153rd fastest nationally. Finally, his 49.66 in the 100 free is a new team record for him, falling under Kyle Grissom’s 50.40 set at the Terrapin meet in the winter of 2012, standing as the 179th fastest nationally.
Drew Black was the only other triple-digit point getter at 119 points from individual events, with her highest place being a 2nd place finish in the 11-12 girls 100 butterfly. While still on the bottom of the age group, her 1:00.13 at finals went under Mallory Korenwinder’s previous team record of 1:02.68 set at Far Westerns in 2011, and with a time that currently stands as the 2nd fastest nationally for girls at age 11 (the top time being posted from the same meet). Her next highest finish was 3rd, and this was in the 50 butterfly, where she posted a time of 27.34, again falling under Mallory’s previous team record of 27.67 set at the same Far Western meet. Drew’s time is currently the 7th fastest posted nationally.
Our third highest point getter was 12-year old Alexa Wong. With 94 points, she finished 2nd in three events that included the 200 IM, 200 fly, and 400 IM, all three which resulted in team records. Her 2:14.61 in the 200 IM went under Danielle Albright’s 2:15.50 set at Far Westerns in 2015, and stands as the 48th fastest nationally for girls at age 12. Her 2nd place finish in the 200 fly resulted from a 2:13.69, and is an improvement of Drew Black’s previous team record of 2:18.63 set at the Tulare meet earlier in the same month. The new record stands as the 19th fastest time nationally for a 12-year old girl. Finally, her 4:42.88 stands as the 16th fastest time in the nation, and slides under Danielle Albright’s previous team record of 4:43.59 set at Far Westerns in 2015.
Bryce Wong was our only other event champion, winning the 200 fly after posting a lifetime best of 1:55.55 in the preliminary heats. He earned three additional championship swims that included the 100 breast (1:01.76), 100 fly (52.58), and 200 IM (2:01.68) events, and also swam a final in the 200 breast. Visalia’s Ella Bettencourt competed on the bottom of the 13-14 age division, yet earned a championship swim in the 50 free by posting a time of 25.72 in the preliminary heats. She also earned second swims in the 200 free, 100 back, and 100 free events. Visalia’s Janessa Bringe had a championship swim by finishing 8th with a lifetime best of 2:14.33 in the 200 fly. She also had second swims in the 100 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM, and 500 freestyle events. Selma’s William Butts had 4 swims in the championship finals, his highest place being three 4th place finishes that included the 50 fly (27.88), 50 back (29.93), and 100 fly (1:07.57). Two other championship swims of his included a 5th place in the 50 breast (32.89), and 8th place in the 100 free (59.90). He also earned seconds swim in the 100 breast, 100 back, and 100 fly events. Visalia’s Layla Flores is another individual competing on the bottom of the age division, yet who earned a championship seeding in finals. She posted a time of 2:10.23 in the 15-18 division of the 200 IM to finish 3rd in the event. She also earned second swims in the 100 breast, 50 free, 100 back and 100 free events. Porterville’s 8-year old Regan Hildreth earned her championship swim with an 8th place finish in the 10-under (yea, she’s 8 in the 10-under division) 50 breaststroke after swimming a time of 40.54 in the preliminary heats. She also earned a second swim in the 100 breast. Another 8-year old phenom who earned a championship final in the 10-under division was Selma’s Logan Huckabay who touched 5th in the 10-under 50 fly with a time of 34.52. He also earned second swims in the 100 free, 100 IM, and 50 free events. His brother, Lucas Huckabay, while competing on the bottom of the 11-12 age division, earned a championship swim in the 200 free after posting a time of 2:09.31 in the preliminary heats. He also earned a final swim in the 50 breast, 100 free, 50 fly, 100 breast and 50 free events. Ava Olson is another of our swimmers competing on the bottom of the age bracket, and she still earned a top-8 finish in two events that included a 6th place finish in the 200 fly after posting a lifetime best of 2:18.64 in the preliminary heats, and then finished 8th in the 100 breast after posting another lifetime best of 1:10.06 in prelims. Sydnee Wilson was another double championship finalist. Her top finish was a 4th place in the 50 breaststroke, improving her time by over a second to a 33.27, and then again improving by over a second in the 50 free to a 26.44 to touch 6th there. Sydnee also earned second swim in the 100 free and 100 breaststroke.
Six additional swimmers earned a final (top-16), scoring, swim, and these include Selma’s Jackson Huckabay who earned consolation swims in the 200 IM and 400 IM, along with his brother, Jonas Huckabay, who earned consolation swims in the 100 breast, 200 free and 100 free events. Hanford’s Thomas Matthews finished in the consolation finals in six events that included the 200 back, 50 fly, 200 fly, 400 IM, 100 back, and 100 fly, while 11-year old Addison Mccullough earned top16 finishes in the 12-under 200 fly and 200 breaststroke events. Also competing at the bottom of the 11-12 division, and scoring, was Lemoore’s Michelle Murphy who finished top-16 in the 200 back and 500 free events. Finally, Gage Price had 4 top-16 performances that included the 100 fly, 100 back, 500 free and 200 back.
Thirteen year old Laney Cox had her highest finish at 21st in the 13-14 200 breaststroke, while 13-year old Drew Johnston touched 18th in the 13-14 100 backstroke. Ashton King came back from college to finish 29th in the 200 back, while Lemoore’s Madalynn Lady finished 23rd as her highest finish in the 200 breast. Kristine Marinos of Visalia had her highest place as 22nd in the 100 back, and Selma’s Mark Marroquin touched 41st as his highest finish, and in the 100 fly. Lemoore’s Amy Murphy had her best place at 35th while on the bottom of the age group, and Visalia’s Vincent Sanchez, also on the bottom of the age group, finished 39th as his highest place. Visalia’s Luke Vanwoudenberg touched 21st in the 200 back as his highest finish.