Five TNT swimmers competed at the fourth annual Futures Championships held at the Santa Clara International Aquatic Center over the first weekend of August, and two swimmers performed well enough to earn a second swim among one of three heats of nine lanes. The Futures Championships was established as a transitional meet to help athletes stair-step between Sectionals and Junior Nationals. This year JD Koster placed TNT on the scoreboard after posting the sixth fastest 200 meter butterfly time of 2:07.71 at the meet during the preliminary heats. He went on to improve his 200 IM time to a 2:12.97. The only other TNT swimmer to earn a second swim was Garrison Price who made his debut appearance at both Sectionals and Futures this summer, and earned a spot in the C-final of the 100 meter butterfly and swimming a 57.70 to finish 22nd overall. Garrison had a lifetime best in the 200 meter butterfly with a 2:10.57. Danielle Albright had our next highest finish at 41st in the 200 meter breaststroke (2:45.97), Alex Roberts was next with a 45th place finish in the 100 back (1:07.54), and Alonso Escobedo touched 57th in the 100 back (1:03.47).
Eleven TNT swimmers traveled to Santa Clarita over the third weekend of July to compete at the 2018 California – Nevada Sectional Championships hosted by Canyons aquatics, and four of our eleven performed well enough in the preliminary heats to earn a second swim in one of three final heats. Our highest finish came from Preston Niayesh who touched 4th in the 100 meter breaststroke after posting a Winter National cut with a time of 1:05.25, thereby also qualifying for the upcoming Summer Junior National meet as well. Preston’s time betters his previous team record that he set at the Clovis meet two weeks earlier as a 1:06.27, and his current record now stands as the 25th fastest 17 year old male swimmer in the nation. Preston also won the consolation heat of the 200 meter breaststroke with a time of 2:22.89, and once again qualified for both the Winter Nationals and Summer Junior National meets. His swim also broke his preexisting team record that was set at the LA Invitational the previous weekend as a 2:24.41, and his new record now ranks 28th nationally.
Our next highest finish was also a championship final at seventh place, and two swimmers finished there. JK Koster came away with the most second swims, earning one in every event he competed in. His highest place was seventh in his signature event, 200 meter butterfly, where he posted a time of 2:07.51. He improved all three of his remaining events, placing 11th in the 400 IM with a time of 4:42.82, 16th in the 200 IM with a 2:13.53, and 21st in the 100 fly after swimming a time of 57.88 in the preliminary heats. Our other seventh place finish went to our youngest finalist, 15-year old Danielle Albright swimming twice under her lifetime best and posting a 2:42.16 at the meet in the 200 meter breaststroke event. Danielle was a double-finalist as she also touched 24th in the 400 IM after swimming another lifetime best of 5:15.91 in prelims. Another double-finalist was Garrison Price who made his debut appearance at Sectionals, and placed 29th in the 100 fly with a time of 57.06, and then touched 23rd in the 200 meter butterfly with a time of 2:10.90.
Besides Preston, three additional team records were broken at the meet. After tying the team record during a time trial event, Visalia’s Layla Flores led of the 4×100 freestyle relay to post a 1:00.80 for the 100 meter freestyle as an official time, and went under Samantha Goates previous team record of 1:01.16 that was set at the Southern California Swimming AA meet at Santa Maria back in 2003. Layla’s time currently stands as the 177th fastest nationally for girls at age 14. Bryan Wong had the only other record-breaking performance, and he did this twice by breaking his own team record in the 200 meter breaststroke with a time of 2:30.04 going over a second and a half under his previous record set at LA Invite the previous weekend. His new time places him as the 24th fastest 14-year old male swimmer in the event nationally. His other record was the 4:19.96 that he posted in the 400 freestyle, being the first 14-under swimmer in the history of the team to swim under the 4:20 mark. His new record now ranks 85th nationally for boys at the same age.
Our remaining swimmers, and their highest place, include: Mackenzie Garza (107th – 100 free, 1:02.08), Jonas Huckabay (51st – 200 free, 1:59.34), Alex Roberts (30th – 200 back, 2:28.63), and Brett Wong (101st – 100 free, 55.94).
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).
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).
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 meet brings 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 20 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.
Eight TNT swimmers representing five of our six current towns competed at the 2018 SWAGR meet in Clovis, many of whom are focused on the Far Western Championships two weeks hence. Selma’s 11-year old Sienna Abernathy maintained a 100% improvement rate, and had as her highlight event a 14-second improvement in the 500 yard freestyle where her time of 5:42.76 just missed the Far Western standard by .07 seconds while still on the bottom of the 11-12 age division. Visalia’s 12-year old, Ella Bettencourt, is already a first-time Far Western qualifier, but she added to her Far Western schedule by achieving a new cut in the 100 yard freestyle after swimming 58.30 in the event, and improving by nearly a full second. Drew Black is another swimmer who already has Far Western cuts, and she posted a time of 59.11 in her 100 freestyle, just missing a new event for Far Westerns by a mere .62 seconds. Another swimmer who is knocking at the door of Far Westerns is Selma’s 13-year old, Tyler Coles, who improved nearly four seconds in the 200 backstroke to post a time of 2:08.09, which is now within a second of the Far Western time standard (only .8 seconds away), and while still on the bottom of the 13-14 age division. Layla Flores is probably the most veteran of our Far Western qualifiers who attended the SWAGR meet, and will be attending Far Westerns, and her highlight event was a new Sectional time standard achieved in the 100 yard breaststroke where she posted a time of 1:07.24 in the event as the event champion. Hanford’s 11-year old Thomas Matthews is another swimmer to keep an eye on for next year’s Far Western’s since he is now well within range of qualifying in four events (50 fly, 50 back, 100 fly & 100 back) after swimming 2 seconds from the standard in each 50, and 4 seconds from the standard in each 100 yard event. Lemoore’s Michelle Murphy already has a full schedule of qualified events at Far Westerns, but still, her 8-second improvement in the 200 IM to a 2:40.99 is a new cut, and in one of her off events. Finally, 11-year old Alexa Wong entered only two events into SWAGR, with clear intent of achieving new Far Western cuts in both events, and she did just that by improving over two seconds in the 200 IM (2:22.84), and nearly 19 seconds in the 400 IM (4:57.69).
Far Western Championships takes place at the Santa Clara International Swim Center over the first weekend of April.
Our very own Mallory Korenwinder competed at her first Division 1 NCAA Championship meet in March of 2018 at the University of Ohio, in Columbus as a collegiate sophomore. She competed in the 100 yard breaststroke where she had her highest finish at 27th, as well as the 200 yard breaststroke, and 200 medley relay for the University of Arizona (Pac-12). The women’s NCAA meet took place one week prior to the men’s D1 NCAA championship where our Kyle Grissom competed in the 200 freestyle relay for USC.