West, Tracy and Kimball high swimmers all gathered Tuesday at West High’s Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center for the opening meet of the 2014 season.
This is the third year of the Pinkie Phillips Invitational, named for the late West High and Tracy Tritons swim coach. The varsity teams compete to have their school name on the perpetual plaque, with Kimball High the top team this year in both the boys and girls three-way dual format.
Kimball’s girls beat Tracy 114-54 and beat West 124-39, and Tracy beat West 110-26. Kimball’s boys beat Tracy 106-60 and beat West 108-56, and Tracy beat West 84-67.
The meet is also the first chance for swimmers to establish their qualifying times for the Sac-Joaquin Section meet May 15 to 17 at Tokay High in Lodi. Seven individuals did qualify Tuesday, as did eight relay teams.
Among them was Kimball High freshman Kamryn Lucero, who is in her first year of high school swimming.
She won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.94 seconds, a fraction of a second ahead of the section standard, and also qualified with a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1 minute, 3.99 seconds).
Lucero said that the local meet is fun because many swimmers from all three schools are active with Ellis Aquatics year-round and now swim against each other as they represent their respective high schools.
“It was a new experience to be able to swim for Kimball and I really enjoyed that,” Lucero said. “We really just want to be able to work hard and qualify for our section times, and hopefully just have a really good positive season this year.”
In all, she qualified in four events, including two relays, as did Tracy High freshman Bree Houser, who won the 200 individual medley (2:20.52), the 100 breaststroke (1:11.58) and two relays.
The friendly interschool rivalry was evident in the boys 100 backstroke, where Kimball freshman Nathanial Sichau and Tracy sophomore Nathan Hu looked as if they would swim to a tie. Sichau got his hand on the wall first for a school record (1:03.46), just ahead of Hu (1:03.68).
“I’m just hoping I get faster in my events, and that’s what I’m doing so far,” Sichau said.
Hu added that the high school season is a good change of pace for him and other year-round swimmers.
“It’s a big gathering of all the year-round swimmers and it’s definitely a benchmark and shows how we’ll be doing in future meets,” he said. “It’s the starting line for us.”
West senior Cassidy Waters, who won the 100 backstroke (1:09.56) and got her ticket to the section meet with second place in the 50 freestyle (26.46), said the invitational is her favorite meet of the year.
“We practice with the Ellis kids, so all of my teammates are here,” she said. It’s really competitive. You really want to try your best in this event.”
Another of West’s top swimmers this year will be senior Emil Soler-My, an exchange student from France. He won both the 50 freestyle (23.48) and the 100 freestyle (52.50) with times that came close to qualifying him for the section meet.
He expects to improve and compete at the section meet in May. In the meantime, he just enjoys competing as part of the Wolf Pack team.
“It’s not a huge team, but we’re really close to each other and we like swimming together and we have fun,” he said.
The first meet of the year is also a time for swimmers to do well in events they haven’t favored in the past. Tracy junior Austin Meyer said that the 100-yard freestyle hadn’t been his best event, but on Tuesday, in the third leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay, he overcame the Kimball team’s early lead to help Tracy win the event (3:39.70).
“I was nervous going in and was trying to push it real hard,” Meyer said. “The competition here is great. A lot of us are from Ellis, so we know each other. It’s really competitive, but we’re all really good friends.”
Pinkie Phillips Invitational
First-place finishers in each event, plus Sac-Joaquin Section qualifying times (SJS) and school records (R).
200 medley relay — Kimball (Nathaniel Sichau, Daniel Russell Cheung, Nicholas Sichau, Seth Suzuki), 1:48.59 (SJS) (R). Tracy (Austin Meyer, Preston Tsang, Nathan Hu, Spencer Bishop), 1:51.44 (SJS).
200 free — Brandon Brown, Tracy, 2:01.46.
200 individual medley — Daniel Russell Cheung, Kimball, 2:10.87 (SJS) (R).
50 free — Emil Soler-My, West, 23.48.
100 fly — Seth Suzuki, Kimball, 57.69.
100 free — Emil Soler-My, West, 52.50.
500 free — Brandon Brown, Tracy, 5:21.05.
200 free relay — West (Andy Alvarenga, Assad Khan, Roy Nehoran, Sarfaraz Mohammed), 1:33.60 (SJS).
100 back — Nathaniel Sichau, Kimball, 1:03.46 (R).
100 breast — Daniel Russell Cheung, Kimball, 1:05.51.
400 free relay — Tracy (Brandon Brown, Spencer Bishop, Austin Meyer, Nathan Hu), 3:39.70 (SJS). Kimball (Seth Suzuki, Justin Riccobono, Roger Gomez, Daniel Russell Cheung), 3:41.38 (R).
200 medley relay — Tracy (Maisy Green, Bree Houser, Lane Fishburn, Julia Vares), 2:02.23 (SJS) (R). Kimball (Gaby Perez Del Rio, Scarlett Green, Kamryn Lucero, Sasha Betts), 2:02.83 (SJS).
200 free — Madeline Wittkowske , Kimball, 2:12.90.
200 individual medley — Bree Houser, Tracy, 2:20.52 (SJS). Scarlett Green, Kimball, 2:24.46 (SJS).
50 free — Kamryn Lucero, Kimball, 25.94 (SJS). Cassidy Waters, West, 26.46 (SJS).
100 fly — Kamryn Lucero, Kimball, 1:03.99 (SJS). Gaby Perez Del Rio, Kimball, 1:04.70 (SJS).
100 free — Sasha Betts, Kimball, 58.54.
500 free — Madeline Wittkowske , Kimball, 6:11.71.
200 free relay — Kimball (Colby Chase, Morgan Fauchier, Victoria Gomez, Madeline Wittkowske ), 1:59.33.
100 back — Cassidy Waters, West, 1:09.56.
100 breast — Bree Houser, Tracy, 1:11.58 (SJS).
400 free relay — Kimball (Kamryn Lucero, Sasha Betts, Gaby Perez Del Rio, Scarlett Green), 4:00.06 (SJS) (R). Tracy (Lane Fishburn, Maisy Green, Bree Houser, Julia Vares), 4:05.12 (SJS).
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.