On Saturday May 5 the Terra Linda Orcas celebrated the first dual meet of the year by visiting the Indian Valley College pool in Ignacio and soundly beating the Novato Riptide in their own waters, 333 - 201.
This was a little payback for Orcas who have finished directly behind the Riptide the past two years in the season ending Marin Swim League County Championship Meet. The Orcas and Riptide seem to be heading in opposite directions.
The lopsided score should give the surging Orcas plenty of confidence as they host their first home dual meet of 2012 against the Lucas Valley Lightening this Saturday May 12 at the. Lucas Valley lost their first dual meet against a very strong Strawberry Seals team 301 – 226. The much anticipated Northern San Rafael rivalry of the Orcas and the Lighting should be very close, as the Lightening have some excellent swimmers and coaches.
The Orcas are no slouches either and the Lightening will have their flippers full this Saturday. Three Orcas placed first in each of their events against the Riptide. In the Girls 13-14 category Skylar Merwin took first in freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. Zach Kent grabbed first in freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly for the Boys 13-14 and 15-18 Girls Brooke Wolford won freestyle, butterfly and IM. Wolford did not participate in the previous Time Trials and these were her first recorded times of 2012, all of which qualified her to swim in this year’s All Star meet.
Other new Orca All Star qualifiers include Julia Boro, who previously was only five tenths of a second off making it in Freestyle and improved her time by more than half a second to 30.42. Boys 9-10 Blake Thompson took a quantum leap in breaststroke, dropping over four seconds off his time to easily qualify at 44.45. Girls 15-18 Madalyn Kenny won her heat in breaststroke and recorded a 37.51, qualifying by a second and a half. Boys 8 and Under Tristan Barns won his heat and qualified in the butterfly with a 23.12. Girls 11-12 Kenna Levin, Boys 13-14 Zach Kent and Girls 13-14 Cassidy Munson also qualified for the All Stars in the butterfly.
In the 9-10, Johan Albers has set the swimming standard in the league for the past few years. He already qualified for the All Stars in all his strokes, achieved best times in each against the Riptide which is never easy, and literally crushed his butterfly time, dropping from 37.69 to 32.96.
First place and All Star qualifying finishes are only a small part of competitive youth swimming. Another important aspect is the individual breakthrough athletic performance: like the ones Blake and Johan had on Saturday. It happens every year, sometimes even every week and it’s magical when you watch your own kids do it. My own 10-year-old daughter Skylee dropped 8 seconds in the IM to get down to 1:33:92 in a close second place finish. It was amazing for me to watch because for the past two years she has always fallen behind on the first two strokes, backstroke and butterfly then fought her way back through the breaststroke and freestyle. This past week she didn’t fall behind, she had no weaknesses. It's going to be fun to watch her and my other daughter Sabrina this year.
Swimming is a lot like life. You do the best you can. Sometimes you win, but as long as you are trying and improving you are on the right track. The Orcas are on the right track and the next stop on that track is the Lucas Valley Lightening.