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Meet Report, July 17, 2021

Courtside Stingrays at South Irvine Dolphis (by David Meyer)

The Courtside Stingrays came in tough, announcing that the Dolphins would have to step up and do their best to contest their cross-town rivals. From the start of the relays, things looked tough, particularly when both of the top 11-12 Medley Relays were disqualified. But the 13-14 Medley Relay changed the story: Halle Ewing, Edward Lee, George Hibbard, and Noah Lee cleared the pool and claimed victory with a strong time. Inspired, the six and under boys (Levi Bouhbot, Aksel Varnali, Adam Ward, and Joshua Lerner) took the top 4 slots in the 25 Butterfly. The season is going fast, but the Dolphins are going faster!

Once the new tone was set, Dolphin victories accumulated. In the Boys 25 Backstroke Cassius Espiritu (6) and Guilherme Falleiros Friggi (8) claimed top spots. In the 50 Back, Grace Baek (10), Sophia Veravanich (11), Brian Rezaee (12), Anna Soriano (14), Holden LeVine (14), and Coach Annika all claimed the top spot in their age groups. Grace Baek and Amie Antonio both posted impressive victories in the 100 Individual Medley, finishing quickly enough to take a breath and enjoy watching the rest of the racers touch the wall and offer commentary. Marco Tirado scorched a 1:06 to win the 11-12 100 IM, and Holden LeVine and Julie Shabanie claimed victory in their age groups.

Dolphins dove and breached and spouted; it was a beautiful sight!

The 13-14 group wasn’t quite done. The 200 Free Relay team of Handerson Lee, George Hibbard, Anna Soriano, and Holden LeVine put a bow on the meet, posting a devastating time of 1:40.07. That fearsome foursome set a new South Irvine Dolphins World Record, beating the old time of 1:41.38, set way back in 2010, by an exceptional group of future coaches: Judson Balding, Alex Bennett, Julia Knoell, and Philip Wright, set at the ISL Championships more than a decade ago. Fortunately, Coach Julia and Coach Philip were there to cheer the younger Dolphins on! Ten years is a long time for a Dolphins record to last, and these impressive young Dolphins aren’t done yet.

Once again, young Dolphins posted extraordinary time improvements. Colton Barrett knocked 8.22 seconds off his 25 Backstroke, and ten year old Carmina Blanco Tossetto sliced more than 12 seconds off her 50 free. Ten year old Micah Bouhbot cut 11.6 seconds from his 50 Breast, posting an Irvine Swim League Qualifying Time of 44.93. Five year old Katherine Chow dropped 17.84 seconds from her 25 Breaststroke, while five year old Felipe Falleiros Friggi dropped more than 9 seconds in both the 25 Free and the 25 Fly. Holden Fournier displayed a swift breastroke that covered 25 yards nearly 20 seconds faster than his previous best. Matthew Lerner demonstrated a determination to spend less time in the water, dropping 10.85 seconds from his 50 Back, and an almost unbelievable (well, we saw it!) 34.15 seconds from his 50 Free. Ella Marshall cut 8.65 from her 50 Back, and Awnan O’Byrne cut 8.87 from his 25 Free. Brian Rezaee knocked 11.96 seconds off his 50 Back, and Riley Simon slipped 8.78 from his 50 Back, then another 7.66 seconds from his 50 free. Nicolas Tsai lopped 9.28 seconds from his 50 Back to reach 43.53. With all that time saved, eternity will never be the same.

Many Dolphins posted impressive time improvements, sometimes multiple time improvements.

A few Dolphins got faster every time they touched the water, posting three time improvements: Amie Antonio, Lara Blanco, Levi Bouhbot, Micah Bouhbot, Dylan Elmer, Kynsley Espiritu, Felipe Falleiros Friggi, Guilherme, Falleiros Friggi, Pierre Fournier, Ryan Lee, Riley Simon, Taylor Simon, Mateo Tirado, Caprie Troccoli, Nicolas Tsai, and Sophia Veravanich.

Dolphins with two time improvements included: Grace Baek, Joseph Baek, Colton Barrett, Carmina Blanco Tossetto, Katherine Chow, Cassius Espiritu, Gia Fournier, Rafik Gendy, Lauren Kwan, Benjamin Lee, Olivia Lee, Matthew Lerner, Ella Marshall, Caitlyn Morales, Annika Nie, Awnan O’Byrne, Brian Rezaee, Jacob Shabanie, Kennedy Smith, Carlo Soriano, Marco Pablo Tirado, Benjamin Tsai, and Benjamin Zitzman.

Another portion of the pod posted single time improvements: Sean Finger, Holden Fournier, Kareen Gendy, Ilia Ghorbani, George Hibbard, Edward Lee,  Noah Lee, Holden LeVine, Mirabella LeVine, Frederic Liu, Rani Madani, Tyler Morales, Chase Nelson, Jack Nelson, Aidan O’Byrne, Mimi O’Melveny, Kale Sandland, Sebastian Smith, Haley Soukesian, Derin Varnali, Eric Wang, Angela Yu, and Chenyue Zhou,

Dolphin Spirit was everywhere, exemplified by Youssef Afifi, Aidan Antonio, Halle Ewing, Handerson Lee, Julia Shabanie, Anna Soriano, Brandon Yu.

And, as the Irvine Championship meet draws near, the impressive list of Dolphins with Qualifying Times continues to grow. New Qualifiers included Yousef Afifi, Aidan Antonio, Amie Antonio, Lara Blanco, Micah Bouhbot, Pierce Fournier, Kennedy Smith, and Nicolas Tsai. (Remember, every Dolphin can swim one event in Champs; those with Qualifying Times can swim up to three individual events.)

When Covid is a distant memory, people will still tell stories about the Dolphin season of 2021.

Check out the meet pictures by clicking here.