July 16, 2022
Meet #3 South Irvine Dolphins at Heritage Park Seals
Now past the halfway point in the greatest Dolphin season ever, the Pod is beginning preparations for Champs in August. This week, for the first time in this already memorable season, we took the Dolphin show on the road, and it was impressive. Facing the Seals, another quick collection of marine mammals, offered the Dolphins the chance to perform in historic Woollett Aquatics Center. Irvine Swim League holds its Championship Meet at Woollett, which has also hosted other nearly as important meets, including the US National Championships and the Olympic Trials. Fast times were expected, and the Dolphins delivered. The Dolphins showed they belong, while they got the feel of the Championship course.
At this point, the officials get tougher with the rules for competition, and there were many disqualifications. The Dolphins are learning that they need to take care with their turns, technique, and transitions in order to have their top swims count. This was a big opportunity.
To set an example, Nathan Wu broke his own South Irvine Dolphins World Record in the 50 Breaststroke (15-18 year olds) by .16 seconds. He’d set the record only last week, so the pixels haven’t even had a chance to settle in the electronic record book. The new mark, 27.72 provides an inspiration and a target for all the Dolphins, today and in the future. Meanwhile, Handerson Lee broke one of Nathan’s South Irvine Dolphin World Records. Handerson dropped nearly a second and a half from his 50 Freestyle, establishing a new record in the 13-14 Boys 50 yard Freestyle of 22.03, eclipsing Nathan’s old record by .11. Those Dolphins just keep getting faster.
The Dolphins showed their spirit and skill everywhere, and we want to recognize their Backstroke achievements at Heritage Park. Starting in the water, staring at the sun, and having to estimate just when that wall will come, Dolphin backstrokers staged impressive performances. Reese Yasinski won the under 6 Girls 25 Back, while Noah Mobasseri dropped more than 7 seconds in the Boys Division, followed by Mason Nguyen and Noah Shmurak, who claimed the next top spots. Stella Singer, Hailey Alpert, and Lia Uchida placed 2-4 in the Girls 7-8 Back, while Brij Bhargava, Cassius Espirtu took first and second in the Boys Division, supported by Joshua Lerner who finished 4th with a big time drop. For the 9-10 50 Yard Backstroke, Gia Fournier won by cutting nearly 4 seconds from her best time this season, and Brayden Chow scored by placing 4th for the boys, dropping more than 2 seconds. Kynsley Espiritu took an improvement of .06 seconds to place third for the 11-12 girls, while Eric Wang and Niccolo Troccoli took the top spots for the boys. Lara Blanco grabbed second for the 13-14 girls, and Ryan Lee triumphed in the boys division.
And there were some massive time drops. The Chung family came prepared to swim very fast: Rachel dropped more than 10 seconds from her 50 Freestyle, while Shane cut nearly 13 seconds from his 25 Fly. Gia Fournier dropped lots of time in all of her events, including 13.65 seconds in her 100 IM, and 7.81 seconds in her 50 Free. Ethan Goltz cut more than 5 seconds from his 25 Free, and Olive Lee cut more than 9 seconds from her 50 Back. Claire Liu swiped nearly 8 seconds from her 25 Breast, and Bryce Morales cut more than 7 seconds from his 25 Breast. Scott Ward cut nearly 8 seconds from his 50 Free. Kaitlyn Wallin knocked nearly a half-minute in total off her three 25 yard races, including 15 seconds in the Breaststroke and 13 seconds in the Backstroke.
And many Dolphins notched serious time improvements.
Dolphins with three time improvements included Amie Katharine Antonio, Rachel Chung, Shane Chung, Gia Fournier, Claire Liu, Olivia Nguyen, Arlan O’Byrne, and Kaitlyn Wallin.
Dolphins with two time improvements included Aidan Antonio, Ava Chandanani, Brayden Chow, Guilherme Falleiros Friggi, Kareem Gendy, Rafik Gendy, Ethan Goltz, Mirabella Le Vine, Benjamin Lee, Olive Lee, Joshua Lerner, Bryce Morales, Caitlyn Morales, Marcus Nguyen, Julia Shabanie, Caprie Troccoli, Brynn Uchida, Linkan Yasinski, Reese Yasinski, and Benjamin Zitzman.
Many Dolphins scored a time improvement, including Hailey Alpert, Brij Bhargava, Declan Edwards, Pierce Fournier, Handersen Lee, Joseph Lee, Matthew Lerner, Mason Nguyen, Aidan O’Byrne, Awnan O’Byrne, Noah Schmurak, Stella Singer, Carlo Soriano, Mateo Tirado, Niccolo Troccoli, Aksel Varnali, Eric Wang, Adam Ward, Scott Ward, and Nathan Wu.
Carrying the Dolphin Spirit in abundance, we appreciate Bryce Alpert , Katherine Chow, Halle Ewing, Annika Nie, Arlan O’Byrne, Riley Simon, Carmina Blanco Tossetto, Lara Blanco, Antoinette Clancy, Madeline Clancy, Desmond Dorish, Dylan Elmer, Ashley Kwan, Noah Lee, Ryan Lee, Tyler Morales, Brian Rezaee, Marco Pablo Tirado, Lia Uchida, and Elle Zitzman, who all delivered.
Two dual meets and Champs loom on the horizon, and we see the Dolphins rising to the challenges ahead.