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Seals Defeat Lucas Valley, 286-185

   The Strawberry Seals made their the 2018 Marin Swim League season debut in stellar style Saturday, handily managing the Lucas Valley Lightning with a 286-185 victory. Three Seals team records also fell during the exciting day at Lucas Valley, as well as one pool record.

   The action began quickly Saturday, with the buzz surrounding the last leg of the 9-10 medley relay. Diving in for the freestyle leg at least a half-pool-length behind the leading Lucas Valley team, 10-year-old boy Declan Murphy closed the gap over the course of 35 yards and finally passed the Lightning’s anchor in the last two yards of the race for a thrilling Seals victory.

   The record-smashing came soon after, when 11-12 boy Marre Gattnar, no stranger to setting swim records, set a new Seals mark and Lucas Valley pool record in the 50 back with a time of 29.81. Marre bookended the meet with another record, breaking a 17-year-old Seals record in the 100 I.M. with a time of 1:05.82. Coco Quill also set a team record in the girls 11-12 100 I.M. with a time of 1:09.10.

   The excitement poolside didn’t surround record-setting marks and touch-out victories. Some victories were smaller, though no less important. To wit: Sonia Brown, swimming in the 8-and-under girls 25 free, executed a beautiful dive and breakout, streamlining well and holding her breath in her first strokes of the race. The technique served her well, earning Sonia a first place finish in her heat and a time of :19.71, her best.

   Samir Meleis, competing in the 8-and-under boys 100 individual medley, showed class in his event when he finished more than 30 seconds ahead of his Lucas Valley competitor, yet stayed in the water to cheer him on and offer him a handshake at the finish.

   The girls 9-10 50 fly was a fun race to watch, as the Seals touched first, second and third, and special acknowledgement goes to Laney Octavio, who broke the 40 second mark for the first time when she touched at 39.99. The 11-12 boys as a group also excelled in the 50 back, with all nine boys who competed in the event finishing in best times. 

   Finally, a very special tip of the hat goes to Avery Plotts, the Seals lone representative in the 15-18 boys age group. As it was the Marin County Athletic League Championship on Friday and Saturday for the local high schools, the Seals did not expect any prep swimmers to attend the Saturday meet at Lucas Valley, but Avery did, and scored big for Strawberry in the process as a triple winner with 15 points.

   The Seals next host the Swimarin Sharks on Saturday at Tamalpais High School.