North Irvine Knights at South Irvine Dolphins

 Meet #2 North Irvine Knights at South Irvine Dolphins

The North Irvine Knights took their crusade to University High, and the South Irvine Dolphins stood up to the challenge, responding with valor. University High still stands, a triumph of the Dolphin spirit and the Dolphin effort. It was a difficult meet; the Dolphins assembled on the deck early, when the day was gray and heavy, and swam hard as the sun crossed the sky and burned off the fog.

Following the July 4 holiday, missing a weekend of swimming, the pod is now gearing into this historic season. Three meets will follow in succession, and those who practice well will drop time in preparation for Champs. The Dolphins are stepping up to the challenge, accepting their new responsibilities and opportunities.

Most notably, those who turned nine are now racing twice as far as in the past, and confronting a new event, the 100 yard Individual Medley. They’re also learning a series of turns to speed them on their way to the finish. A well-executed flip turn is a thing of power and beauty; learning how to do one is, uh, an adventure. Swimmers need to spot the wall, time the flip, and push off with power. Faltering on any part of the process costs valuable time.

People swam long before they started doing flip turns. The first flip turn was developed a backstroker, Al VanDeWeghe, in 1934, who used it to win a silver medal in the 1936 Olympics. Competitive backstrokers soon caught on and starting flipping in the middle of their races. The first freestyle flip turns didn’t come to the Olympics until 1956, and swimmers had to touch the wall with a hand before flipping. It was nearly 10 years before competitive freestylers were allowed to do the swift and powerful turns the Dolphins demonstrate.

But the flip is just part of the challenge that face swimmers when they age up to the 9-10 group. The younger swimmers dive, rush to the wall, and then think about climbing out and getting snacks. But once the older swimmers reach the wall, they have to turn around and go all the way back to where they started.

Against the North Irvine Knights, 9-10 year old Dolphins acquitted themselves admirably in their 50s. Guilherme Falleiros Friggi won the boys 50 Fly, and the 100 IM, and placed in the 50 Free. Gia Fournier placed and dropped time in the 50 Fly, and 50 Back (gaining a Qualifying Time), and winning the 50 Breast, with another Qualifying Time. Linkan Yasinski and Riley Simon both dropped time and placed in the 50 Free.

There were other noteworthy time drops. Six year old Emma Blanco was able to cut nearly 12 seconds from her 25 yard Breaststroke, while Rafik Gendy, slashed 12 seconds from his 50 Butterfly. Eight year old Ethan Goltz dropped 14 seconds from his 25 Fly, while 8 year old Josephine Hwang dropped 8 seconds from her 25 Breast. These impressive young Dolphins aren’t done improving.

There were many other improvements as well. Annika Nie and Caprie Troccoli each scored three time improvements.

Swimmers with two time improvements included Brij Bhargava, Beckham Few, Benjamin Lee, Aidan O’Byrne, Stella Singer, and Adam Ward.  

Many other swimmers improved in one event, including Amie Antonio, Helena Blanco Tossetto, Emma Blanco, Levi Bouhbot, Kyle Chuang, Shane Chung, Halle Ewing, Kareem Gendy, Rafik Gendy, Ethan Goltz, Josephine Hwang,  Joseph Lee, Olivia Lee, Bryce Morales, Caitlyn Morales, Tyler Morales, Marcus Nguyen, Olivia Nguyen, Riley Simon, Sebastian Smith, Zane Wilson, Linkan Yasinski, and Reese Yasinksi.

And there was plenty of Dolphin spirit, carried by Jacob Ahoobim, Aidan Antonio, Lara Blanco, Ava Chandanani, Jackson Chen, Rachel Chung, Antoinette Clancy, Declan Edwards, Dylan Elmer, Cassius Espiritu, Felipe Fallerios Friggi, Guilherme Fallerios Friggi, Sean Finger, Gia Fournier, Pierce Fournier, Ilia Ghorbani, Henry Hwang, Ashley Kwan, Holden LeVine, Mirabella LeVine, Joshua Lerner, Matthew Lerner, Claire Liu, Dominic Liu, Jean Meyer, Noah Mobasseri, Mason Nguyen, Arlan O’Byrne, Yoonjae Oh, Brian Rezaee, Chiara Rignot, Jacob Shabanie, Julia Shabanie, Mark Shabanie, Noah Shmurak, Carlo Soriano, Benjamin Tsai, Nicholas Tsai, Aksel Varnali, and SiNing Wang.

Now, the Knights have returned to their North Irvine homeland, and the Dolphins will be taking their show on the road for the next three meets. This is how history is made.