A Truckee Tahoe Swim Team record of 29 swimmers swam at the recent 18 & Under Long Course Junior Olympics. The championship meet for Sierra Nevada Swimming was held in grueling heat conditions in Redding from July 18-21, when daily temperatures ranged from 103 to 115 degrees.
Two Truckee Tahoe Swim Team (TTST) members not only prevailed, but also sprinted into the record books.
Rebecca Waterson, 10, kicked off the meet Thursday with a 50 butterfly swim at 32.19, which not only won her first place in her age group, but also broke a Sierra Nevada Swimming (SNS) record from 1998 while also setting a new JO record. Adding to that achievement, Waterson also won the 50 backstroke and medaled in five other events.
Cooper deRyk, 13, closed down the meet Sunday by breaking a TTST team record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 27.16. He walked away with a medal for that performance and strong finishes in his other events.
Both Waterson and deRyk head to San Jose next week for the Speedo Far Western Long Course Championships, where they will race against top age-group swimmers from across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Brittany Percin, 16, earned points for TTST as she swam to the finals in three of her individual events. She also enjoyed the unofficial but speedy running races before a dive into the nearby 47-degree waters of the Sacramento River to simultaneously warm up and cool down prior to each of her official swims.
Fifteen-year-old Jake Hamilton brought home several medals including the 100 breast. He qualified fifth in prelims, and in an exciting finals swim, grabbed second. In the 50 free Hamilton dropped half a second from his best time to take seventh place. Additionally, he swam best times in his other five events and relays.
Niki Kates, 15, brought home a fourth-place medal in the 200 back and also earned herself a trip to San Jose and the Far Westerns with that swim. Kates’ success continued in her other six events and four relays with best times, plus another trip to the finals in the 100 back, which earned her seventh place.
A pair of 12-year-olds also brought home medals. Grace Bronstone made finals for the first time at a Junior Olympic meet. She did it not only once, but three times in breaststroke events. Bronstone came home with third-, fourth- and sixth-place medals in the 50, 100 and 200 races, respectively.
Sean Percin capped a strong summer of swimming by qualifying for more swims than the meet maximum of seven. At the meet, Percin raced to two sixth-place finishes in the grueling 800 and mile long-distances events, including a minute time drop in the 800.
Ten-year-old Emma Purdy swam to the top in three event finals grabbing a fifth place in 50 back, and two eighth places in 50 and 100 fly. Purdy also swam best times in her events and relays. She will also be attending Far Westerns.
Rounding out TTST medalists was 9-year-old Jace Hoffmann. Dropping two and a quarter seconds from his 50 breast personal best led Hoffmann to a seventh-place finish. Hoffmann swam personal bests in most of his other six races in this his first long course Junior Olympics.
TTST had several other swimmers who swam to personal-best times at the meet.
Kate Rye, who just turned 13, swam in four events (50, 100, 200 free, and 100 breast) and made significant time drops in all. Anna Kates, 12, made a splash achieving her first A-level times in the 100 and 200 breast. Kates swam in eight events including relays. Allison Lockard, 11, swam in 11 events including relay swims. Lockard earned new time standards including a 12-second drop in her 400 free.
Hunter Hoffman, 11, competed in four events that included his specialties of fly and free and swam to personal bests in most. Making her second JO appearance at only 7 years old, Reese Hoffmann, competed in five events including a fast 100 free. The highlight of her meet was swimming a relay with the “big girls” in the 10 & Under 200 freestyle relay.
Probably no group of swimmers is more excited than the swimmers who attend the JOs for the first time. The dedication and training to qualify is no small achievement, and they left with the pride of competing.
TTST sent six first-time swimmers. The two youngest were 7-year-olds Asher Kates and Trevor Purdy. Kates made his debut in 50 back and Purdy in 100 free, and both contributed to boys 10 & Under relays. Eight-year-old Cameron Crus swam in three events, achieving personal bests in each.
Diego Rodriguez, 9, swam in four events and two relays with a great two-second drop in his 100 free. Lily Murnane, 9, dropped a whopping 5.31 seconds off of her 100 back time and also contributed to a relay. And finally, 10-year-old AnnElise Cuneo qualified in three events and contributed to a relay summed up the experience.
“My favorite part was when my fingertips hit the water because I knew I had to swim as fast as I could, and my second favorite part was when my fingertips left the water at the end of a race because everyone was cheering me on,” Cuneo said.
TTST also had strong performances from the following athletes: Kyla Burrill, Megan Burrill, Dylan Hornstein, Brandon Hornstein, Sam Robertson, Kaleb Rodarte, Marcus Rodarte, Caitlin Smith and Ingrid Suter.
Alex and Brittney Straw also competed in the Calif Nevada Gold series Sectionals in Southern California. Both swam their best times, making consolation finals. After the meet Alex met with a number of college coaches to help determine where he would like to attend after his senior year at Truckee High.
Up next, Jake Hamilton, and Marcus and Kaleb Rodarte will compete in the Senior Western Zone meet in Clovis, Calif. Additionally five TTST swimmers, Cooper DeRyk, Emma Purdy, Kate Rye, Grace Bronstone and Rebecca Waterson, were selected to swim in the Age Group Western Zone all star meet in Roseville. They are representing Sierra Nevada Swimming as it competes against 10 other swim LSC’s across the Western United States.
TTST offers training and practice groups for swimmers of all ages and ability levels. Debbie Meyer, Olympic Hall of Famer and three-time gold medalist, heads up the coaching staff. Find more information at www.truckeeswim.com.