The 2019 swim season is well underway in the Central California Athletic League and with one league dual remaining on the schedule, it looks like the first ever CCAL winner will come from the town of Turlock when the top boys teams square off for one final dual.
Sitting at 3-1, Turlock is currently in second place in league while the Pitman Pride boys are off to a hot start and are perfect at 4-0 in the first year for veteran head coach Mark Garrett.
“Swimming is all about the bodies,” said Garrett. “The numbers, it is all about the numbers and they bought into the system. Everything has a purpose, not just swimming up and down and I showed our guys that, especially, a lot of the water polo guys who have come out.”
All but one of Garrett’s players from varsity water polo are currently on the swimming roster.
Last year Pitman’s swim team had just seven players for the varsity boys.
This year they are already boasting 20.
In 2018, Pitman won a single league dual in their final year competing in the Central California Conference.
This year, they have four times as many, with one dual remaining.
Some of the Pride standouts so far include Sean Bernard, Ethan Woodruff, Nolan Lok and Joe Carlson.
“This is a unique group of boys here at Pitman, all very academic. They work hard and this is the best group of kids I have been around in 35 years. Coming here is a pleasure every day. They listen, they are great,” said Garrett.
Turlock has only lost to Modesto High and with three wins, one final victory in the regular season dual finale against Pitman could shake the standings.
The Bulldogs welcome first year varsity head coach and former standout Zach Glidden.
At 21-years-old, Glidden stayed local after graduating from Turlock High and is currently a senior at Stanislaus State University.
“I have been coaching water polo and swim JV boys since the fall of 2017,” said Glidden. “I was asked to coach varsity boys swim by Mike Brown this year and so I just moved up. I also knew the group moving up heading into this year.”
He did, and that group of varsity swimmers now includes five sophomores and six seniors. The rest are juniors. The total number of swimmers for Glidden includes 15.
The team is anchored by several standouts that include Michael Tobin and Brandon Dhanowa.
The squad is also made up of Ethan Braley, Dylan Newsome, Taylor Ward, Jackson Thomas, Alex Smith, Matt Reis, Joey Perrello, Matteo Pascolati, Jonah May, Billy Marchy, Lance King, Drew Folly and Andrew Caldera.
“They have been pretty good so far and we set high expectations early on and they are holding and dropping their times so far. PRing in a lot of meets and that is always good to see and we have been doing really good in Saturday invitationals,” said Glidden.
So far, the boys have taken second at the Nor Cal Relays and the Ripon Invitational.