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Pitman, Turlock swim programs jump into season with wins
Pitman boys swimming 2
Gavin Madrigal of Pitman practices the butterfly stroke on Thursday afternoon. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The start to the Central California Conference swimming season was a success for both the girls and boys of Turlock High and Pitman High. With respective swim meets against Golden Valley High and Atwater High, the Bulldogs and Pride took the first step towards improving on last year efforts with convincing wins.

The Pride earned their pair of victories with a score of 106-67 from the boys and a score of 109-52 from the girls. The win, and its margin, was reflective of the Pride's expectations for 2015 after both squads finished second in the CCC last season.

Pitman's boys return to the pool with a significant amount of experience with swimmers like Gavin Madrigal, Tanner Day, Allan Quinn, Alex Rosero and Nathan Olson  back on the roster. There is also a pair of freshmen, Cameron Olson and Trey Moen, who are expected to contribute to Pitman's race to first in league

“This is probably the largest return number we've had in the last few years,” Pitman boys head coach Ryan Bullard said. “I think the boys have a real good shot (at improving). We have a lot more depth than we did last year; that was one of the things we kind of struggled with.”

The Lady Pride also enter this season with a lot of returners, most of which are juniors. Kim Canisso, Jessica Kern and Ashleigh Piffero are the only seniors on the team and will be joined by juniors Jessica Hamilton, Annika Jasek-Rysdhal and Jordyn Kennel.

“I think the girls have a really good shot (at improving), too,” Bullard said. “But I don't think they have quite as much depth. They're going to have to go out and have top performances every meet in order to move up this year. But they are pretty solid.”

Turlock's margins of victory were also wide as the boys beat the Cougars 113-46 and the girls won 97-69. The win was especially impactful for the boys who finished in the bottom-tier of the CCC last season. As for the Lady Bulldogs, who finished two points out of third place last season, the win was an affirmation of the returning talent on the team.

“That's our goal for the year, to break top-three,” Turlock girls head coach Lauren Bettencourt said. “We're kind of a small team again this year, we have about 15 girls, but we do have some awesome swimmers this year.”

Sarah Phillips, Lucy Deitz and Hannah Groteguth return as the girls' big three and will lead swimmers like Viviana Romeo, Allison Serratos, Nicole Groteguth, Allison Malmberg and Taylor Askil.

“Nick (Serratos) and I both started coaching varsity swim last year,” Bettencourt said. “Last year was kind of our test year, a time to work out our schedules with our team and really get to know the talent that we had. So this year I think we're really ready to push forward into the top-three.”

Like their female counterparts, the boys swimming team boasts a big-three with returners Zach Glidden, Justin Souza and Jakob Bradley who have been tasked with leading newcomers Luke Reis, Mykel Garton and Tyler Harcksen in what they hope to be a turn-around season. So far they're heading in the right direction.

“Everyone's dropping two second, four second, five seconds everywhere. It was really exciting to see so many personal records,” Bettencourt said. “A lot of them are topping their times that they ended sections with last year, so to see that at the beginning of the season is huge for us.”