The Turlock High varsity girls swim team and the Pitman High varsity boys swim team are the undefeated Central California Athletic League champions after both took first at the Championship Meet this past weekend from Downey High.
For Pitman, head coach Mark Garrett and his squad clinched the Pride’s first ever swimming title.
“A complete team effort…we just won it on numbers,” said Garrett. “Proud of the guys for a good year, just glad they were able to win a championship. [Pitman has] never won in aquatics, never in the history of the school.”
The Pride boys are advancing 12 to sections while the girls move four on to sections that include sophomore standout Madison Ngo (500 and 200 IM).
The Turlock varsity boys took second at the championship meet and second in league regular season dual meets. The boys from Turlock advance a total of 11 to sections.
The Turlock High girls are moving two individuals and six other girls for four relays, tallying eight altogether.
“Honestly, extremely proud of the girls, really proud,” said THS girls head coach Anne Cornell. “Because we just joined a new league, not sure what would happen and what other teams would bring to the table. I wanted to coach a winning team, but it was the unexpected, trying to get an understanding and not really knowing.”
Cornell was just coming off an undefeated season in girls water polo and she coached another undefeated team in the CCAL with her girls taking home the championship during the regular season dual meets and the CCAL Championship Meet.
Turlock’s varsity girls went undefeated in league and set six new meet records.
Sierra Yandell was a double winner in her 50 and 100 free and Kianna Hesse won the 100 back.
Yandell and Sadie Bigler both qualified in individuals and six others advanced for the relays.
Turlock girls won three of the relay races. The 400-yard freestyle relay, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay.
For Garrett and the Pride, heading into the trials and then the finals, they were in the mix of it all, and just managed to win one race in total, but their numbers were staggering.
Especially after the varsity squad had just seven total swimmers a season ago.
“Back story is we only won one event, which was Sean Bernard who won the 200 freestyle,” said Garrett. “He had a three second time from his trials, five second drop in two days, that is huge for him. He is not a club swimmer, just a high school swimmer, but the hero of the day.”
To make things better, times continued to drop well into the finals for everyone it seemed like.
“About 60 percent dropped again for finals, which was surprisingly. [I’m] more than pleased with that and by doing that they had a pretty good margin winning league by nearly 100 points,” said Garrett.
Pitman’s varsity boys scored 435, while Turlock trailed just behind with 348 points.
Turlock’s varsity girls scored 526 and Pitman took fourth with 258 points.
“We only won one, but we had tons of kids get points. We took four kids in the 100 butterflies out of eight and that was huge with points,” said Garrett.
The Section Finals are slated to take place from Tokay High at a time yet to be announced on May 4.
“I am so excited and so proud of them. So many kids stepped up at different times and they were so happy,” Cornell added. “At the end when they read the points off, I knew we were ahead because of prelims. I had an idea and saw, but I told them to keep swimming hard and new records we set that we didn’t know about, which was exciting.”
“Just to qualify for sections in swimming and not be year-round, in just eight weeks is impressive,” Garrett added.