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Swim season underway
Turlock sweeps Gregori
THS girls swim 1
Turlock High swimmer Sierra Yandell won both of her events during Friday's meet against Gregori High (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

The Turlock High varsity swim teams started their strange season on a high note on Friday afternoon with victories in the first meet of the year. 

The Bulldog varsity boys defeated Gregori High 103-67 from the Steve Feaver Aquatic Center and the varsity girls squad came out on top over the visiting team 139-40. The junior varsity teams both won as well, with the girls coming out on top 11-46 and the boys defeating their opponent 109-61. 

THS boys swim
The Turlock High varsity boys team was led by Michael Tobin, who won the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Varsity girls head coach Anne Cornell said that her team’s performance went “beyond” expectations.

“They just blew my mind,” she said. “We just didn’t know what the other teams have and don’t know what to expect, but they stepped up beyond my expectations and I couldn’t be prouder.”

The varsity girls won every event but one during the meet, which saw Gregori emerge victorious in just the 100 breaststroke. Abigail Braley won two events, the 200 free and the 100 butterfly, and her teammate Sierra Yandell won two as well, the 50 free and the 100 free. 

Cornell lauded Braley for her showing on Friday and noted that as a sophomore, she should be a key factor for years to come. It was Yandell’s first meet back since tearing her ACL last water polo season, Cornell said, but her performance didn’t show it.

“She was out, but she’s recovered,” Cornell said. “Again, my expectations were beyond exceeded today.”

The varsity boys results were more varied, with the bulldogs earning victories in five of the meet’s 11 events. Michael Tobin led the pack, winning both the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke, while Andrew Folly stood out with his first place finish in the 100 free. The other second, third and fourth place finishes from Bulldog swimmers contributed to the win as well, said varsity boys head coach Zachary Glidden, and Christian Heppner helped secure the victory with two second place finishes.

“It’s a great feeling being back on the pool deck with the boys. We’ve been out of competition for a year now and to come back with a full squad sweep against a competitive program is something that the boys and I are really proud of,” boys varsity head coach Zachary Glidden said. “They committed to the program and committed to each other and came out on top as a team today.”

The teams only had four weeks to prepare for their first meet, and Glidden said the team had to switch from preparing for water polo into swim mode as seasons and sports were shuffled around due to the pandemic. 

“I can’t say that we are right where we left off a year ago but the boys stepped up, put the yards in these last few weeks at practice and delivered some quick times today,” he said. “Many swimmers swam their best times today. And I know they’ll just keep getting better from here. Today was a great starting point.”

Pitman High’s varsity swim teams were away at Enochs on Friday, where the girls won and the boys lost. 

The Bulldogs will swim at home again at 3:30 p.m. March 5 against Modesto, and the Pride will face Gregori at Enochs that same day. No spectators are allowed at the meets, but each team streamed their competitions on Friday on their respective aquatics Facebook pages.