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Turlock swim takes first place at NorCal relays
Bulldogs, Pride see early season success
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Turlock High junior Cohen Harris swims the butterfly event at the NorCal relays, held Saturday at Johansen High in Modesto. Turlock finished in first place overall at the event (Photo contributed).

Turlock and Pitman High swimmers competed at the NorCal relays on Saturday, with Turlock finishing first overall. While Pitman finished in the middle of the pack, the Pride were able to see where they measure up against other nearby schools.

“The kids had a lot of fast times and worked great together, a lot of personal bests,” said Turlock boys head coach Zachary Glidden. “We stressed the importance of working not just as a boys or girls team, but as a full program and the results show that.”

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Bulldog junior Henry Nitschke launches off the block (Photo contributed).

The Turlock team got first place in the 200-freestyle coed relay (1:39:31), 400-freestyle coed relay (3:40:13), 4x25 freestyle coed relay (46.47), 4x25 MR coed relay (52.96) and the All-Event relay (3:52:03). The boys finished second in the 400-freestyle relay (3:46:99) and had five third place finishes in other races. The girls finished second in the 200-freestyle relay (1:57:90), 200 Medley (2:17:37), 4x25 MR relay (1:03:5) and 200 Fly/Free relay (2:03:8).

Some of the standout times for the Bulldog boys were Luke Thomas in the 4x25 freestyle coed relay with a time of 10:35 and Cohen Harris with a time of 1:03:35 4x100 IM.

“I cannot express how proud I am of our boys and how far they have come in a short amount of time. We started off the season with an unexpected low number of swimmers, but the boys have really committed to the program and to each other and we are seeing great results at our dual meets and now this relay meet,” said Glidden. “It's a great feeling to win a meet that has been around for a long time with a lot of history, and with such a young group of guys. We have a great group of boys and I know they will continue to get better and have a strong showing in the league.”

The Bulldogs have seen early success this season. The Turlock defeated Hilmar High on March 2 with a score of 95-78 for the boys and 108-67 for the girls. In their dual meet against Gregori on March 4, Turlock was once again successful with a score of 120-51 for the boys and 136-38 for the girls team. Turlock went on defeat Modesto High on March 11, 132-27 (boys) and 136-23 (girls).

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Turlock sophomore Kaylee Amarante swims the backstroke (Photo contributed).

In Saturday’s relay meet, top Turlock girls finishers were Liv Romero, scoring a 1:01:30 in the 400-freestyle relay, and Emily Wilson with a time of 30.9 for her back stroke in the 200 back/breast relay.

“The meet went extremely well,” said girls head coach Anne Cornell. “The girls swam fast and I am really proud of what the girls accomplished at the NorCal Relays. They have been practicing hard and their effort is paying off.”

The Pitman teams came into Saturday’s relay with two wins under their belts— against Enochs on March 4, 103-63 (boys) and 95-70 (girls) and against Gregori on March 11, 88-82 (boys) and 86-85 (girls) — but, according to coaches, the program is in a rebuilding year.

The Pride finished in the middle of the pack at NorCals, but the teams weren’t too focused on the results. The coaches were focused on getting the team experience and having fun. The boys and girls teams don’t get an opportunity to swim together often, so they were excited to participate in the relay events.

“It was a relaxed event, because there was nothing but relays and no individual races,” said girls head coach Lisa Avrett. “It was a real team bonding event so they can have one fun meet and don’t have to worry about winning or losing.”

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Pitman’s Matt Valgos takes a breath during a race (Photo contributed).

Two swimmers to keep an eye out on the Pitman team are juniors Rick Vanderveen, who had a time of 25.9 in the 200-freestyle relay, and fellow junior Megan Hall, who had a time of 1:00:7 in the 400-freestyle relay.

The Pride did have some individual standouts at the relay and are going to rely on that talent to build the program up.

“We’re rebuilding for sure so we wanted to make sure the team got some experience and had fun,” said boys head coach Justin Jones.

Top Pride girl finishers on Saturday were Lily Martin, who had a time of 29.0 in the 200-freestyle relay and Rachel Fish, with a time of 30.8 For the boys, Lucas Yotsuya had a time of 1:01:0 in the 400 free relay and Hugh Woodruff had a time of 45.0 in the 50 freestyle.