The Turlock Sea Dogs have been chasing the Ripon Sea Lions for some time. Last year Turlock’s swimmers came close to defeating their rivals at the Sea Dog Invitational but came up short once again, finishing in second place by a margin of 10 points. After last year’s heartbreak, the Sea Dogs and their coach Erich Richter made it their mission to top the Sea Lions and claim first place at their home invitational.
Their dreams came true on Saturday.
“The hard work that these kids have been putting into this year really paid off,” Richter said. “At the beginning of the year we knew it was our time to thrive.”
The Sea Dogs splashed past the Manteca Dolphins, Oakdale Gators, Modesto Sharks, Ceres Dolphins, and Ripon with ease, taking first with 400 more points than the second place finisher. Turlock’s success was spurred by a pair of record breaking performances, four high point winning swimmers, and talented relay teams who outscored everyone in the field.
Maximiliano Rodriguez and Emma Burke put in record times in the 100 yard breaststroke and 50 free, respectively. Rodriguez finished with a time of 1:05.60 to shatter the five-year record and Burke finished with a time of 25.96 to shatter the 10-year record. Burke also earned a high point trophy in the 15-16 year old bracket and was joined by Clayton Cornell in the 6 and under bracket, Luke Reis in the 11-12 year old bracket, and Blake Phillips in the 17-18 year old bracket.
Kate Ogden also contributed with a first place finish in the 25 fly with a time of 19.66, a personal best.
“Everybody was on cloud nine,” Richter said.
Saturday marked the first time in three years that the Ripon Sea Lions were defeated in either a dual meet or invitational.
With their victory behind them, the Sea Dogs are now focusing on their July 7 dual meet with the tough Tracy Tritons which will lead into the Ripon Championship on July 14.
“It’s going to be an all out battle for first between us and Ripon,” Richter said. “The next three weeks are crucial but we really just need to forget the pressures and have fun.”