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Ripon Sea Lions, Manteca Dolphins impress at MVSL Championships

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The Ripon Sea Lions finished second in the final Mid-Valley Swim League standings, but captured the girls’ title at Saturday’s championship with 802 points and three high-point champions.

JAMES BURNS/The Bulletin

POSTED July 22, 2014 1:23 a.m.

TURLOCK – Jack Gioffre pumped his fist following his victory in the 50-yard freestyle and then sought the hand of his closest competitor.

Keira Brink and Madeline Curtiss paced each other all season long, neither conceding an inch or second to the other. That tug-o-war continued in the winner’s circle on Saturday at the Mid-Valley Swim League Championships with each 6-year-old clinching the high-point trophy.

Their smiles masked the intensity of their budding rivalry. 

The area’s youngest swimmers set the tone for Saturday’s championship affair at Pitman High. 

It was an electric finish to the season, complete with a record-breaking swim by Manteca’s Zachary Thomas, dominant performances by a pair of Ripon teammates and the dogged pursuit of team titles.

Turlock kept its place atop the MVSL with a dominating performance from its boys’ contingent. The Seadogs accumulated 1,674.50 points – nearly 240 more than runner-up Ripon – with 946 points coming from its boys. 

How dominating were the Seadogs’ boys? The Manteca Dolphins finished second in the boys standings with 379.50 fewer points.

Though a distant second in the overall standings, the Ripon Sea Lions won the girls title with 802 points. The catalysts were high-point winners Rosie Vaughn (17-18), Andria Martin (13-14) and Curtiss (6 and under).

The Manteca Dolphins were fifth in the final team standings. 

The championship crowned 17 high-point champions across seven age divisions. The Ripon Sea Lions matched the Seadogs with a meet-high six high-point champions. Joining Curtiss, Martin and Vaughn were: Sam Branco (6 and under); Jack Gioffre (9-10); and older brother Logan Gioffre (11-12).

The Dolphins had three swim away with high-point honors. 

Donovan Armstrong (9-10) and Brink each won two individual events to earn a split of their respective trophies, while Thomas swept his individual program to win a share of the 17-18 crown.

Brink won the 25- and 5-yard freestyle events in 18.84 and 42.85 seconds, respectively, and was second to Curtiss in the 25 butterfly (23.58). Curtiss was also first in the 25 backstroke (30.80) and finished well behind Brink in the 50 freestyle (48.66). 

Armstrong earned his split with Jack Gioffre by winning the 100 freestyle (1:11.01) and 50 backstroke (36.77). He was also second in the 50 butterfly (39.54).

Jack Gioffre rebounded from a narrow loss to Manteca’s Hayden Beier (29 points) in the opening individual event, the 100 individual medley. Gioffre led through the first two legs, but Beier closed and eventually pulled ahead with a determined breaststroke and freestyle. 

The 10-year-old wouldn’t settle for second again. He won the 50 butterfly (36.49) ahead of Armstrong and 50 freestyle (30.58) in somewhat convincing fashion. 

Thomas, 17, set a new championship record in the 100 freestyle. He touched the wall in 49.87 seconds, shattering the old mark of 50.20. He also set personal bests in the 100 butterfly (57.71) and 50 freestyle (22.64).

Few were as dominant, though, as Martin in the 13-14 division and Vaughn in 17-18s. The Sea Lion teammates left no doubt in winning each of their three individual events by at least two seconds. 

Most times, the races weren’t even that close.

Martin was tops in the 100 individual medley (1:06.86), 100 freestyle (57.80) and 50 backstroke (30.02). Vaughn won the 50 backstroke (32.87), 50 breaststroke (32.80) and 100 individual medley (1:05.98). 

Branco won the 50 freestyle (43.12), 25 backstroke (24.00) and 25 freestyle en route to his 6-and-under title. 

Logan Gioffre won the boys’ 11-12 trophy with max points in his three individual events: the 50 freestyle (27.28), 100 individual medley (1:10.53) and 50 butterfly (30.19). 

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