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Aquatics to be represented well at Far Western starting April 2

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Aquatics to be represented well at Far Western starting April 2

Nine Penguins represented the Manteca Aquatics at the Junior Olympics last weekend. FRONT ROW: Devin Brown, from left, Bradley McCain, Austin McDonnell, Zach Holmstrom. BACK ROW: Alyssa Froiland, f...

BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin/


POSTED March 25, 2009 4:28 a.m.
In just its second year of existence, the Manteca Aquatics swim team is making quite a name for itself.

After a highly successful Junior Olympics Trials & Finals showing last weekend in San Ramon, the Penguins qualified six individual swimmers and a relay team for USA Swimming’s Far Western Championship Meet to be held April 2 through 5 at the Morgan Hill Aquatic Center.

Guided by head coach Clay Basepayne, the Penguins are comprised of a number of big-time names in the Manteca swimming world, as well as a talented group of up-and-comers who will make their own mark in the years to come.

Zach Holmstrom, a Sierra junior, is one of Basepayne’s best and brightest, and after competing in four events at the Junior Olympics, Holmstrom will now move on to compete against some of the best swimmers in the western United States at Morgan Hill.

“This will be my first time in an individual event at Far Westerns,” Holmstrom said. “I know a lot of people from out of state go, so it’s going to be a lot harder in terms of the competition.

“It’s going to be a new level.”

Holmstrom will compete in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard backstroke at the Far Westerns.

“It went pretty well,” he said of the Junior Olympics, “a lot of new faces, a lot of new competition.”

Holmstrom, who has been swimming year round for eight years and became a part of the Aquatics last summer, says he enjoys Basepayne’s tutelage.

“Clay is really friendly, just a great person,” he said. “He’s very easy to get along with, very personable, and he makes you love swimming.”

East Union stalwarts Alicia and Ben Alfter also swim for the Aquatics, and both will be moving on to Morgan Hill.

Alicia qualified for the 200 back, the 100 back, the 100 fly, the 100 breast and the 200 IM, while Ben inked his name in the 100 breast, the 200 breast and the 50 freestyle.

But the Alfters aren’t the only brother-sister combination moving on.

Devin Brown qualified as a part of the 400 and 200 free relay teams, and earned a spot in the 200 IM, while sister, Nicole, will race in the 50 free, the 100 free, the 100 breast, the 200 breast and the 100 backstroke.

James Thompson will also race at Morgan Hill, testing the competition in the 200, 100 and 50 freestyle events.

Three Penguins raced last weekend at the Junior Olympics and came up just shy of a Far Western qualification.

Austin McDonnell competed in the 100 and 200 back, and the 500 free, Bradley McCain raced in the 200, 100, and 50 freestyle events, and both the 200 and 100 back, and Alyssa Froiland took her turn in the 100 breast and the 50 breast events.

The 13-14 boys relay team that will make its way to Morgan Hill is comprised of McCain, Thompson, Brown, McDonnell and Trent Gronow will serve as an alternate.

The group will compete in the 400 and 200 free relays, and the 200 medley relay.

The Far Western will begin trials at 9 a.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Aquatic Center located at 16200 Condit Road in Morgan Hill.

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