For the few swimmers who still have the privilege of heading to the pool with a postseason purpose, everything will come to a head during the Sac-Joaquin Section Trials today and Friday at Tokay High in Lodi.
All Valley Oak League swimmers that registered SJS qualifying times at one point during the season join with The top swimmers in the section for a shot at a finals berth and possibly a section championship.
East Union High will only be sending one swimmer to today’s girls trials, and junior Julia DeGroot will definitely look to leave a lasting impression on her counterparts. DeGroot did find success a season ago in the frosh-soph competition, finishing with a top-10 finish in the 100-yard butterfly and 13th in the 500 freestyle.
DeGroot will be competing in both the 200 and 500 freestyle, giving her a couple chances of extending her season.
“I would say she’s kind of even in both, but a little more exceptional in the 500,” East Union head coach Aviette Heinze said. “She really wants to get a better time in that. She’s looking amazing this week in the pool.
“I think she’s going to do perfect.”
Manteca High landed a quartet to the sections, but the team of Kevin Craighead, Joey Grijalva, Trevor Garner and Stephen Ruble will not compete in their relay due to a pair of the crew heading south for the Manteca High senior trip to Disneyland.
“I think it’s an honor to qualify for sections,” Manteca head coach Elyce Silva said. “And nobody can take that away from them. Nobody can take that from them, they swam that fast and they deserve to be there.
“I think it was the worst-possible scenario that Disneyland had to be this week.”
Sierra High will have the largest contingent at the section trials, qualifying a host of individuals and relay teams at the frosh-soph and varsity levels combined.Christina Ngo, Kara Hall, Niki DeGeorge, Sophia Ferreira and Julie Maraccini lead the varisty girls, while Tim Cornish, John Osborn, Vicente Castra, Nick Jamero, Zac Degroot, Matt Elliot and Brandon Castro make up the boys varsity contingent.
Timberwolves head coach David Breitenbucher was pleased with his club’s strong performance two weeks ago at the Valley Oak League Championships, and will look for more success from the Timberwolves in sections.
Ripon High qualified four individuals at the frosh-soph level and Derek Price qualified at the varsity level to lead the Indians. Price garnered a 13th place at last year’s sections in the frosh-soph division and will place his skills amongst the section’s best at varsity.
“It’s tough at sections and every year it’s a little bit different,” Ripon head coach Eric Zador said. “The kids coming up at the level, sometimes at the varsity level it is brutal. He did really well in our league, but how he does against competition outside our league is hard to determine.”
Competition will begin at 10 a.m. and again at 10 a.m. for finals qualifiers Saturday.