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Dolphins Dynamic Duo
Tolman, Brubaker leads club into MVSL championships
Scott Tolman and Mallory Brubaker are among the top swimmers for the Manteca Dolphins, who will host the Mid-Valley Swim League Championships Saturday at Lathrop High. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Scott Tolman and Mallory Brubaker are ready for swimming’s next challenge: a year-round program.

But before they go, the Manteca Dolphins’ brightest stars hope to make one last splash at the Mid-Valley Swim League Championships.

Tolman and Brubaker are runaway favorites to earn high-point honors Saturday at Lathrop High in what will likely be their final swim with Manteca’s longstanding rec club.

Dolphins assistant coach Niki DeGeorge believes both record-setting swimmers are ready for their transition to a year-round program with Ripon Aquatics.

What gives her that kind of confidence?

Even their practices are intense – and fast.

Swimming alongside one another, DeGeorge says neither Tolman or Brubaker ever strays too far from the other’s sight.

“They’re usually in lanes right next to each other, and they’ve got other kids with them as well,” said DeGeorge, a sophomore-to-be at UC Davis who swam competitively for the Dolphins, Ripon Aquatics and Sierra High. She’s in her third year on the Dolphins’ coaching staff.

“They’re always pushing each other. They always strive to beat one another. It really is a good atmosphere we got going.”

“They know they’re at the top of their game,” she later added. “For the team, a lot of the younger ones look up to them. I’m sure they’re feeling some pressure, but I have faith they’ll pull through.”

Thus far, they haven’t disappointed.

Tolman’s final season with the Dolphins has been an exhibition of dominance.

The 14-year-old Sierra High standout is undefeated this season and the high-point award winner at invitationals in Tracy, Oakdale and Turlock (hosted by the Hughson Sea Dogs).

What’s more, he’s reset the record book for each event he’s competed in, including relays, accomplishing a goal he set for himself at the outset of the season.

“He’s one of the hardest workers,” DeGeorge said. “He’s always willing to learn and fix his technique. He’s always asking what he can do to get better.”

Tolman’s championship program will include the 50-yard breaststroke, 50 butterfly, 50 freestyle, as well as the medley and freestyle relays.

“He’s ready. It’s a huge transition from rec to year-round, but he’s ready for it,” said DeGeorge. “He’s broken numerous records; I can’t even keep track of how many he’s broken. This is the next step if he wants to further his career. He’s done all that he can do in a rec league. He’s ready for it.”

So is Brubaker, the Dolphins’ fastest girl swimmer in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

The 12-year-old set the club’s age-group record in the 100 free with a time of 1 minute, 0.90 seconds. She’d like to lower that standard this weekend. Her goal is to touch the wall in less than a minute.

The McParland eighth grader will swim both freestyle sprints, as well as the 100 individual medley and relays.

Like Tolman, Brubaker is a three-time high-point award winner.

“She tries to keep up with Scott. It’s a good duo,” DeGeorge said. “She’s a little bit younger, but she works really hard and genuinely wants to get better.”

Brubaker is excited about the opportunity to swim year-round, but understandably sad to see her Dolphins career come to a close.

“I’m nervous and scared, but also excited,” she said. “I feel like I’ve worked hard to get to this point – to swim year-round. I want to take that next step in swimming.”

Her transition is eased by familiar company. She and Tolman have grown close over the years, in the pool and out.

“We’re good friends,” she said, “and we push each other hard in the pool.”

The Mid-Valley Swim League is comprised of seven teams, including: the Manteca Dolphins, Tracy Tritons, Ripon Sea Lions, Oakdale Gators, Hughson Sea Dogs, Modesto Waves and Ceres Dolphins.

The championship meet will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

To contact James Burns, e-mail