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Turlock leis down win
Dolphins finish close third to Sea Dogs, Tritons at luau meet
The Manteca Dolphins hosted their MVSL tri-meet this past weekend. Here, a Dolphin competes in the backstroke. - photo by James Burns

The mad scramble at Saturday’s Mid-Valley Swim League luau wasn’t for the final dollop of poi or last shreds of pork, but a pivotal tri-meet victory.

Enjoy the spoils, Turlock.

The Sea Dogs won a heated duel at the East Union pool on Saturday, edging the Tracy Tritons and host Manteca Dolphins by the slimmest of margins. Seven points separated first and second place, with Turlock claiming a 1,477-1,470 victory over Tracy. The Dolphins were third with 1,201 points.

The victory gives Turlock – the MVSL’s largest swim club – a tidal wave of momentum heading into the MVSL’s final bye week. The schedule resumes Saturday, July 12, in what will be the final tune-up for the Mid-Valley League Swim Championships.

While Turlock celebrated the tri-meet victory on Saturday, Dolphins enjoyed several shining moments. 

Ten swimmers accumulated 19 or more points in their three individual events, including a meet- and team-high 27 points from Ashlynn See and Keira Brink. See and Brink were the only Dolphins to win all three of their individual events.

The top of the podium is familiar position for See, a high-point winner a year ago as an 8-year-old. Competing in a new age group, See hasn’t disappointed. She shaved time in two events – the 100-yard freestyle (1 minute, 10.14 seconds) and 50 backstroke (37.93) – and missed another personal best in the 50 freestyle (32.60) by a fraction of a second. 

Brink, 6, is a promising young talent. Fresh off record-setting performance in the 50 freestyle at the Sea Dogs Invitational, Brink wasn’t nearly as fast but the result was still the same. She won the 50 free in 44.03 – well off her team record 42.74 – and then followed that up with victories in the 25 fly (26.76) and 25 free (21.85). For good measure, she was also a catalyst on the Dolphins’ winning medley relay team.

Kelly Ball (23 points), Abby Wagner (20) and Dakota Rodrigues (19) rounded out the Dolphins’ top girls scorers. 

Ball, 12, won the 100 individual medley, Wagner set the pace in the 6-and-under 25 back, and 8-year-old Rodrigues was steady throughout with a second and two thirds in the 25 back, breast and free, respectively. 

In the boys division, the season continues to be defined by the spirited battle between 9- and 10-year-old teammates Donovan Armstrong and Hayden Beier. Both dynamos amassed 25 points and two individual victories, matching Zach Thomas’ portfolio in the 17-18 flight.

Armstrong, 10, won the 100 free in 1:13 flat and then backed that effort with the top time in the 50 butterfly. He was second in the 50 back, missing a personal best by a touch.

Beier found himself on the sunny side of a few taut races during his run to a high-point trophy at the Sea Dog Invitational, but had his string of victories snapped in the final stretch of the 50 breaststroke.

The 9-year-old pulled away from the pool in the 100 individual medley and 50 backstroke, and though he hadn’t swam in the breaststroke in an MVSL meet, he found himself in the hunt with 25 yards to go. In the end, he was out-touched at the wall; his consolation a personal-best 43.85.

Thomas, 17, won the 100 butterfly (1:01.73) and 50 freestyle (23.06), but  perhaps his best performance came in the 100 free where his runner-up finish was buoyed by a personal-best time. Thomas slapped the wall in 51.53 seconds, more than two-tenths of a second faster than ever before.

Jeremy Coronado, 18, and Jacob Evans, 14, rounded out the Dolphins’ top scorers with 22 and 19 points, respectively. Coronado won the 100 breaststroke.