With one last tri-meet last Friday against Atwater and Firebaugh, the Los Banos Tiger Sharks are ready for this weekend’s Merced County Swim League championships at Buhach Colony High School in Atwater.
The Tiger Sharks defeated the Atwater Stingrays and the Firebaugh Area Swim Team at Pacheco High on July 18, racking up 1,750 points (874 from the boys and 876 from the girls) to second-place Atwater’s 581.
“We were trying to get some of the swimmers into some events they maybe hadn’t had a chance to do,” Los Banos head coach Drew Guintini said. “Or maybe did it early in the season but haven’t done it since then.”
This week the coaching staff is working the swimmers through the fine-tuning things – starts, turns and strokes. The Tiger Sharks, following an 18-year streak of MCSL championships, has placed second and third the last two years.
“I know there’s kids that would love to get back on top. That’s the goal,” Guintini said. “If it doesn’t happen, they have nothing to hang their heads about. We’ve had a lot of new swimmers aned they’ve progressed really well, and the swimmers that have been here have had a lot of improvements.”
Guintin said several newer swimmers have surprised this year – athletes such as Sammy Ceja in the 6-and-under girls age group, Haley Hill in the 11-12-year-old girls group and James Duffany in the 11-12-year-old boys group.
“Those were some really good surprises for us. It’s good to find those swimmers for the next step, too,” Guintini said. “This is a really good group of kids. They’ve all done really well.”
The two-day championship meet will test many of the swimmers – each is allowed to enter four individual events plus relays. That means, between preliminaries and finals, a swimmer can compete up to seven times a day.
“We try to not have them do that many,” Guintini said. “Most are swimming two individual events and a relay. Most everybody has the potential to swim five in a day, which is still a lot.”