The Merced/Los Banos Skimmers hosted a tri-meet against the Turlock Aquatic Club and the Modesto Blue Tide on Saturday, with Turlock winning with 1,119 points.
Modesto was second with 675 points, and the Skimmers were third with 556.
“This is kind of our rec-league type portion of the season,” said Josh Weinberger, the coach of the Los Banos contingent of the Skimmers. “It’s more for the inexperienced swimmers to get used to competing and their lane assignments.”
The Skimmers finished the most important meet of the season a week ago at the Central California Swim Long Course Junior Olympics. Now is kind of a relaxation period, with small meets like these against local competition. Weinberger said the Skimmers would compete in about four dual meets, then a local championship meet, before heading into the short-course season in the fall.
The Skimmers boasted about 25 swimmers on Saturday from Los Banos, led by Christian Wakefield (11- to 12-year-old boys) and Julia Maxwell (9- to 10-year-old girls), winning two events each.
Wakefield won the 50-yard backstroke (33.89 seconds) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:39.99), and added a second-place finish in the 50-yard butterfly (36.23). In the individual medley, Wakefield trailed his nearest competitor by half a body length at the end of the first leg, the butterfly leg. But he executed a flawless kick off the wall, and by the time he surfaced and started his backstroke, he held a body-length lead that he never relinquished.
Maxwell won the 50-yard butterfly (38.73) and the 50-yard backstroke (43.44) and, like Wakefield, added a second-place finish in the 50-yard breaststroke (50.12).
Other Los Banos winners included Adolfo Castillo in the 6-and-under boys 25-yard freestyle (27.50), Anthony Gutierrez in the 15- to 16-year-old boys 100-yard breaststroke (1:25.14) and Samantha Pantoja in the 6-and-under girls 25-yard butterfly (28.86). Pantoja added second-place finishes in the 25-yard backstroke (27.14) and the 25-yard breaststroke (37.34), and Castillo placed second in the 25-yard butterfly (38.17) and third in the 25-yard backstroke (39.63).
Maxwell is one of a handful of swimmers who joined the Skimmers after the end of the Los Banos Tiger Sharks’ rec-league season a week before. Weinberger said about eight swimmers joined the Skimmers, with four of them competing on Saturday.