Youth Swimming: Gators undergo renaissance in 2013-14 season

Gilroys Gators' Payton Reeder swims the 10 and under age group 100 butterfly Thursday during the Far Western Short Course Championships at the Morgan Hill Aquatic Center.

GILROY—The Gilroy Gators just keep getting better.
The Gators made a splash during the 2013-14 season, breaking around 140 team records—many from the 1980s and 90s—and recording Top 16 finishes at every Junior Olympics meet as well as at the Far Western Championships. Gilroy capped off the season by notching a third place team finish at the Coast Valley Aquatic League Summer Championships Aug. 8-10 in Salinas.
Swimmers competed in both short (yards) and long (meters) course events.
Brianna Mertz and Terkarra Lopez-Medina were the Gators’ high point winners at the CVAL championships, scoring 114 and 104 points, respectively. Mertz finished first in the 11/12-year-old 50- and 100-meter freestyle events, 50m backstroke and 100m individual medley, setting new team records in all of those events—as well as the 200m free—in the process. Lopez-Medina took first in the 25- and 50-yard freestyles and 25y butterfly—where she also set a new team record.
Both are among the lengthy list of Gators who earned a spot on the 2013-2014 Pacific Swimming Top 25. Lopez Medina is ranked 19th for the 8 and under 100y fly, while Mertz is 23rd for the 200y free on the short course list. Mertz is also ranked 20th in the 400m free, 21st in the 800m free and 25th in the 50m for 11/12-year-olds.
Cassidy Foster received the Gators’ highest ranking on Pacific Swimming’s Top 25—which includes more than 16,000 swimmers from 120 clubs. The 10-year-old Foster is ranked fifth in the 400m free, 18th in the 200m free and 23rd in the 500y free. Emily Tupper, another 10-year-old Gator, is ranked seventh in the 100m fly and 16th in the 400m free. Amy Tupper, 8, is ranked on both the short and long course Top 25 list, coming in 13th in the 500y free and 24th in the 100y back as well as 22nd in the 200m free.
Halee Chavez, 12, and Adrianna Queen, 14 also received dual list recognition. Chavez is ranked 15th in the 1,000y free on the short course list as well as 13th in the 800m free and 16th in the 400m free for the long course. Queen is listed at 22nd on the short course list in the 1,650y free and holds the same rank in the 1,500m free on the long course.
Corey Latham, 18, (11th in the 1,500m free), Payton Reeder, 10, (20th in 100m fly, 23rd in 400m free) and Emiliano Grieco, 9, (23rd in the 400m free) also made the list.
Maria Higginbotham also shined for Gilroy at the CVALs, setting nine team records. She set and broke the record in the 13/14-year-old girls 50- and 100m free, 100m back, 200m IM as well as the 500m free. Higginbotham also took first in the 50- and 100m freestyle events. Emily Tupper took first in the 50m back and Emma Van Laar finished first in the 25m breaststroke in the 8 and under division. The 8U girls 100m free relay and 100m IM relays as well as the 11/12 girls 200 IM relay also took the top spot.
The Gators had only three swimmers qualify for Junior Olympics meets during the 2012-13 season, but made a dramatic change as 15 earned JO times this season. They set 16 new team records and saw 24 racers place in the Top 16 at the JO meet held Feb. 14-17 in Bakersfield. At the time, coach Martine Armstrong said she didn’t think it could get any better, but her team surprised her again and again.
Gilroy set 19 new team records and earned 22 Top 16 finishes at the March Pacific Swimming Junior Olympics held March 15-16 in San Ramon. The Gators went on to set 21 new team records and record 12 Top 8 finishes at the Pacific Swimming Long Course Junior Olympics July 11-13 in San Jose.
Gilroy added to its Cinderella season by seeing eight swimmers qualify for the Far Western Championships held April 3-6 in Morgan Hill; none had qualified the previous season. Latham was one of two Gators to finish in the Top 16, taking 8th and setting a new record in 1,000m free. Chavez was the other, taking 13th in the 1,000m free. She competed in six events for the Gators at the meet.
Reeder, Cassidy Foster, Emily Tupper, Mertz, Grieco and Higginbotham also competed at the meet.

Leave your comments