The Regional Age Group Championship Swim Meet was held February 22 to 24 at the Valley Aquatic Center in Yuma, Arizona. Thirteen teams from western and southern Arizona competed at the meet. In the final team standings, the San Manuel Sea Lions received fifth place with 235 points.
Swimmers must have achieved regional qualifying times at sanctioned USA swim meets to be eligible to swim in the regional meet. Five swimmers from San Manuel qualified for individual events and an additional 3 swimmers were able to participate in the relays. The team from San Manuel was one of the smaller teams at the meet, but the distinctive Sea Lion swim cap was usually seen at or near the front of every race they swam.
Medals were awarded for the top three finishers and all eight Sea Lions came home with at least a couple of medals.
The girls relay team of Gianna Sweeney (11), Darien Apuron (11), Royann Estrada (11) and Tabitha Kellam (9) finished third in both the 200 Medley and 400 Medley Relays.
The Boys relay team of Evan Apuron (9), Riley Stewart (9), Mason Stewart (7), and Ethan Kellam (7) finished second in both the 200 Medley and 200 Freestyle Relays.
“The relays showed what a strong team we are,” head coach Alex Gort said. “We were able to put together relays that competed against the some of the best teams in Arizona, and were able to bring home medals.”
The relays went well for the Sea Lions, but some individual swims were simply outstanding.
Darien Apuron won the 400 Individual Medley (IM), the event widely regarded as a complete measure of a swimmer since it involves all four strokes and is of considerable distance.
Tabitha Kellam came home with bronze medals in the 100 Butterfly and the 100 Freestyle. Gianna Sweeney earned medals of all types, winning the 50 Breaststroke, finishing second in the 200 Backstroke, and finishing third in the 100 IM and 200 Breaststroke.
The 9-year old boys from San Manuel also had a great meet. Evan Apuron won all three races that he swam, the 100, 200 and 500 Freestyle. Riley Stewart won the 50 and 100 Breaststroke, as well as the 200 IM. Riley finished second to teammate Evan in the 200 Free, and picked up a bronze medal in the 50 backstroke.
Three swimmers have qualified for the Age Group State Championship Meet to be held March 7 to 11 in Phoenix. Riley Stewart, Evan Apuron, and Gianna Sweeney will be competing in a total of 16 events against the best in Arizona.
Anyone who would like more information about the Sea Lions Swim team can contact Alex Gort at 896-2190.