Sea Lions edge out Parkside Piranhas for 2017 Season Championship; Nevaeh Derrick named ‘Beast of the Week’

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All six kids above are 5 time gold medalists (champions in all events swam): Evan Apuron, Darien Apuron, Johnny Smallhouse, Brianna Castellanos, Ben Fister and Tabitha Kellam. Photo by Vince Apuron | Apuron Photography

  The Central Arizona League Championship Swim Meet was held at the Florence Aquatic Center on Saturday, July 22rd.  The overall team scores were as follows:

1st place – Sea Lions with 1004 points

2nd place – Parkside Piranhas with 960 points

3rd place – Coolidge Dolphins with 708 points

4th place – San Tan Valley Barracudas with 457 points

5th place – Globe Piranhas with 138 points

6th place – Eloy Otters with 49 points

7th place – Florence Sharks with 47 points

  This is the eleventh consecutive year that the Sea Lions have won the League Championship Meet. 

  The meet was very close throughout the whole day.  After several lead changes in the early events, Parkside had a 16 point lead (490-506) after the Backstroke events (the midway point of the meet).  During the long Freestyle events, the Sea Lions managed to get within 2 points of Parkside (597-599) with some great wins by Julie Ramirez (9-10 Girls) and Briana Castellanos (11-12 Girls), followed by Ben Fister (11-12 boys), Tabitha Kellam (13-14 Girls), and Riley Stewart (13-14 Boys) who each won the 100 Free for their age group in meet record time. 

  During the Breaststroke events is when the Sea Lions shined the brightest.  Anya Zovko swam to rare tie for first place in the 9-10 girls age group. In the 9-10 boys age group Martin Madrid and Cooper Dale finished 1st and 2nd  which essentially wiped out any lead Parkside had left.  The 2nd and 4th place finish in the 11-12 Girls Breaststroke by Mia Dale and Ashlee Parker earned enough points (12) to put the Sea Lions back in first place as a team. A win by Mason Stewart (11-12 Boys), along with the 1-2 finish by Evan Apuron and Riley Stewart (both faster than the previous 13-14 Boys Meet Record), a win by Darien Apuron (15-18 Girls) and an exciting razor close win by Andres Valenzuela (15-18 Boys) were enough to the give the Sea Lions the lead by 38 points (725-687) after the Breaststroke events. 

  Sea Lions managed to hang on to the lead during the sprint Freestyle events (828-796).  Relays are worth double points in the Championship Meet, and the Sea Lions sealed the victory by winning 6 of the 10 Freestyle Relays at the end of the meet to expand the margin of victory to 44 points. 

  In the championship meet format, each swimmer is limited to 3 individual events and 2 relays.   The following Sea Lion Swimmers won all five of the races that they swam:   Johnny Smallhouse, Briana Castellanos, Ben Fister, Tabitha Kellam, Evan Apuron, and Darien Apuron.

  Sea Lion Swimmers broke 15 League Championship Meet Records. Since the championship brings the best swimmers from all the teams in the league, it is a tremendous achievement to break a Championship Meet Record.  Sea Lion Swimmers who set new Championship Meet Records include:  Ben Fister, Rianna Estrada, Star Chavez, Tabitha Kellam, AJ Lopez, Evan Apuron, Riley Stewart, Nate Fister, and Darien Apuron.

  Eleven Sea Lion Team records were broken at the meet.  Rianna Estrada, Star Chavez, Tabitha Kellam, AJ Lopez, Evan Apuron, Riley Stewart, Nate Fister, and Darien Apuron all set new team records at the Championship Meet.

  With seven teams and more than 240 swimmers, any finish in the top 8 places is an impressive achievement.  The Sea Lions with top 8 finishes in their age groups at the Championship were:

Sakura Andrade, 5, (3rd Breast, 5th Free);

Annie Nemans, 6, (3rd Fly, 3rd Back, 2nd Breast, 3rd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Jocelyn Hudson, 7, (2nd IM, 2nd 50 Free, 2nd Free, 3rd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Anya Zovko, 9, (1st Back, 1st Breast, 3rd 50 Free, 3rd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Jessica Rouse, 9, (6th IM, 7th Breast, 3rd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Arianna Ervin, 9, (3rd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Cooper Dale, 9, (5th 100 Free, 2nd Breast, 6th Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Julie Ramirez, 10, (1st IM, 2nd Fly, 1st 100 Free, 3rd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Martin Madrid, 10, (5th Back, 3rd 100 Free, 1st Breast, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Pedro Young, 10, (1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

John Smallhouse, 10, (1st IM, 1st Fly, 1st Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st  Free Relay);

Joey Castellanos, 11, (1st Back, 3rd 100 Free, 4th Free, 1st Medley Relay, 2nd Free Relay);

Vicente Curry, 11, (5th Medley Relay, 4th Free Relay);

Adrian Garcia, 11, (8th Back, 8th Free, 3rd Medley Relay, 4th Free Relay);

Ethan Kellam, 11, (2nd IM, 4th Fly, 4th 100 Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Mason Stewart, 11, (1st IM, 3rd Fly, 1st Breast, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Briana Castellanos, 12, (1st Fly, 1st 100 Free, 1st Free, 1st Medley Relay, 2nd Free Relay);

Mia Dale, 12, (2nd IM, 2nd Back, 2nd Breast, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Ashlee Parker, 12, (4th IM, 3rd Back, 4th Breast, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Rocky Andrade, 12, (3rd Medley Relay, 5th Free Relay);

Emerik Zovoko, 12, (6th IM, 4th Breast, 3rd Medley Relay, 4th Free Relay);

Ben Fister, 12, (1st Fly, 1st 100 Free, 1st 50 Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Robert Sanz-Anton, 12, (8th Fly, 6th Breast, 3rd Medley Relay, 4th Free Relay);

D’ Andre Silva, 12, (5th Medley Relay, 5th Free Relay);

Rianna Estrada, 13, (3rd Fly, 2nd Back, 2nd Breast, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Tabitha Kellam, 13, (1st IM, 1st 100 Free, 1st Free, 1st Free Relay, 1st Medley Relay);

Karyme Young, 13, (7th Back, 4th Medley Relay, 5th Free Relay);

AJ Lopez, 13, (2nd IM, 2nd 100 Free, 2nd 50 Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Riley Stewart, 13, (1st Back, 1st 100 Free, 2nd Breast, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Hunter Hill, 13, (7th Back, 7th 100 Free, 5th Free, 5th Medley Relay, 5th Free Relay);

Evan Apuron, 14, (1st IM, 1st Fly, 1st Breast, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Aubrey Bridges, 14, (5th 100 Fly, 4th Medley Relay, 5th Free Relay);

Star Chavez, 14, (3rd IM, 4th Breast, 5th Free, 4th Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Nate Fister, 15, (2nd Fly, 2nd Back, 1st Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

BaiLee Hill, 15, (2nd IM, 4th Back, 6th Medley Relay, 6th Free Relay);

Zara Allmendinger, 15, (6th Back, 6th Medley Relay, 6th Free Relay);

Kayla Parker, 15, (4th Fly, 6th 100 Free, 7th Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Jayden Smith, 15, (4th Back, 7th 100 Free, 4th Breast, 2nd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Andres Valenzuela, 15, (2nd IM, 4th Fly, 1st Breast, 2nd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Daniel Garcia, 16, (4th Back, 5th 100 Free, 5th Free, 2nd Medley Relay, 3rd Free Relay);

Darien Apuron, 16, (1st Fly, 1st Back, 1st Breast, 1st Free Relay, 1st Medley Relay);

Bonnie Bridges, 16, (3rd IM, 6th Fly, 6th Breast, 6th Medley Relay, 6th Free Relay);

Jessi Rice, 17, (3rd Back, 5th 100 Free, 5th Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay);

Raya Woods, 17, (2nd 100 Free, 3rd Breast, 3rd Free, 1st Medley Relay, 1st Free Relay).

  Every swimmer on the team gave it everything they had to earn the Championship.  When Nevaeh Derrick (11) fractured her ankle earlier in the week, it looked like she would not be able to participate.  When her doctor gave her permission to swim, Nevaeh would not be denied.  She could be seen on crutches getting to the start of each of her races.  The determination she showed to compete and swim all of her races was a motivation to everyone.  For this, she earned the title of Sea Lion Beast of the Week. 

  The Sea Lions Swim Team is finished with competition in the Central Arizona Swim League for the summer season, but will compete in several open meets over the next few months.  There is still time to join the team – contact Alex or Wendy Gort at 896-2190, stop by the Mammoth Pool between 4 and 5:30 p.m. (Monday-Friday), or check sealionsswimteam.com for more information.

Staff (4202 Posts)

There are news or informational items frequently written by staff or submitted to the Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner, Superior Sun, Pinal Nugget or Oracle Towne Crier for inclusion in our print or digital products. These items are not credited with an author.


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