By Erica Waelty
For The Union Democrat
Tuolumne County Aquatics competed in the Mel Enze Memorial Long Course meet at Tokay High School in Lodi on June 22-24. The 10-and-under swimmers, consisting of Sarkis Nersesian, Ben Chesson and Megan Slater, ruled the pool.
The younger swimmers were expected to do well because of the time they have been putting in the pool in the summer months, but they performed beyond expectations.
Sarkis Nersesian, 9, was the veteran for the younger swimmers, having swam in several long course meets this season, but he continued to show improvement.
Nersesian’s strengths have always been his breaststroke events and he didn’t disappoint, improving by six seconds and earning a new Sierra Nevada “BB” time standard in his 50 breaststroke (52.12) and improving 12 seconds in his 100 breaststroke (1:47.37). But his biggest time drop of the weekend came in his 50 butterfly (55.74) improving by over 20 seconds on his time from last year.
Ben Chesson and Megan Slater, both 9, swam long course events for the first time in their young careers. Chesson favored the longer events, opting to swim the 200 freestyle (3:39.94) and 200 IM (400.67), and earned new “B” time standards in these events. Slater stuck to what she knows: the sprint events, posting best times and new “B” standards in her 100 freestyle (1:43.21) and 50 backstroke (55.51).
In the 11-12 age group Ashley Nersesian, Megan Caughey and Rajah Foerstner competed for TCA. Nersesian, 12, built on an already notable season, by showing time improvement in her backstroke and breaststroke events. Ashley’s best events of the weekend came in her 50 backstroke (38.19), where she earned a new “A” time standard, the 50 breaststroke (42.12) and 100 breaststroke (1:30.80).
Nersesian also broke her old TCA team record in the her 50 butterfly (34.31) by a tenth-of-a-second.
Foerstner, 12, and Caughey, 11, swam in their first-ever long course, creating solid benchmarks for the rest of their careers.
Both swimmers had a busy day, racing in five events and both achieving a new “B” time standard: Rajah in his 50 backstroke (45.42) and Megan in her 50 freestyle (38.94).
Sammie Slater, 13, led the older swimmers throughout the weekend, and 100 meter events were her strong suit. Her 100 freestyle (1:09.58), 100 breaststroke (1:31.65) and 100 butterfly (1:20.75) were her best races, earning her three new personal records.
Siena Hapig-Ward, 17, and Teri Wells, 19, had the most significant time improvements on the weekend. Siena dropped 40 seconds in her 200 freestyle (2:52.92) and Teri took off 50 seconds in her 200 butterfly (3:21.31). Katherine Hohne, 16, had a strong meet, making race strategy enhancements for her upcoming championship meet season.
Tuolumne County Aquatics will be back in action at the end of July with competitions in Roseville and locally at Sonora Sports and Fitness Center.