SUNNYSIDE — The Inland Empire Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Regional Swim Meet attracted seven teams, including the Sunnyside Sharks, Grandview Neptunes and Prosser Piranhas in Toppenish on Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14.
Devan Harrington, 11, sat underneath the camouflage netting and cool misters as she waited patiently to take her lane No.4 position in the 100-meter breaststroke.
The Sunnyside Christian School student said she has enjoyed the swim season and training hard in practice to improve on her favorite stroke and race time.
“I like being with all my friends on the team,” the Shark swimmer stated. “We do ladders a lot in practice, where you would do a 50 (meter) butterfly, 100 back (stroke), 150 breast and 250 free (style). And then we go back down.”
The experienced team member is used to taking part in this competition and finds it’s a lot of fun, she added right before walking up to the starting block.
The composed swimmer took her mark and dove into the pool with a strong start in the heat. Harrington won her race with a clocking of 1:42.30.
“Most of my 12 and under swimmers are very hard workers. So, they like to compete and are competitively driven,” Sharks Assistant Swim Coach Allison Davis described.
About 20 out of the 80 members of the team participated in the meet.
“And this meet here prepares us for the championships in Naches in two weeks, and this is a great way to get them ready,” coach declared, who has kids taking part in the weekend meet for the first time.
“They’re doing good. It’s so fun to watch them having fun.”
Christopher Villanueva has been swimming since the age of five and spends time practicing in his pool at home, as well as with the Sharks. The 12-year old swimmer said the butterfly stroke was his favorite event after he won the 100-meter freestyle race with a time of 1:11.71.
“I like to compete with the other racers and swim against them, and win,” Villanuevea acknowledged.
The Harrison Middle School seventh grade student also shares a passion for wrestling.
Both Harrington and Villanueva were high point winners for Sunnyside.
“This meet and watching our swimmers compete is very exciting and it’s a lead up to the championship meet at the end of the season,” Neptunes Head Swim Coach Micah Binfet expressed.
Grandview’s Jordan Hernandez, 14, finished third in the 100-meter breaststroke with a 1.49.06 time.
Prosser Pirahnas high point winners were Kenna Camp, 9; Justin Perkins, 10; Luke Blair, 11; Madi Mendez, 18 under and Ian Moreno, also 18 and under.
“We got about 30 more kids this season than last year, so the team is a lot bigger. They’re doing well and improving,” Piranha Swim Coach Patrick Elerding explained.
“We use a lot of our high school swimmers to teach the little ones, and we have usually about three to four of them that will stay after practice to work with them. And, it really helps.”
The Piranhas team finished in third place with 998 points, the Sharks scored 466 for sixth and Neptunes placed seventh with 387.
See full AAU Regional Swim Meet results here.