Trailblazers, Panthers dive into season

Porterville hosts Golden West in first official swim meet of season

PORTERVILLE – After a canceled swim season last year and water polo this year, local swimmers have been itching to splash back into action. They finally got their chance as Porterville and Golden West officially plunged into their swim season last Wednesday.

Porterville came out on top for both teams as the varsity girls won 90-80 while the varsity boys won 95-74. This is a strong start for the young Panther squad that graduated seven strong senior swimmers last year. This year’s team is young as they consist mainly of sophomores and juniors with a few freshmen.

According to coach Lance Hyder, juniors Ethan Merrit and Diego Gutierrez will be leading the way as the team’s fastest swimmers. The duo teamed with fellow junior Dylan Wiggins and freshman Chase Fisher to win the 200-yard medley relay in 1:49. Merrit also went on to win the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:04.

For the girls, junior Claire Lee had a strong showing finishing first in the 500-yard freestyle in 6:07. She also earned multiple second place victories including in the 50-yard free and two different relays.

Despite the loss, the Trailblazers gave the Panthers a swim for their money in nearly every event. Senior Evan Brockman did his best to put the team on his back as the teams fastest swimmers. He finished first in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, and was on the winning team in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.

Tayler Drummonds had a similar performance for the girls as she finished first in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, and was on the winning team in the 200-yard freestyle relay, and 400-yard freestyle relay.

Both teams only had a few weeks of practice before their first competition. According to Golden West assistant coach Erik-Ty, that didn’t matter as a lot of their swimmers have been getting around their best times despite the lack of preparation of time.

“I think all the athletes were very motivated to come to practice every day and train hard because we finally have the opportunity to compete,” he said. “This opportunity is giving the seniors some hope to leave their mark in school history by breaking a record or making it to the valley championship in their last year.”

Their next matchup is today, March 10 at Exeter Union High School.

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