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August 1, 2006 > Cudas win 2006 championship title

Cudas win 2006 championship title

by Praveena Raman

Mission Valley Barracudas (Cudas) from Fremont win the East bay Swim League championships by 1,232 points, retaining the title that they have held since 2001.   The Glenmoor Stingrays placed third in the league losing the second position to the San Leandro Drowning Darryls by 23.5 points.

After going through a sweltering heat wave the week before the championship meet, 1200 swimmers and their families poured into the Chabot college parking lot around 6 a.m. Saturday July 29, wondering what the day held in store for them.  Even though it was predicted to be cooler, parents were a little anxious as they set up camp trying to figure out how to keep their energetic and excited swimmers quiet and cool during the day so that they gave their best to their teams.

By 7:00 a.m. the colorful tents by all 12 teams were set up, cooking grills and picnic tables with pretty table cloths laden with nutritious snacks were set and rugs and sleeping bags were spread out for the swimmers under the cool shade of the tents.  Swimmers were already in the water for their warm-ups and parent volunteers who manage and run the entire league including the championships were busy with the multitude of tasks that needed to be executed to have a smoothly run meet. 

By 8:15 a.m. swimmers were out of the water and in their team areas ready for their cheer with themed outfits like the Treeview Dolphins in their bright orange T-shirts and the Cudas in pirate outfits to name a few.  At 8:25 a.m. 14 year old Kaylin Adza from the Hayward Southgate Penguins did the honor of singing the National Anthem and officially starting the meet - a day of friendly but intense competition among the 12 East Bay recreational summer swim teams. 

The morning races started with 16-year-old Lisa Bender from the San Leandro Drowning Darryls setting a new league record in the 15-18 50 yard Freestyle race with a time of 24.60 seconds.  The previous record of 24.95 was held by Amber Roney of Washington Manor and was set in 2002.  As the day progressed there were many more close and exciting races and more shattered league records.  Lisa Bender went on to set new league records in the 15-18 Breast Stroke (31.26) and Individual Medley  (1:01.94) races, both of which had been held previously by Ashley Kendall of Mission Valley.  In the middle of the day, Lisa's teammate Hillary Vance broke the existing 13-14 age group butterfly record with a time of 28.45 seconds.  The previous record of 28.63 had been held by Jenisse De Meulenaere of the Warm Springs Gators. 

Parent Brian Harvey from the Washington Manor team who spent the entire day taking pictures of swimmers in his team (used as a team fundraiser) pointed out, "Any one swimmer is in the water for about 10 minutes or less in the entire day." That's the few minutes of intense competition while the rest of the day is spent in cheering teammates, building friendships across cities and teams and having a lot of fun.

So what do the swimmers do when they are not swimming or cheering?  They are seen playing cards or other board games quietly or as swimmers Karthik Raman and Cooper Sutherland point out "just hanging out with friends."  Some of them were also seen watching 17-year-old Alex Poole strumming away on his friend's guitar.  Alex had come to the meet to cheer and support his younger brother Jonathan.  Though he previously swam with the Warm Springs Gators, he chose not to compete this year as he had just returned from a 42-day survival trek in the Arizona wilderness (look out for an article on his experience in an upcoming TCV issue).
Parents Michael Gregory and Caroline Vance, whose children swim for the Drowning Darryls, mentioned that being involved in this league is a wonderful experience for the entire family and inculcates hard work, motivation and team spirit in the growing youngsters. Carolyn Sutherland adds that it is also nice to see how the kids from the different teams have improved over the years.  The championship meet ended with a thrilling and exciting race in the 15-18 year men free relay.  The Treeview Dolphins who had come to the championships with only 70 swimmers had their exciting moment. Their men's free relay team consisting of Andy Latour, Morgan Stickney, Robert Mobley and Adam Kallabis, who had won the gold medal last year in this very same race, were pitted against the South Gate Penguins and the Highland Sharks.  In an extremely close neck-to-neck, finger-to-finger contest, the Treeview swimmers had their day and won the gold medal for the second year in a row.  It was also a very close race throughout the day for the San Leandro Drowning Darryls and the Glemoor Stingrays who were vying for the overall second spot.  By the end of the Butterfly event, the Drowning Darryls were trailing by 60 points but by the meet's end, they were ahead by 23.5 points.

At the end of the day Mission Valley Barracudas led with 5,015 points, San Leandro came second (3,783) followed by Glenmoor Stingrays (3,759.5), Warm Springs Gators (3,318), Washington Manor Dolphins (3,030), Newark Bluefins(2861), Columbia Crocodiles (2,758), Mission Highlands Sharks (2,622), Southgate Penguins (2,248.5), Treeview Dolphins (2,219), Chabot Marlins (1,984) and Kennedy Seals(1,756).   The Championship meet was a great success for first time Meet Directors Bruce Garrett (Newark) and Diana Souza (Washington Manor) and their team who had spent months in preparation and planning.

If you would like to join one of the swim teams in the EBSL for the 2007 season visit to get the contact information for the various teams.  Membership for many teams start in March 2007.

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