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Rocklin Wave crashes competition at consecutive meets

By: Amanda Calzada, Special to The Placer Herald
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The chorus of spirit and unity could be heard loud and clear at UC Davis’ school aquatic center recently. The Rocklin Wave swim team competed against four other teams (Gold River Stingrays, Davis Aquamonsters, Laguna Creek Gators and Roseville Sugarbears) from the NorCal region in the Gold Rush Conference Championships and scored second place, behind the Gold River Stingrays of Sacramento during the July 25 and 26 competition. Teams had been preparing for the competition since April and racing in meets since June. Five days a week, swimmers improve their stroke technique and practice dives and turns. The summer practice is early in the morning, just like meet check-in times, but families and swimmers know how to prepare. “I pack my bag, I put on my swimsuit and I put up my hair. I go to bed early and I eat a light breakfast,” said 8-year-old swimmer Elisabeth Lester, who finaled in six individual events. Typical pre-meet traditions include pasta dinners, tapering and plenty of rest. The week before championships, Wave hosted a spirit week to excite and motivate swimmers which included eating a pancake breakfast, writing on car windows and decorating water bottles. To stay energized throughout the entire day, swimmers hydrate themselves with water and sports drinks. In between races, swimmers socially engage with teammates through music, cards, drawing and other activities while resting in the shade. Wave made a splash at the weekend meet. Most swimmers clocked personal bests, some of which were team record holders. For the 7-8 boys’ record, Evan Terry swam his 25-yard freestyle in 14.37 seconds. He teamed up with Pat Guinn, Cory Gohl and Chase Sienkiewicz to represent Rocklin in the 100-medley relay, also another team record (1:15.21 seconds). The same four boys broke the conference record in the 100-free relay (1:04.92). Aelish Guinn clocked a conference record in the 50-yard backstroke (31.49 seconds) under the 11-12 age division. She swam the backstroke leg for her age group’s 200-medley relay team of Karalyn Lester, Melanie Seyfried and Haley Barker who touched the wall in 2:16.07. High point awards were awarded to the top three swimmers of the five teams in each age group and gender. Rocklin showcased several swimmers in almost every age group. In the 7-8’s, Angeline Calzada and Ellisa Phillips tied for third place. Also in the 7-8 division, Evan Terry placed first while Pat Guinn and Chase Sienkiewicz earned second and third. For the 11-12 girls, Aelish Guinn placed first and for the 13-14 girls, Anastasia Shuler scored second, one point short of first. Kayla Phillips dominated the 15-18 girls’ division and scored second. Like Phillips, Scott Palmer scored second in the 15-18 division and teammate Miles Christensen placed third for the men. The radiant races did not end there. Swimmers who either finaled or swam qualifying times at the championship went on to further challenge themselves at the Meet of Champions, hosted at Woodland Aug. 1 and 2. The meet represented the top swimmers of 40 teams from the Sac-Joaquin Valley. Several Rocklin swimmers qualified to swim in constellation and final heats in the all-star meet. Terry dominated his age division while also updating the Meet Of Champions record for the 50-yard freestyle (30.17). For the first time in its nine years of existence, the Meet of Champions has taken the definition of a “champion” to a higher level by awarding a female and male athlete a scholarship to those who “best fit the model of a champion.” For those interested in the sport, “Be ready to have some discipline. What you put into it, you get out of it. The friends and experiences last a lifetime,” said Gold River Head Coach Jeff Float.