NEEDLES —The Sandsharks swim team won the Colorado River Finals for the sixth year in a row on July 28, with 79 swimmers posting a combined team score of 1,194. Bullhead City’s 74 Barracudas followed with 1,042. Kingman’s Swim Neptune program, which brought 11 swimmers, totaled 203.
The ’Sharks’ boys and girls led the respective gender categories in their home pool: Needles’ boys racked up 511 points in individual events while the ’Cudas scored 465 and Swim Neptune 54. Needles’ girls compiled 477 points, Bullhead 415 and Kingman 149.
Swim Neptune’s 8-year-old Savannah Taylor swam a perfect meet to capture 45 points all by herself.
Bullhead City’s Hayden Odam, 8, earned 43 points to lead his team. Madelynn Macdonald, 14, scored 42 and Ethan Martin, 12, scored 41 for the ’Cudas.
Needles’ Madeline Keller, 9, earned 40 points; Cole Russell, 18, earned 41. Caela Castillo, 17, and Lincoln Jones, 10, swam perfect meets for the ’Sharks, capturing 45 points each.
It was no secret that the record-breaking Jones was gunning for his dad, Scott Jones, who set a few records of his own a few years back. Jones-the-younger broke two at the event: swimming the 50 yard freestyle in 29.57 and the 100 yard individual medley in 1:16.84. Scott’s records, set in 1991, were 29.90 and 1:17.25.
Ivan Harris, 18, beat his own record from last year’s Sedona Splash; improving his time in the 50 yard breast stroke from 30.59 to 30.56.
Needles’ swimmers captured the top spot in half the 60 events on the program but the supporting swimmers who finished with second or third went a long way toward stretching the Sandsharks’ scores.
The only win for 8-year-old Drake Castillo, for example, came in the 25-yard breast stroke; however his consistent second and third place finishes brought his total to 35 points contributed to Needles’ win. Layton DeLeon, a 4-year-old competing in events against boys up to six, captured 23 points.
Alyssa Harris, 13, scored 36; Ivan Harris 18, took 31; Jase Harris, 16, added 33 points for the ’Sharks.
Sandwiching Lincoln’s age group, Joslyn Jones, 7, scored 30 and Teagan Jones, 12, scored 33. The Keller girls: Madeline, 9, and Lily, 10; scored 40 and 35 respectively. Teagan Lusk, 12, added 21.
12-year-old Hannella McKay put up 25 of Needles’ points, including a first-place finish in the 50 yard butterfly. Leslie Mills, 14, added 21. Kade Odell scored 22. Tatum Peake, 6, won the 100 yard individual medley for girls of her age group and brought a total of 31 points to Needles’ side of the ledger. Ally Pletcher, 16, picked up another 23. Brayden Pletcher won both the 100 yard individual medley and 25 yard ’fly for boys six and under; adding seconds in the 25 yard freestyle, back and breast strokes for a total of 39 points. Tanner Pletcher, 11, added 30. Hollis Rubalcaba, 6, scored 27; Cole Russell, 18, added 35; Jorja Zirkle, 13, added 32.
Needles’ swimmers were also dominant in the relay events. ’Sharks Brayden Pletcher, Layton DeLeon, Tatum Peake and Zander Serarboli swam the mixed six and under 100 yard freestyle in a bit under three minutes. Tanner Pletcher, Hannella McKay, Mackenzie Goetz and Teagan Jones topped the mixed 11-12 category in 59.07. Jorja Zirkle, Alyssa Harris, Kade Odell and Ethan Wunker swam it in 53.30 for the 13 and 14-year-olds.
In the top age bracket of 15-18 Caela Castillo, Ivan Harris, Russell Cole and Jase Harris powered through the four lengths of the pool in 46.53.
As the name implies the finals were the last competition for the Sandsharks this season. They finish with an awards banquet beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, at BPO Elks Lodge 1608, 1000 Lilyhill Dr.