TESS CARLSON had narrowly missed winning the high point honor at swim meets in the past.
Last weekend, Carlson achieved the honor, earning her first high point award while dominating the swimming in the 11-and-12 age group at the Penguin Plunge, held at Nevada Union High School.
The 12-year-old Grass Valley resident entered 11 events in the thee-day, season ending event, and managed to clock personal best times in each of the events.
“Getting high point was a great accomplishment for me,” Carlson said. “It went better than I thought it would, and was an all-around great meet for me.”
Carlson devoted the early part of summer to water polo camp, and finished her summer strong with swimming. Last week began for Carlson at the prestigious Far Western Swim Meet in Concord, where she pleasantly surprised herself by placing 12th in the 50 butterfly.
Returning from Concord on Thursday, Carlson had little time off before competing in the Penguin Plunge. She placed second in the 500 freestyle Friday, then went on to win the 50 and 100 butterfly, as well as the 50 , 100 and 200 freestyle events in the 12-and-13 age group.
“Next year, I want to try and make it to the Western Zone meet next year,” Carlson said. “I could have maybe made it this year, but I want to lose some seconds off my 50 freestyle.”
MARIA GIULIANI took a year off from swimming for the Penguins, but returned this year as a strong contributor to the team.
“I stopped last year because it was hard, but then I found out that I really liked swimming and started back up again,” Giuliani said.
The 9-year-old Grass Valley resident swam the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events and a pair of relay races in the 9-and-10 age group at the Penguin Plunge, held last weekend. It was the first time Giuliani had competed in a 200 freestyle event.
“I was proudest with the 200, because I never thought I could do it,” Giuliani said. “And I didn’t think I’d get a good time, but I did.”
Lindsay Gruver, who works as an assistant coach with the Penguins, said the performance of Giuliani and her younger teammates underscores the program’s efforts to get the younger swimmers to challenge themselves.
“The younger swimmers like Maria have done a wonderful job,” Gruver said. “Probably the thing I am most happy with is that they were choosing events (at the Penguin Plunge) that involved risk, such as longer events or trying the butterfly.”
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.