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Strokes of supremacy

The Union photo/Louise CaulfieldFrom left, Jake Depass of Lake of the Pines, Parker Rhodes of Auburn Lake Trails, and Drew Detwiler of Auburn Racquet Club, begin the Boys' 7-8 year old championship race during the Sierra Foothill Sumer League Swim Championships held Saturday at Granite Bay High School.
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Eight years ago, Tom Dayton wanted to find a way to get out of the office and spend more time with his kids during the summer months.

Soon after, he found a way to do just that, but also found himself spending time with more kids than he might have originally imagined.

Dayton began coaching the Lake of the Pines’ Piranhas swim team, which has proved to be a success in both the number of children participating and the number of titles won.



The Piranhas picked up their seventh straight Sierra Foothill Swim League championship Saturday at Granite Bay High School, totaling 2,731 team points to top the second place Lake Wildwood Water Otters’ 2,127.

“I’m so very proud of our Piranhas swim team,” Dayton said. “Summer after summer, they work hard, maintain an excellent attitude and defend their place as SFSL champs.




“I’ve really become quite fond of these kids, and have had the pleasure of watching them grow up from pint-sized to young men and women.”

Lake of the Pines produced 16 first-place finishes out of the 74 events swam and finished among the top three in 57 events. The Piranhas were the high-point winners in six of the 12 age group categories.

Five league records were broken at Saturday, including two by LOP members. Chris Dilloway, Jennifer Meylor, Miles Christensen and David Giroux teamed up for a record 1 minute, 10.31 seconds in the 9-10-year-old mixed medley relay.

Chase Rogers, also of LOP, swam to a new record time of 30.63 seconds in the 50-yard backstroke in the 13-14 boys division.

Lake Wildwood’s Hailey Kneidl also put her name in the record book, clocking a time of 18.71 seconds in the 9-10 year old girls’ 50-yard breaststroke.

Issac Merritt of the Auburn Racquet Club Sharks produced a record time of 1:25.17 in the 9-10 boys individual medley and Auburn Lake Trails’ Hanna Barret swam to a record 1:11.65 in the 11-12 girls individual medley.

Auburn Racquet Club’s Sharks finished third in team scoring with 1,736 points, while the Foresthill Stingrays (1,510) were fourth, the Grass Valley Orcas (1,475) were fifth and the Auburn Lake Trails Dolphins (1,389) were sixth.

Top individual scorers included Grass Valley’s Galen Dobbins, who scored 60 points for the Orcas in the 15-18 boys’ division. Stephanie Larson of the Orcas, and Shannon Dayton of LOP, each scored 62 points in the girls’ 15-18 division.

Chase Rogers of LOP was the top point-earner in the 13-14 boys’ division with 77, while Grass Valley’s Shiloh Fish and LOP’s Stephanie Ursiny tied atop the 13-14 girls division with 73 points.

In the 11-12 division, Allison Dayton of LOP led the way for the girls with 71 points, while Patrick Wood of Grass Valley was tops on the boys’ side with 43 points.

In the 9-10 age group, Mary Ludwig was the girls’ leader with 71 points and Bradley Ellis earned 47 to lead the boys. Grass Valley’s Lisa Ellis totaled 61 points in the 7-8 girls division, while Jake DePass of LOP had 70 points for the boys.

In the 6-and-under group, Nicholas Hubacz of the LOP Piranhas had 56 points to lead the boys and Magdalena Raffanti of the Auburn Racquet Club’s Sharks was tops among girls in the division with 59 points.

According to Dayton, the SFSL has been in existence for nearly three decades and, thanks largely to its volunteers, offers hundreds of young swimmers the opportunity to compete each summer.

“The SFSL succeeds on the Herculean efforts of parent volunteers in the planning, organization and execution of these all-day swim meets,” he said. “These folks are amazing and the 600-plus swimmers in the SFSL are the beneficiaries of that effort.

“This swim league provides such a great source for recreation and camaraderie during the summer. I know these kids will keep their memory of swim team in a special place their entire lives.”

The LOP Piranhas had 56 points to lead the boys and Magdalena Raffanti of the Auburn Racquet Club’s Sharks was tops among girls in the division with 59 points.


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