The Walnut Creek Aquanuts’ competitive season is off to a promising start! In January, the club qualified ten of its Junior and 13-15 age group athletes for National Team Squads. All ten will move on to the final phases of National Team selection taking place in April 2019.
Jr National Team Squad Members: Miko Begossi (Alamo), Marlena King (Clayton), Ryan Lewis (Alamo), Aubrie Rutan (Orangevale), Ariana Stanton (Walnut Creek)
13-15 National Team Phase 3&4 Qualifiers: Megan Kerner (Danville), Alexis McCracken (Walnut Creek), Atira O’Neil (Pleasant Hill), Joanna Liu (Moraga), Gigi Zuniga (Walnut Creek)
On February 11th, WCA sent their 12 & Under athletes to the Seaside Routine Invitational where they cleaned up gold in all categories entered! 10 & under Ghizal Akbar took the gold with her first solo and Chloe Davitiani took gold in the 11-12 solo category. In 11-12 Duet, Davitiani partnered with Karen Xue to win gold followed closely by WCA’s duet of Mako Begossi and Ava Chu. For the 10 & Under Team event, WCA won gold with their “Flapper” themed routine and took the silver with their “Grinch” themed routine.
In 11-12’s WCA took gold, bronze and fourth in the Team event and won the gold in the Free Combo event which has ten swimmers instead of eight. WCA also entered six brand new swimmers in the Intermediate category where they won gold in the Team event.
On February 18th, the Aquanuts’ 13-15 athletes faced some tough competition at the Santa Clara Invitational. WCA claimed gold in the 13-15 Free Combo event, the only gold for the Aquanuts at the competition. In 13-15 Team, WCA took silver and fourth missing gold by 2.1 points. WCA fielded seven Duets in the 13-15 category. Joanna Liu and Dalia Ovadia took the silver, 1.4 points behind the Santa Clara Aquamaids. Megan Kerner and Atira O’neil won bronze, Emma Moore and Miya Yamamoto took sixth, Ayla O’neil and Jessica Wathen placed eighth, Gillian O’neal and Reece Revell followed in ninth, twins Alessandra and Amalee Delligati took tenth and Zahra Alexander and Sarah Zeiph placed twelfth. Three solos represented WCA in the 13-15 event. Alexis McCracken(Walnut Creek), Eva Handlers(Lafayette) and Zoe Eleftheriads(Concord) placed second, fourth and sixth respectively.
“We entered more individual routines this year than we have in a long time! I am very proud of all our 13-15’s. It is early in the season, and we know what we have to do before Zones to qualify for Nationals!” 13-15 Coach Kristen Smidstra (said of) the overall meet performance.
Moving forward, the Aquanuts will send their top Junior and 13-15 athletes to the West Zone Championships this weekend, March 1-3, 2019. The West Zone event will be held in Irvine, CA and is the qualifying event for U.S. Nationals in April, 2019.
Where do you hide the scuba tanks and snorkels? I can’t stay down that long.