By LAUREL PUREWAL
Special to the Tribune
The Martinez Community Swim Team (MCST) Otters kicked off the swim season Saturday, June 4, with the team’s New Swimmers Meet. This event allows all new members of the swim team to experience their first competitive swim meet in a relaxed and friendly environment. New swimmers learn the ins-and-outs of a swim meet, including arrival times, warm-up protocol, how to read the events sheet, starting procedures and the general pace and environment of a swim meet. This is a team-only learning experience and offers the newest members a chance to get their feet wet.
Then on Sunday, June 5, the Otters hosted the youngest members of four local recreational teams for the annual Eight-and-Under Invitational meet. This 2016 inaugural competitive meet featured swimmers in the 6-and-under and 7-8 age brackets. In addition to the Otters, swimmers from Crockett Swim Team, LMYA Dolphins, Benicia Stingrays and Oakwood Athletic Club participated. Held annually at the Rankin Aquatic Center in downtown Martinez, this meet is a wonderful opportunity for the youngest swimmers of participating teams to shine.
The youngest Otters had many excellent performances at the Eight-and-Under Invitational. Seven MCST boys finished in the overall top 20.Ronin Osmond (6) swam his way to a 4th place finish. Hunter Burns (6), Shawn Keifer (8), and Max Schulze (7) also put up excellent times across all events, earning them 6th, 7th and 8th overall, respectively. MacKinnley Kirshen (8), Dillon Kitchen (8) and Agustin Montes (8) finished 15th, 16th and 20th overall. The youngest MCST ladies also performed admirably on Sunday. Bella Wilhite (6) took sixth place overall. Other top performers for the Otter ladies included Meling Esperanza (8) and Briar Cue (7), who finished 14th and 18th, respectively; and Daphne Smyth (6) and Adelina Purewal (7), finishing 19th and 21st overall. The Otters finished the meet in second place overall, just behind the LMYA Dolphins, with the Otter boys taking first place and the Otter girls finishing second. A great start to the Otters’ swim season.
The Otters also took to the pool for time trials on June 11. This is another MCST-only meet allowing swimmers to establish base times in each event. It is a fun and friendly event that allows all swimmers – not just the new or youngest– to get ready for the season.
The Otters’ first dual meet was held Wednesday, June 15, against the Las Trampas Swim Team Seahorses, at the Las Trampas pool. The Otters’ first dual home meet at Rankin Aquatic Center will be against the Oakwood Athletic Club on Saturday, June 18 at 8:30 am. Admission is free and there will be a snack shack and raffles with proceeds supporting MCST. (See future editions of the Tribune for results from these meets.)
The MCST Otters have been an active part of the Martinez community since 1980. As one of the largest recreational swim teams in the East Bay, the Otters are a team of athletes, coaches, parents and community members who value the hard work, persistence, and commitment that are necessary to have an enjoyable summer swim experience. Membership is open to all swimmers between the ages of four and 18 (as of June 15) and is not limited to the Martinez area. For more information, visit www.gototters.org.